There I was, stuck in traffic as usual on the Chicago Kennedy Expressway. I had escaped another day from my “Dilbert” like existence in my product management job with the phone company, numb from the lack of passion for what I was doing.
But what was it I REALLY wanted to do? I daydreamed about becoming a wine marketer, a dog trainer, or even a tour guide. I wanted to do something that would make me feel alive and excited; something that would not just put bread on the table, but a smile on my face. I desperately needed a change, a new mind set, a chance to discover and explore what would truly make me happy. Can you relate?
Opportunity comes in all forms. Mine came when I got laid off in late 2001. It was time to get serious about figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up. But first, there was a life-long dream to be fulfilled – a six-month road-trip across America!
As I drove across country trying to decide what to do with my life, I kept thinking about how I might pursue some of my career aspirations. Each time I thought about it, however, I was reminded that there was not a company out there that could help me test-drive my dream jobs. By the time I decided to move from Chicago to Oregon, I realized my dream job was to ultimately start a company that would help others find their dream jobs through the guidance of expert mentors. It didn't happen overnight. It took a couple of years! But in 2004, my dream job became a reality with the founding of VocationVacations.
Starting a new company and reinventing yourself is exciting but scary as hell. Getting from the “Yes, this is a great idea,” revelation to actually making it happen is a challenging and often perilous journey. I found my career and lifestyle journey progressed more easily and strategically with logical and realistic advice from experts in the fields of life change, self-discovery and exploration. I got excellent insights from a number of books that were significantly helpful to me in the early stages of my quest for a new direction in my life, and others that have expanded my horizons and kept me energized and grounded as my business has grown and my life changed.
Below are the career and lifestyle change books that have influenced my decisions and ability to seize opportunities and face challenges. These books also got me thinking about sharing my own insights on career and lifestyle changes. In January 2008, my book “Test-Drive Your Drive Job – A Step-By-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love” (Hachette, 2008) was released! (But for the sake of being unbiased I am not including it in this list).
I hope you will find a book here that will help you discover what makes you happy and motivates you to go for it!
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