"FINDING YOUR PERFECT WORK" by Paul & Sarah Edwards 

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Additional thought of Graham White in highlights.

This book contains many, many resources that are exceptional if you are looking to begin a new career or start your own business.  If that is what you are in the process of doing, then purchase this book.

 

Life should be more than working for a living, but often after work, there's not much left for living.  Reclaim your life, rekindle your dreams and start putting the pieces of your life together so that what's most important to you comes first.

Find a path that, like the Energizer Rabbit, will keep you charged up and motivated so you'll keep going and going and going, until you get where you want to go.

Work for your dreams, not for someone else's; and the work you do becomes part of the life you enjoy now, not someday.  The moment you decide to pursue this route to your dreams, your attitudes toward work and making a living shift forever.  You can replace the saying "After work there's life" with "Through work, there's life."

 A Formula For Success: 

Desires:  Combine what's motivating you (your passion, mission, or other compelling goals that are driving you to create a new life.)

Resources. Use your gifts (talents, skills) and assets (job and life experience, education and training, personal contacts, equipment, facilities and other possessions).

Opportunity: Aim to meet specific needs in the world that people will pay for.

Means:  Work in a way that achieves your desires and supports you on the path of your choice.

 

Work For Others               Work For Yourself

Your life is after work           In work there is life

Work is what you do            Work is an expression of who you are

Work is unpleasant               Work itself is an enjoyable part of life

Work and life are separate    Work is an integral part of life

Freedom comes later             Freedom is now

Security comes from others   Security is dependent on what you do

Others control your work      You control what you do

Your boss assigns work        Your customers needs assign work

Leisure comes after work.      Work can resemble leisure

There are four distinct paths people take to find their perfect work and creating a successful life.  All can get you there and each have their own advantages and disadvantages.  

Finding your perfect work, be it to follow your gift, passion, mission or assets is only one side of the coin.  No matter how passionately you love what you do, no matter how deeply you care about your work or how socially important it is, or how outstanding you are at what you do, how good your intentions or what a deserving person you are, no matter how much you want a better life, if you are to have it, you must find some way to match your gifts, passions, missions, and assets to opportunities that people need and will pay for.  Until you find such a match, your journey to the life of your dreams will be a long and hard one.

Dreams Born Of Crisis

Any time you make a dramatic change in your life, it can feel at first like going backward instead of forward, like having to give up too much to risk what you might gain.  That's probably why so many people don't make a change until they must!  

40% of people who become self-employed do so in response to some kind of crisis that forced them to take back their dreams and find new ways to live them.  They got fired, their spouse died, the became too ill to work, they got divorced, were rejected one too many times at work, were passed over for a promotion, retired with no income, were broke or couldn't find a job.

Dreams Born By Choice

For some people, there is no crisis that catalyzes them to pursue their dreams.  They simply decide they're no longer willing to compromise, delay, or forego what's in their hearts and souls.  They wanted more freedom and to be their own boss.

Dreams Born By Chance

20% just "fall into" their new life by chance.  They encounter a previously nonexistent opportunity and realize it could be a route for doing what they'd always wanted to do.  They had an idea start growing on them, people started asking them about something they did as a hobby, an idea hit them, it began as a distraction from their job.

 

Nearly 50% of the best home businesses today didn't exist 20 years ago.  Over 40% of the best home businesses today provide services that corporations now outsource.  50% of the best home businesses primarily serve other small businesses.  

In today's economy, what would have been pipe dreams in the past are now practical realities.  To forego whatever security and confidence you've attained from the way things have been, and set out to pursue your own such dreams, you too must believe that the dreams you're seeking are no longer pipe dreams.  You must believe that times have indeed changed and that not only can others achieve such dreams, but you can as well.

On one hand, technology is taking away jobs by enabling companies to downsize, restructure, and reengineer.  On the other hand, new technology is also putting powerful tools once available only to large organizations into the hands of individuals.  While good jobs are increasingly scarce and salaries are down, self-employment opportunities like those you've been reading about in this chapter are on the rise.

Three Traps To Avoid

When we say we'd like to live life on our own terms, be our own boss, it's almost like saying we want to win the lottery.  Of course we want it, but we don't think it will actually happen, why should we take the time and energy to decide what wereally want?  We probably won't achieve it anyway.

Most of us have led lives that revolved around our jobs or school or family demands, squeezing everything else we want to do into "after working hours and weekends."  And even in our free time, we may not get around to doing the things we'd really like to do because either we have to catch up on pressing odds and ends or we're just so worn out that we need a chance to sleep in, goof off, or live it up.  Most people these days feel there just isn't enough time for many of the things they'd like to do, sometimes event he most important ones.  As a result, when you set out to create a more independent life, you risk making one of three common mistakes many people make in their search for what kind of work to do.

Ending up stuck in a rut.

If the life you create for yourself is just as stressful, pressure filled, financially tight, dull or boring as the one you had when you were working for someone else, why go to all the extra trouble of starting a new one?

Get Burned by what's hot

Unfortunately, whenever you're chasing something, you end up at the rear and you never get a chance to go where you want to go.

Draw a blank

People who are successful in personal development or financial investment ventures do so because they were ready for that step.  They started out asking the right question - the one that led them to the success they experience.  

Don't ask "What could I do?"

Chance are you'll end up lost in a forest of endless possibilities.  There are thousands of ways you can work independently.  Chances are there are hundreds of things among those possibilities that you could do, and still more possibilities that are unique to you.  Asking yourself what you could do is often more overwhelming than helpful.

Don't ask "What should I do?"

You may never see how you could make what you should do sufficiently interesting or motivating to actually do it.

Don't ask "What's the BEST thing for me to do?"

What might look most lucrative might be at odds with what you would enjoy most, or what you enjoy most might look too difficult.

The question to ask is "What do I really WANT to do?"

Before trying to figure out what to do, figure out what you're doing it for.  Decide right here and now what you want from life and what you want your life to be about.  Then you can literally build your work around what's most important to you instead of the other way around.

The response "All I want is..." usually arises from some sense of desperation or frustration. It almost always is far less than what you really want, but it's what's foremost in your mind.  As soon as you attain it, you will quickly move on to all the other far more desirable things you want.

So lets get your answer to "All I want it..." out of the way right from the start, because you probably won't allow yourself to consider anything that doesn't address this immediate need in some way.  But don't let "All I want is..." determine the ultimate decisions you make about the life you want to create for yourself on your own.  If you do, within no time, you'll be disappointed with your choices.  

Recognizing Discontinuity / Signs of Discontent

  • Complaining, nagging, whining and bitching

  • Worrying about how you'll keep things together

  • Feeling chronically tired, lethargic, and listless

  • Low a sense of enthusiasm, bored or restless

  • Nagging doubts about yourself and the course of your life

  • Losing interest in things that once engaged you

  • Difficulty motivating yourself to do routine tasks

  • Wishing you were someone else

  • Feeling mildly depressed for days on end

  • Overeating, using alcohol and drugs to feel better or escape

  • Not wanting to get out of bed.

  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping

  • Having frequent bad dreams and nightmares

  • Getting frequent headaches, stomach upset, aches and pains

Remember when you were a child and you'd have a special feeling waking up some mornings with a sense of what was new and exciting?  Remember the sense of possibility you had?  It's the memory of such feelings that lie buried beneath the discontent we're feeling. 

Our childhood fantasies are metaphors of the person we know we are inside - the person we can become.  They provide clues about what we can contribute, the ways in which we can help, create, build, lead, problem-solve, or better organize the world around us.

We're all striving for something - be it love, money, power, fame, acceptance, a good time, independence, peace, beauty, survival - whatever we value most.

What we believed was that earning a living requires us to make compromises of many kinds.  That's why the magic slowly seeps from our lives.

 

To recapture the magic, our most desired goals and values need to become central to our life again.  We must find a way to earn a living that will provide support for our needs and values in three key areas:

1.  Personal Needs- Nurturing, enjoying and developing our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

2.  Relationships- Loving, caring, and sharing with the significant people in our lives.

3.  Meaningful Work- Contributing to the world in a gratifying way that supports ourselves and those we care about.

Finding Balance Between The Three Areas Of Life

                                          

    Traditional Male Role         Traditional Female Role

P = Personal

O= Others

W= Work

We no longer have to settle for the compromises of the past.  Unfortunately, our consumerism has driven us to a new imbalance with both parents working long hours outside of the home.  The high rate of divorce also comes as a result of our enlightenment that we can have more, that we don't have to settle for the compromises of the past.  Women's opportunities to enter the work force are not limited to the choices of 1950, they now have the opportunity to do virtually any job a man does.

                                           

    Two-Career Couples               Typical Single Parent

We no longer have to settle for experiencing only part of our lives.  We no longer need to try to be someone we're not and have no desire to become.  We can customize our lives to meet our needs like a custom made suit of clothes.

A More Balance Life

We're seeing a steady evolution towards living a more purposeful life.  That's why so many people feel dissatisfied and yet their parents tell them, "You have everything a person could ever want.  Why aren't you happy?"

Most people tend to make the same compromises their parents have made without actually realizing it.  What compromises did you grow up watching your parents make?

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Deciding what you really want:

Despite the fact that we live in a nation where anything is possible, the idea that most people can't have all they truly want is very deeply ingrained in our culture.  It has been driven into us by our parents and into them by their parents.  

Our grandparents worked incredibly hard to provide us with the opportunities that we enjoy today.  What they didn't realize and couldn't tell us was how much the world has changed.  The fact that they worked hard and did things they didn't want to do in order to make the sacrifices for future generations has paid off!  Now we are reaping the benefit of their hard work in the form of being able to choose a life of purpose.

Changing Needs

Eight of the things people say they want most from their work would not have been high priorities for workers just one generation ago - and they al become immediately possible the moment you go out on your own:

  1. Working with people who treat us with respect

  2. Interesting work

  3. Recognition for good work

  4. Chance to develop new skills

  5. Working for people who listen to our ideas

  6. A chance to think for ourselves rather than mindless work

  7. Seeing the end results of our work

  8. A job that's not too easy

Take a moment and fill in the two circles below in the way that you have been living your life and the way you would like to live ideally:

 

                                        

           How It Has Been               How I Would Like It

 

P = Personal

O= Others

W= Work

Ideal Lifestyle Worksheet pg 82 & 83 

 

Finding The Path To Your Perfect Work

People need to be successful in their efforts about 75% of the time in order to sustain motivation.  Becoming successfully self-employed is much more like sailing than surfing.  Instead of waiting for a wave that will carry you somewhere, you must seek out and use the wind that will carry you to the destination of your choice.  The work you choose to support yourself and attain your ideal life should be sufficiently enjoyable and consistent in and of itself with what you want so that it's not only worth the effort but actually meets your needs along the way.  That's what finding your perfect work is all about.

Those who are successful could be identified as having taken one or a combination of four specific paths to their perfect work:

  • Capitalizing on Your Assets.  For most, the path is to capitalize on their assets and current circumstances, doing what comes most naturally to achieve the other important goals in their lives.

  • Implementing A Talent.  For others, the path of choice is to harvest a gift, ignite an innate talent or an acquired skill at which they will shine.

  • Pursuing A Passion.  For still others it's to follow their heart, earning a living doing something they love passionately.

  • Following a Mission.  And finally, for some the path of choice is to answer a calling, follow a mission or a sense of destiny they believe it's their role and purpose to undertake.

 

 Capitalizing on Your Assets 

Almost half of all people living a life they enjoy have ended up where they are by capitalizing on their assets.  They didn't set out to pursue a personal passion or feel they are on a particular mission.  They are happy living their life in a way that allows them to use the skills they feel most competent at.  

They have been able to create the lifestyle of their choosing through leveraging their expertise.  

Sometimes it's not job experience or educational background that provides the most promising assets for us to capitalize on.  Often other life experiences and life circumstances can provide a rich array of assets.  Their may be other things in our life, such as a home computer connected to the internet or an old family recipe that provide the beginnings of a rewarding enjoyable life.

What job experience, education, or training have you had?  All such experience can be useful in finding and pursuing your path to independence.  List your experiences and possibilities you might want to consider for civilizing on them here:

Job Experience                           Possible Careers You'd Love

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Education/Experience                                   

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Training

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What types of life experiences have you had?  What type of things have you done outside your educational and job experiences?  What kind of circumstances have you found yourself in that others may also experience?  Any such experiences and circumstances could be useful in finding and pursuing a path to independence.  List your experiences and any possibilities you might want to consider for capitalizing on them here:

Life Experience                           Possible Careers You'd Love

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What contacts have you made through previous jobs or with other activities?  What circles of friends or associates are you affiliated with?  Also consider the contacts available to you through your spouse, friends, or relatives.  How might you serve or relate to these contacts? 

Who Do You Know                  Possible Careers You'd Love

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What equipment, facilities, property, tools, or other possessions do you own or have access to?  How might you use these in the process of supporting yourself?

Physical Resources                  Possible Careers You'd Love

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Now review these  lists and circle any careers that particularly capture your imagination.

Don't capitalize on your assets simply because it's the easiest solution.  

Taking this path may tempt you to grab for the "easy way," a way to make money that supposedly won't really involve much time or energy.  People who make the choice for this reason are more likely than any other group to fall prey to "get rich quick" scams, cons and schemes.  By seeking the so-called easy way, people who try to take this path may be tempted to get involved with some multilevel selling program or to buy some business opportunity or franchise because they assume it will be an automatic "moneymaker."

Know what you're working for. The more compelling your reason for wanting to take this path is to you, the easier and more likely it will be for you to succeed.

It is virtually impossible to make money from an income opportunity without investing your time, energy and knowledge.  If you sense you are making a decision because it seems like an easy opportunity, take some time and ask yourself if this is something you would enjoy doing even if you weren't getting paid.  Things may not go as planned and if you end up struggling for a while, you will regret making the choice because it seemed like easy money.

Write down all of your options and consider which ones are most financially viable.  Compare that against a second list of what you would enjoy doing most.  What are the two common options that rate highest on both lists?  That may be a starting point for you.

 Harvesting A Gift 

A talent is a gift you are born with; a skill is a gift you give yourself.

About one out of six people becomes successfully self-employed by taking advantage of a special talent or skill he or she has that others value and willingly pay for.  These people have tapped into a gift, something at which they shine, that others can readily recognize and want.

Many people miss out on the opportunity to harvest their gift, because they don't recognize it or they discount its value.  In fact, a gift often comes so easily or naturally that those who have it that they either assume everyone can do it or that it has no particular value.  It's so much a part of who they are and what they do that they think there's nothing to it.  That's undoubtedly why, unlike the other paths, people most often discover this route to independence only by accident, happenstance, or serendipity.

Discover the latent skills and abilities you've long forgotten or taken for granted over the years.  Don't overlook things that you seem average at compared to others.  Simply because you're not the most brilliant in your field doesn't mean that you're not good at it.  You may be able to combine what you do well with something else that you specifically understand to create your niche.

Your talents may lie in areas that no one actively pointed out to you, or you may have even been discouraged from pursuing them because your teachers or parents didn't think they were valuable.

Write down what you think are some of your gifts and rate your interest in each on a scale of 1-10.  Add a second number to indicate how well they would match the lifestyle you want.  Feel free to record the same gift under more than one heading.

Things your frequently complimented on:

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Things people ask you to help them with or do for them:

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Things people have told you you should get paid for:

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Things you've always thought you're good at:

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Sometimes your gifts can actually get in the way of finding and committing to the kind of work you really want to pursue.  Just because you're very good at keeping files organized, ironing or doing taxes, for example, doesn't mean that you necessarily enjoy doing these things.  Even if you do enjoy them, you might not want to do them day in and day out.  Just because everyone says "You're so good at this, please do it for me" doesn't mean you should feel compelled to earn your living from it, unless it's something you genuinely want to do.

Don't get stuck doing something simply because everyone else has pegged you as being "that person".  Don't get sucked back in because someone waves a bunch of money at you and you've done it before.  Find something that ignites passion in you.  Remember, you're not aiming to just make a living; you're creating a life.  In order to create the life you want to live, you'll be best served by pursuing those talents and gifts you enjoy doing.

 

 Pursuing A Passion 

Unfortunately, we have been taught to think of work as something that's supposed to be unpleasant and not for our own enjoyment.  There are some, often artistic types that aren't willing to settle for doing work they don't love.  About 1 in 4 people are driven to pursue the "fire in their belly."  They want to earn a living doing something they love.  Sometimes it arises from a lifelong hobby, others spring from interests developed later in life.

You don't have to be exceptionally gifted when you're exceptionally motivated.  Just because you have a passion for something doesn't mean you're gifted at it.  You may love it but not necessarily be the very best at it.

You can educate yourself and build your competence.  When you love what you're doing, usually you're automatically motivated to work at it long enough and frequently enough to develop sufficient  competence.  When you love what you do, usually you want to learn from every mistake and correct it to do better.

Also consider that you don't have to do what you love to be part of what you love.  You can be involved in earning a living from your passion in a number of different ways without actually being the key person doing it.

Ten different ways to do whatever you love:

  1. Do what you love.

  2. Provide a service to others who do what you love.

  3. Teach or help others to do what you love.

  4. Write about what you love

  5. Speak about what you love.

  6. Create a product related to what you love.

  7. Sell or broker what you love.

  8. Promote what you love.

  9. Organize what you love.

  10. Set up, repair, restore, fix or maintain what you love.

If what you love doing is something many others would love to do, for example: acting, playing golf, etc., do not beat your head bloody against closed doors while trying to do what you love most.  Your challenge is to find some way to do what you love that plenty of people are willing to pay for, or to find a job that allows you to do what you love in your spare time.

 

Nine out of ten people who successfully pursue what they love don't even try getting in the same door everyone else is pushing to go through.  They find an alternative route.

 

If what you love doing is something people dearly want or need but absolutely hate or have no time to do, pursuing your passion could be remarkably easy.

It is easy to settle for next to nothing when you are desperate for money or when you love what you're doing more than the money it pays you.  Avoid the temptation to work for pennies unless earning a reasonably good living is a very low priority in your life.  

Whenever we care passionately about something, we become more vulnerable to blows to our self-esteem.  When we've intensely invested in something, and care about it passionately, we tend to identify with it.  It's our "baby," so to speak.  An attack on it feels like an attack on us.  If our work is rejected, we may feel as though we've been rejected.  If it's a failure, we may feel like a failure.  

Successful people handle rejections and setbacks by redefining success.  Instead of measuring their success in how many sales they've made, they may measure their success in how many sales calls they've made.  Rejection is part of life, especially in selling.  If you are easily dissuaded by rejection you will find it difficult to blaze your own path.

Not everyone wants to earn a livelihood doing what they enjoy as their pastime, hobby, or interest.  Sometimes we enjoy these things because they are a diversion, an escape, or a novelty in contrast to the rest of our life.  If this is the case, trying to turn these pursuits into a livelihood would take all the joy out of them for you and they'd just become another form of work you can't wait to get away from.  Kind of like dating a long-time friend only to find it doesn't work out and losing the friendship you enjoyed for so long.

 

 Following a Mission 

The enjoyment of following a mission often comes not so much from what you're doing as from the ultimate benefits or results other derive from your work.  

Following a mission involves knowing that you're doing something that goes far beyond making a living.  It might involve righting a wrong, championing a cause, or creating something new and original that no one believes is possible.  Earning you living following a mission provides you with the satisfaction of knowing that the world is a better place because of your work and because of what you've contributed.

A mission may spring from an inspiration, a deeply held social belief, a traumatic life experience, a problem you've overcome, or an injustice you want to correct.

To help decide what might be your mission, write down the answers to the following questions and rate your interest in each on a scale of 1-10.  Add a second number to indicate how well they would match the lifestyle you want.  Feel free to record the same gift under more than one heading.

What personal tragedy, illness, or loss have you experienced that you could educate or otherwise help others to avoid or cope with?:

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What problems have you overcome and see others struggling through that you could help them with?:

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What injustices have you experienced or seen that bother you so much you'd like to do something about them?:

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What ideas do you have for doing something a better way?:

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What would you like to prove is possible?:

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What could you do to make the world a better place?:

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What do you feel strongly about wanting to preserve or restore that is being lost in our world today?:

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The Pros & Cons of Following A Mission:

While following a mission is the least traveled path to finding one's perfect work, it can be the most rewarding.  The gratification that comes from knowing you're making a difference in the world, the sense of achievement that comes from doing something no one else has been able or willing to do, the peace that comes from knowing you're following a destiny of some kind are the rewards of this path.

It is important to take steps to avoid burnout.  Because you are so passionate about what you are doing, it is easy to become imbalanced in your pursuit of helping make the world a better place.

It is also important to remember that you have to make a living.  Because what you're doing seems so much more important than money, you may not place enough monetary value on what you're doing.  It's hard to get anything accomplished if you're broke.

In taking this path, you undoubtedly have strong beliefs about your mission.  Don't hold on to your vision to tightly that you become rigid and inflexible.  You need to discover a way to package what you want to do in a way that will meet someone's need sufficiently to enable you to pay your bills.  Being flexible does not have to mean selling out or compromising your standards, but to succeed will mean being open to the needs, concerns and circumstances of others.

Sign on for the long haul.  You will need to be prepared to put in long hours, overcome failure and continue working long after others have gone home.  Remember, it's your mission.  Don't expect everyone else you're working with to have the same passion or work ethic as you do.  If you demand it, you may soon find yourself alone on your quest.

 

When you're connected to what you want to do, your drive, your desire will carry you a long way.  Your efforts become alive, desirable and productive.  But unless you connect what you're producing with something that's wanted or need in the outside world, nothing much will come back to you from those efforts.  The work may be initially gratifying, but ultimately barren.  On the other hand, when you're connected to some need or desire in the outside world, your efforts immediately bear fruit, but unless they're connected to some desire within you, that fruit may soon wither and die on the vine.

Work with a coach or mentor.

 

 Beginning The Journey 

Start talking and taking action.  That's how you'll actually carry out the process of casting forth, connection and feeding your ideas and plans.

Now that you're poised to begin, you must do so.  You must take at least the smallest of beginning steps toward your new life.  If you don't begin now, if you delay, if you hesitate, you will most likely begin to feel a creeping sense of depression.  You will begin to feel drained and weary.  But even the smallest action steps will energize you.  With each step you take, no matter how small, you will feel your confidence and enthusiasm build and, as you proceed, your path will unfold with increasing clarity.

Don't say, "I'm thinking about...".  Say "I want to tell you what I'm doing.  I'm..."  And you'll find that you will start getting a wealth of reactions that hold clues as to what your next steps should be.  You must weigh those reactions and suggestions, of course, but many will be helpful and fruitful.  Discard those that aren't and follow through on those that could be.  In may ways, launching your journey will be like following a trail of clues.

Read everything you can.

It will provide you with the information you need at each step of the way.  Go to the nearest bookstore or library and surf the net.  Head for career and business sections. Look for the resources you've seen and thumb through those books.  Pick those that seem to provide the information you're seeking in order to take your next step.  Review as many books as you can.  Read them all, if need be.  Visit the author's websites.  If you're not seeing anything helpful at your plans in one source, move on to other books and sites that are.

Take courses and attend seminars.

Ask for help.

After you have read and attended courses on getting started, you will be well prepared to start asking for help.  Avoid the temptation to start asking for help before you have done the reading and taken the courses that will enable you to ask the right questions of the right people.  Generally people are eager and willing to help if you ask them questions they can respond to.  For example, you will probably not get a particularly helpful response if you ask a colleague a question like "I want to become a wedding consultant.  Where do I start?"  You will get a much better response to a question like "I was reading that wedding consulting can be seasonal in nature.  Have you found that to be true for you?  How have you handled that?"

 

One thing is for sure: if you don't proceed, if you wait for something to happen, nothing will happen.  Remember you must cast forth, connect and feed your ideas and intentions before they will quicken with a life of their own.

Will your journey be easy?  It may be.  It may be easier than you ever imagined.  Will it be difficult?  It may be.  It may be more difficult than you ever imagined.  But if you have chosen your path well, it will be filled with such magic that whatever effort is required will be worth it, because you'll know you're on the road to your dreams.  If you must stop for a while, that's okay.  Do so.  If you must take a detour, that's okay.  Do so.  But never forget where you're going and never give up the journey.  Along the road that's filled with the magic of your dreams, as long as you continue walking forward in the direction you want to go, anything is possible, anything can help.

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