Is "Follow Your Passion" Bad Career Advice?

Is "Follow Your Passion"  Bad Career Advice?

Blue Sage Sunday Book Review: A review of Cal Newport’s career advice book So Good They Can’t Ignore You. He’s not your typical career advice guru.  As he begins So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newton is in the process of completing his Ph.D in computer science at MIT. Facing a dismal job market in academia, Newton finds himself pondering the question “How do people end up loving what they do?” What’s the secret to finding a career you love?  It’s a good question.

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Eight Tips to De-stress Your Holiday Season

Eight Tips to De-stress Your Holiday Season

Welcome to the season of stress! It’s time to buy the gifts and prepare the feasts. There are cookies to bake, a house to clean and decorate, and even more invitations and obligations. We have to roast the turkey and hang the lighted icicles. From late November all the way through to New Years Day, our to-do lists are completely out of control. All of us, especially women who are often called on to be the managers of this busy holiday season, feel overwhelmed, stressed and not particularly joyful. But how do you slow down and enjoy the beauty of the season when there is soooo much to do?

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Open the Door to New Possibilities

It’s a dream of new possibilities. Even in my same old space, my same old-same old life, there are new ideas, new dreams, new rooms - all just waiting for me to turn around and discover them. I just have to open the door.

Have you ever had a dream like this? 

In the dream, you’re walking through your house - the house you’ve lived in for years and suddenly you find a new door that you have never seen before. Maybe it’s a different color - or maybe it looks just the same as all the other doors in your house. You open this surprising new door and find an extra room that you didn’t know about. Except, in my dream, it wasn’t just a whole new room, it was a whole extra wing of the house. Several big empty rooms with polished hardwood floors and sunlight streaming in through big paned windows - right there in the same old house I was living in. In my dream, I’m amazed by the empty rooms and by the extra space suddenly in my life. I open the windows and let cool fresh air into the rooms. Look at all the room I have. I’m thrilled by the possibilities!

This “new room” dream seems to appear when I need it, when I’m feeling stuck or limited, or simply discouraged by life. It’s such an expansive feeling to realize that your life has so much more possibility than you thought it did. When you are in the same old place in your life, maybe feeling stuck in a not so good situation, or feeling that all the great chances have passed you by, it’s a good thing to look around and realize that your life is not limited, that there is more room that you had imagined. Dreams of new rooms invite us to open our minds to the possibility that we have even greater potential than we thought. These dreams encourage us to look beyond our “limitations” and begin to believe that we can move beyond them.

I’ve always been a big student of dreams. I’ve journaled my dreams since I was in college and studied Jungian dream analysis. I learned to pay attention to the messages I find within. I encourage clients to write down their dreams and engage with them - talk them through and find the wisdom inside. This particular dream is a metaphorical reminder that there are still new rooms in my life to explore, new journeys to take, new things to try. It causes me to look around in my psyche for new places to grow, new parts of my inner self to explore and develop. What new parts of myself are there to discover?  A little personal growth is always good thing. 

No matter your age, whether you are almost 30 and feeling oh-so-old or 55 and feeling younger every day, each sunrise brings new possibilities and exciting chances to try something different, to learn fresh skills and crafts and to rekindle your passion for your work and life.

You just have to open the door. What are you waiting for?

What dreams do you have? What is the wisdom your dreams have to offer? 

We are such stuff 
as dreams are made on, and our little life 
is rounded with a sleep.
— Prospero from The Tempest - William Shakespeare

Already dreading going back to work after a long weekend?

Are you feeling like you just can't face another day in your current job? Feeling stuck in your career or just burned out? Are you ready for a change  - but you’re not sure what steps to take next? Are you still trying to choose a career path but not sure what direction to take? Are you excited each morning to get out of bed and head off to work or do you drag yourself out the door just hoping for Friday to arrive? 

Are you ready to make the leap into a life you love? 

Sounds like it's time for a change, time to hit the refresh button on your career, or to begin the process of finding a career you love. Maybe you’re bored out of your mind in your current job and you’re looking for a new challenge that better fits your life and dreams. Maybe you’ve been out of the job market for a while - in school, at home caring for others or just can’t seem to figure out what’s next for you. Maybe you just need a change. 

If you’re ready to take some real steps to figure out what’s next for you, take a look at The LifeWork Project™ - a 40 day e-course designed to help you find the work of your life - work that leads to a lifetime of challenge, satisfaction and success.  The e-course will include weekday emails delivered straight to your inbox with a LifeWork discovery reading and a question of the day to ponder. Each week you will be guided through a series of exercises, journal writing prompts, and other activities to assist you in discovering your personality, identifying your strengths and transferable skills, clarifying your values and creating a career design plan with action steps for moving forward. You will complete the full length Myers Briggs Personality Inventory (MBTI®) and receive a personality profile plus career information tailored to your personality type. With individual email support from Anita, you will be guided through the Best Fit process for your personality type and career. You will spend time looking back and learning lessons from your past plus taking time to complete a frank and honest assessment of your current situation. Finally you will design a plan for moving forward toward the career you’ve always wanted.

The next e-course begins July 10, 2017. 

The ridiculously low price ($89.95) includes:

  • Daily emails (Mon-Fri) with a LifeWork Discovery reading and a question of the day
  • Weekly exercises, writing prompts and other LifeWork Discovery activities plus a weekend LifeWork Challenge.
  • MBTI Personality Profile, Best Fit analysis, and Career Information based on your type ($59 value)
  • The LifeWork Values Matrix 
  • The LifeWork Career Design Plan
  • Options for individual coaching throughout the process with Blue Sage Career Coach, Anita Flowers, MA  - available at a discounted rate for LifeWork Project™ participants

The next LifeWork Project begins on July 10 and registration is now live. Space in each class is limited. Take advantage of this low pricing on The LifeWork Project™ and sign up here today. Get started on your new career and life! 

Gather your courage, strap on your parachute and jump the canyon. Do it!

Gather your courage, strap on your parachute and jump the canyon.

Gather your courage, strap on your parachute and jump the canyon.

Happy New Year from Blue Sage!  Ok, so I’m not actually jumping the canyon in that pic. My husband and I were mountain biking in the canyons of Sedona, Arizona a few years ago - which in itself was a challenge for two cyclists from the South Carolina Lowcountry. We bike on flat land at sea level. The altitude in Sedona is 4500 feet. Enough said. My husband swears he will never mountain bike again. I'm still hopeful. 

It’s that time of year when everyone is making resolutions for the New Year.  I have to admit I’m a sucker for resolutions and goal setting and the beginning of a new year seems the perfect place to begin again. It’s a new year, a new beginning. Anything can happen. Bring it on!

There are two ways to make resolutions. The best advice is to take baby steps. Break your goal down into specific, positive steps that are achievable on a daily or weekly basis. Instead of planning to lose 25 pounds in a month, make a resolution to eat 5-6 servings of vegetables each day or walk 10 miles a week. If you’re on the job hunt, create a goal to make 2 contacts each week (phone calls or emails). Baby steps are a great way to achieve a bigger goal.  Sometimes looking at a big goal be overwhelming and can lead to procrastination and resistance. I encourage all my clients to use baby steps to achieve their goals in life and in their careers. Baby steps are a great plan and a great way to move forward toward your goals. 

But sometimes… you need to jump the canyon. Last year, I jumped the canyon when I created and developed Blue Sage Career Strategies. I’ve done life and career coaching (and before that individual and family counseling) with other groups for years-  but this time I’m completely on my own. My business. My ideas. My success or failure. Jumping the canyon works when you have a plan in place and a parachute at the ready.

 I’ve worked with clients who have taken the leap to start their novel (and are now published authors!), with clients who have taken the risk to talk to their boss and change their job for the better, and with others who have left a profession that was sucking them dry to begin a new creative endeavor that makes them happy to go to work in the morning. It’s a leap of faith that can literally change your life. Is it time to take the leap?

Gather your courage, strap on your parachute and jump the canyon that is between you and the life you want to live. Talk to your boss about a promotion. Enroll in grad school. Buy the ticket to Australia. Ask him to marry you. Do the big thing that scares you but will turn your life in a new and better direction. 

Today carve out a few minutes, find a quiet place and write down your goals for 2017. It’s a new chapter, a new year, a new beginning. Are baby steps best for you - they always work and are a great way to achieve your goals - or is it time to jump the canyon? Either way, resolve to believe in yourself this year and make those dreams a reality. I believe in you. 


Small steps work almost every time. (And this year my resolutions are baby steps!)  Jumping the canyon works when you are ready for a big change and have a plan in place. Don’t forget the parachute! I’ll be writing more about moving forward with baby steps and jumping the canyon for this first week of the New Year.  If you need a coach to help you jump the canyon or work those baby steps, for the month of January, Blue Sage Career Strategies is offering a 25% discount on all coaching packages. 

The In-Between Time

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.  Delicious Ambiguity.” - Gilda Radner

Are you feeling lost in the in-between? You know a change is coming and maybe you’re not exactly sure what it will be. Are you looking for a new job or position? Thinking about going back to school? Moving to a different place? Focusing your career in a new direction? Are you dealing with corporate changes you have little control over? 

I’ve had several conversations recently with people struggling with that in-between place. They’re spending lots of time and energy searching and longing for (or sometimes dreading) what’s ahead but they don’t know what to do with their present life. What do you do with the waiting time? It’s that time when you’re not sure what the winds of life will blow your way and you find yourself wondering and worrying about the future, rather than being fully present in your own right-now life.

This in-between can be a place of growth if we don’t hide from it - if we allow ourselves to sit with the grief of what was and the scary anticipation of what might be. It’s a place to process all the uncomfortable feelings about not knowing. If we can turn our attention away from the seductive mystery of the future and focus on the present moment, we can savor the in-between and enjoy the journey from what was to what will be. Listen to the space that is created - that rest note in the musical of your life. 

The key is learning the art of living in the moment. What is good about your life right now? It may be something as simple as porch sitting with a fresh cup of coffee or finding time for a walk with a friend. Practice setting your focus and your attention on what you are doing right now - even how you are feeling right now. What could be one thing you can be fully present with today? What can you learn during this in-between time? By sitting with the process and learning how you cope with not knowing, the “delicious ambiguity,” as Gilda Radner calls it, you can recognize and name your own strengths (and sometimes your growing edges that still need some work). Practice small moments of mindfulness each day. Each moment will help you find the calm in the center of the busy traffic of your mind. 

You can also use this time to learn new skills - take that photography class, learn to code, practice your Spanish. Make a bucket list for your life right now - before the change comes your way. What have you always wanted to do in the place where you are right now? 

Practicing mindfulness and learning to savor each moment, accepting even the impatient “let’s just get on with it” feelings, can deepen our understanding of who we are and even help us figure out the answer to the what’s next question.  Thich Nhat Hanh says it best:

‘Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

What would you take?

Every year at Christmas, as we are packing up the decorations, I pack two boxes and label them HURRICANE. I fill the boxes with ornaments we have collected in our travels, hand carved Santas, and nativities given to us by friends. The naked angel ornament from Bali goes in - along with the giraffe from Africa and the moose from Canada. I include those ornaments made by my daughters when they were young, like the popsicle stick reindeer with the missing eye and the construction paper snowflake with a school photo pasted in the center. All those treasures just can’t be replaced. So I pack them up, hoping each year that the boxes will remain tucked in storage until the next Christmas. But not this year. 

With Hurricane Matthew bearing down, we made the decision to evacuate. In truth, we had already planned to leave town for a wedding in upstate SC. But with a Category 4 hurricane barreling up the coast toward Charleston, it seemed especially prudent to leave. So we packed the hurricane boxes into the car - along with old photo albums, artwork given to us by our children and friends, handmade quilts and my daughter’s wedding dress (special request). All irreplaceable. We loaded it all up, checked on our neighbors and elderly friends, and drove away to safety. I'm all too aware that this was a privilege. We had the means and resources to get ourselves to safety. The people of Haiti never had that chance (but that’s another blog post!)

It was a still a lesson in values - like an old church youth group game. A hurricane is coming, your home could be destroyed, and all you can save is what will fit in your car. (This is assuming that all your people and pets will be safe!)  What would you take? I recognize that these are just things - inanimate objects that we are sentimentally attached to. But the things we fill our homes with become part of our story. They reflect our values and the things we hold dear. I couldn’t take my grandmother’s piano - but I could save our wedding photos and the quilts my great grandmother made.

When I look at the items I chose to take - I can identify some of the values I choose to live out in my life everyday. Family. Friends, Relationships. Connectedness. Creativity. Spirituality. Travel. It’s an interesting exercise to try. What would you take? What would you leave behind? What do those choices tell you about yourself? 

Postnote: For those who are wondering, we’re now back home in recovery mode. Our house escaped damage - other than the loss of some screening on the back porch and a downed tree in the backyard. We were so very lucky. Others in our region are still underwater, with breaches in dams and rising rivers creating on-going flooding. Houses and businesses are ruined. Some in the US didn’t survive and Haiti was devastated. All of that leaves me with a feeling of commitment to help those who have lost so much… and deep gratitude for all that I have.