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Ward Hooper

Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career

Transition to the fulfilling work you were meant to do
Thursday, June 6, 2013, 10:22 PM

Unfulfilled by your job? Wish the work you do on a daily basis were more aligned with the person you are? (your interests and values)

You're not alone.

In fact, the majority of workers would chose a different career path if given the chance.

The reasons span a wide range. Some simply experience a bad fit with the career that fate steered them into. For readers of PeakProsperity.com, there are often additional fears that their expertise will have little relevance to a future shaped by the “Three E” forces outlined in the Crash Course

But the reality is, most people don't take the steps to find a more meaningful path. The potential life upheaval and uncertainty that can come with a full-scale career transition often prove too daunting and overwhelming for most folks. And so they resign themselves to a future of lowered expectations. Of enduring their job.

It doesn't have to be that way for you.

Finding a Purposeful Path

Perhaps the most frequent question asked by visitors to the Peak Prosperity website is What should I do?

Regular readers know we continually create a lot of content to address this broad and very far-ranging query. But at its simplest, our advice distills down to this:

  1. Protect what’s precious
  2. Cultivate resilience
  3. Live with purpose

"Work" is a huge part of #3. It occupies a large percentage of our waking hours and is often an equally large component of our self-identity. When our work is out of alignment with our passions, our natural abilities, or our values, it's nearly impossible to be content and for good reason.

To bring things into alignment, a process of self-discovery is necessary. Big existential questions like Who am I? What do I value? What are my strengths? What fulfills me? need to be faced head-on, and articulated in detail.

This is a very tall order, and, not surprisingly, these are challenging answers for most people to resolve on their own. But these insights are absolutely essential for transitioning successfully to work you'll love, because they'll define the requirements a job will need to have in order to be a "great fit" for you.

So, based on the many continual requests we receive from readers wanting clarity and instruction on how best to undertake such a big endeavor, we've developed a guide to the career transition process. It's called Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career, and it's just been published.

This book is a step-by-step manual for a tested process that yields the self-discovery, visioning, planning, and implementation that ultimately results in finding professional fulfillment. It has been analyzed for decades and is well understood by competent career counselors and coaches.

Its overall message is: Your purpose is out there waiting for you. There is a methodical process to find it and to transition successfully over to it.

Physical copies of the book are available for $15 at Amazon.com or through the CreateSpace store. Those with Kindles or iPads can download e-book versions for $9.95. (other e-book readers should be supported within 90 days). And if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow the book for free on your Kindle.

The book breaks down the transition process into 3 Stages:

  1. Developing the insights & vision that will guide your efforts
  2. Aligning your focus & resources
  3. Securing authentic work

Each Stage has a progression of Steps comprised of specific exercises and practices for you to follow, as well as experienced advice to improve your odds of success.

There’s little about this process that is novel or complex. It doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money. It doesn’t require you to go through any special training beforehand.

The challenge lies in both having the courage to wrestle with yourself, as well as the reserve to see this journey through to its conclusion. But if you do, the odds of you ending up with a clear understanding of your “purpose” and in a job that’s consistent with it – are very good. Probable, even.

I can say this with confidence because I relied on much of the methodology within this book for my own career transition, from dissatisfied Silicon Valley executive to rural homesteader and proud co-founder of PeakProsperity.com. For those interested, I provide a glimpse into my personal story here.

During and after my journey, I spent many hours talking with seasoned career coaches and career management experts to identify the key success factors for finding one's "authentic work" and securing employment in that field. Many of those factors are discussed in this podcast with the most helpful expert I encountered in this process. I encourage those considering a career change to listen to it.

Another important lesson I learned was the value support networks lend. Other people in the midst of their own career transition are a fantastic (and free) source of emotional support, best practices, employer insights, and job leads. As a helpful resource, we've created the Finding Your Authentic Career Group for you to tap the collective nurturing of others who on the same journey as you.

Doing work you love is a critical component of your financial and emotional resiliency. A career that energizes you, plays to your natural strengths, and gives you purpose is highly likely one that you'll excel in. And that outperformance will give you options you can leverage within an organization that recognizes your value. Or by enabling you to strike out on your own; to be your own employer. But even if the financial returns aren't as high as you'd like, the self-respect and fulfillment that comes from doing work you believe in will almost always make up for it.

In coming posts, we plan to delve more directly into the importance of Work in a future defined by constrained economic growth and growing resource scarcity. If there are specific topics you'd like us to cover, please let me know in the Comments below.

I welcome any feedback on the book from those that read it. In the interim, here's what several reviewers have had to say:

Adam Taggart's new book, "Transitioning Into Purpose," is a terrific guide for anyone struggling to figure out not only what their ideal career is, but also how to get there. He walks the reader through a thorough, carefully constructed process full of helpful strategies and tips. I highly recommend it.
~ Jennifer Winn, President, Winn Performance Partners
Adam Taggart shares the personal story of his own career exploration and discovery, while offering practical advice based on the lessons he learned from embarking on that transformational journey.
~ Marie Mookini, former Director of MBA Admissions at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; currently Principal at the Admission Advisory Group
Millions of people have traded career satisfaction for job security. But that security is illusory, as the nature of work is being revolutionized by global and technological forces. Adam’s book provides a practical roadmap for navigating the new economy and gaining the key understanding that a fulfilling career based on self-knowledge is our only true security in a fast-changing world.
~ Charles Hugh Smith, proprietor of oftwominds.com and author of Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It.

A Note on Timing

This book was written for anybody wishing for a different course than the one they're currently on.

But we pushed to launch it now as it has special relevance to those deciding for the first time which professional path to focus on: recent high school and college graduates. In particular, the self-discovery and visioning exercises are particularly valuable for these readers, as they are at a life stage when making the right decisions can literally save them from years (even decades) of dissatisfaction.

If there's a recent grad in your life whom you think would benefit from this book, please let them know about it.                            

                                                           Get The Book

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19 Comments

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 429
Ordered It

And plan on sharing your book with my nephew.

:-)

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 2457
The Road to Hell

Get it right kid.

gillbilly's picture
gillbilly
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 381
Cogratulations Adam!

Looking forward to reading it! I will ask our school bookstore to carry it in hopes our students will read it. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make the Kripalu session. You guys always seem to pick my busiest weekendsfrown

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 4 2012
Posts: 466
Congrats from me too Adam

I also look forward to reading your book. Knowing your writing style I am sure it will be a winner!

The points you make about one's work reflecting their values, and therefore being a good "fit" is so important. I have been on both ends of that spectrum. A poor fitting job saw me absolutely miserable and at a low point in life. The move to a better fitting job made all the difference in the world, enabling me to thrive. So I am a big believer in "right fit".

Congratulations on publishing your book Adam. I will be sure to recommend it to anyone who I think might benefit from it.

Jan

treemagnet's picture
treemagnet
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2011
Posts: 344
This ship has sailed

but very interested for my children.  Adam, is this a mid-life crisis book or can anyone equally benefit regardless of age.  Specifically, college years are always interesting times, do you think that demographic can use this?

marky's picture
marky
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 27 2010
Posts: 33
Gradual Transition

Very interesting and timely topic.  I'm going through a similar process currently.  I actually started it several years ago, and chose to move from a permanent senior corporate type of life to a "dual track" life for a few years.  I shifted to consulting work in my area of career expertise (which allowed me much more schedule flexibility, with continuing income) while exploring several areas of interest in a deep way (homesteading stuff, gardening, herbal medicine, lots of practical skills).  I'd strongly recommend that gradual model, because it does take time to play around in new areas and build up real skills and experience.  Once you have, you have more work/career options for the future. 

Another thing to consider I think is the health aspect. Personally, after 25 years of working crazy hours in offices, and staring into computers, my underlying health was compromised, even though I looked good(ish) on the surface.  Without good physical and emotional health, it is hard to make the best and bravest choices about the future.  And it takes time to repair your body after years of stress and sedentary lifestyle. 

So, buying yourself some time is important, in my view.

Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 507
From Despair to Elation

Adam Taggart wrote:

But we pushed to launch it now as it has special relevance to those deciding for the first time which professional path to focus on: recent high school and college graduates. In particular, the self-discovery and visioning exercises are particularly valuable for these readers, as they are at a life stage when making the right decisions can literally save them from years (even decades) of dissatisfaction

Adam,

Thank you very much! I can't help but feel somewhat responsible for moving your timeline up. wink I just ordered 3 copies of your book and will give a copy to my neighbor kids as a graduation present. (I will keep one for myself.) Normally, I don't give books before reading them first. Your other writings and dedication to your cause gives me confidence to break the mold.

You've removed a huge (self imposed) weight from my shoulders. Thanks again.

Grover

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1547
wonderful news, Adam!

Best of everything on the new book (love the cover).

And Marky? You said

It takes time to repair your body after years of stress and sedentary lifestyle.

Not only yes, but hell yes. I worked in NYC on large construction sites and about the only good thing I can say about it was a walked a great deal, but 20+ hours of commuting a week took a toll, and I caused damage to my feet walking down 20 to 50 stories of stairs once or more per day for years and years. I made a career change at 54 to a sustainable lifestle which had my NYC friends saying, "You're crazy" followed invariably by, "I'm so jealous." Four years later I am finally rid of most of the toxic effects of my former pace of life.

A year after I left I did this poll on how to celebrate. Read if you need a laugh:.

It's June 2010. It's been a year, very nearly, since I left the soul-crushing job in NYC. I am not certain how I should celebrate, I'm just sure that, somehow, I should mark the occasion. So, on June 5th should I:

Burn a subway map?
1 (9.1%)
Breathe the soot afterward, for nostalgia's sake?
0 (0.0%)
Make a NY-Style Cheesecake?
2 (18.2%)
Make a New York Strip Steak?
3 (27.3%)
Participate in some rush-hour traffic? (There's a little of that on the right roads here for about an hour a day)
0 (0.0%)
Turn off all my lights and TV and pretend I'm paying NY rates for electricity?
1 (9.1%)
Look for someone surly to talk to? (That will be hard in SC, even if I bribe someone.)
0 (0.0%)
Drive over nasty, pot-hole filled roads? (I think there's a logging road nearby that would suffice...)
0 (0.0%)
Get up at 4 AM and drive an hour and a half (I could drive around the block for that long; I think the time is the important factor here)
0 (0.0%)
During my 'commute' pay an expensive toll? (To be authentic I should shred the money, for merely throwing it out the window runs the risk of someone actually spending the cash for something useful: NY would never do that!)
0 (0.0%)
Spend at least five hours walking up and down stairs (preferably in rain or stifling heat) and then meticulous paperwork for lawsuits while being yelled at for actually sitting down and doing this part of my job?
0 (0.0%)
Cancel any evening plans because I've been told there's another 'emergency overtime' night and eat greasy take out food for dinner?
1 (9.1%)
Take a similar, three-hour 'commute' home?
0 (0.0%)
I can always get home with barely enough time or energy to strip off my boots and fall on the bed. For added authenticity I should be utterly alone.
0 (0.0%)

Yep. That's what it was like.

marky's picture
marky
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 27 2010
Posts: 33
Career Change

Wendy - thanks for the survey, very funny. Congratulations on your new life, sounds like you made a great move.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 19 2008
Posts: 81
Congratulations and Thank You!

I have two nephews, both university graduates, who are currently firefighters/paramedics in a large metropolitan area.  While both enjoy their work, they each realize that a career change will be necessary.  One, because of the physical toll of the work affecting his arthritis, and the other because of his growing interest in the medical aspects of the work - he is thinking of going on to a Physician Assistant program.  Your book may be the impetus they both need to get moving to their next careers.  I've ordered copies of the book for each of them.   Thank you.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1860
Many thanks, everyone

Many thanks for the kind congratulations, everyone.

I feel a little embarrassed to receive it. I simply listened to the many PP.com readers who were grappling with the same big existential "What should I do with my life?" question that I was, years ago before partnering up with Chris. Since I had already invested the time into understanding the science behind successful career transition, putting it into book form to make it widely available just seemed the natural step.

But I really do appreciate the kind words. And I'm very honored by those who have purchased copies, especially those intending to share the book with someone at a time when it could make a positive difference in their life.

Jan: You're spot on. The difference between a bad fit & good fit career is not 2x. It's more like 2,000x.

Treemagnet: The self-exploration and visioning work within the first part of the book is applicable to almost everyone. This kind of insight enables better decision-making and planning across most aspects of our lives. Even if you're committed to your current career, the intelligence will still have lots of value in helping you better understand how to best navigate that path and what you ultimately want to get out of it. The same is true for those wrestling with how to have a purposeful life after retiring. So, while I agree that the younger you are when you develop this self-understanding the better; don't count yourself out due to age. This is inner work it's never too late to benefit from.

Marky: I'm glad you raised the recommendation of a gradual process. A major career transition is a marathon vs a sprint. The process takes time to do right and trying to rush it only shortchanges yourself in the form of missed learnings and uninformed (and, therefore, likely ill-fitting) decisions. As I take care to note in this podcast on career transition, expect the process to take a least a year (it can go faster, but more oftentimes takes longer)

And I'm living proof of the health benefits of leaving a bad-fit career. The removal of stress and the increased control of your life result in better sleep, better eating habits, more time for exercise, better emotional health, and greater energy & confidence for facing the day. I look back on all the restless nights, missed workouts I was "too busy" to make time for, emotion-driven binge eating, and the deflated feeling I had as I drove to the office and wonder: How did I endure it for so long? Or more importantly: Why did I?

Grover: I'm very glad that this resource arrives at a time when it sounds like it can hopefully do some good for people you care about. I'm flattered you broke your usual protocol for my book!

Wendy: I'll cast my vote for "cheesecake" laugh

gillbilly's picture
gillbilly
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 381
Just finished it

Hey Adam,

Just finished it! Congratulations again on a job well done. I enjoyed the clear concise process of the steps and all the practical examples you give. Really nicely done. One small comment...I would have liked more of your own personal stories, maybe one with each of the steps? It was great to have your personal touch at the end, and the inspirational stories were effective, but I would have liked to hear more of how each step transformed you personally along the way. Anway, just a thought...maybe for your second edition:-) Thumbs up!!

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1860
Good idea

Gillbilly -

Glad you liked it!

I was hesitant to add too much of my own personal coloring, for fear the recommended path would sound too tailored to my specific needs (or worse, appear narcissistic). I want to make sure the reader can easily envision themselves taking each step.

That said, I can see how hearing more of the author's own revelations has motivational value. So, I'm using your feedback to start my pile of "2nd Edition" to-dos.

As an FYI, here's a slightly more expanded summary of my journey than the one at the end of the book. I also have kicked off a series of podcasts that will delve into the major steps of the transition process - the first of which was just published on Friday here. Perhaps I'll also write a pre-2nd edition post focused on my own personal takeaways from each step, for readers like you who wished to hear more.

I'm really happy to see the words "concise" and "practical" in your review of the book. Those were key objectives. So many of us spent so many years in school accumulating knowledge to increase of our odds of having a "successful" future, but we were never instructed on how to identify what "success" means for each of us, individually. Or how to go about pursuing it.

My hope is that the book is a straightforward and useful resource in helping address this gap.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1547
too late on the cheesecake ;-)

They voted for the steak.

Seriously, I am in the process of reinventing myself yet again. Hubby and I are looking into me getting a South Carolina Master Gardener certificate, and maybe a cert in Permaculture and LEED training.

It's an exciting time for me, defining what I really want.

mobius's picture
mobius
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 18 2009
Posts: 152
Available via iBooks?

Hi Adam,  in the absolute GLEE to see your announcement I ran out without thinking and purchased a couple of iTunes voucher cards.

I've been trying to find an iPad version of your book ($9.99), but I see that it's only (yet) available via Kindle.

Will the book be soon available via iBooks?

Keep up the great posts & podcasts.  Greetings, Joanne.

gillbilly's picture
gillbilly
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 381
Kindle app.

Hi Mobius,

You can download the kindle app for your ipad through itunes and then order the book. Happy reading!

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 502
Amazon.com

Any way to get this other than through Amazon?  Thanks!

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 1860
CreateSpace

Time -

You can purchase the book directly from CreateSpace, the publishing platform I used:

https://www.createspace.com/4261678

pediwent's picture
pediwent
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 27 2013
Posts: 1
Can't wait to read it!

Adam! It's Jeff Pedigo. Felipe told me about your career left turn. Great to see you here and congrats on your book - I just bought it and can't wait to read it. I've been struggling with this exact issue for over a decade now and hope to get some new insights on where to find my passion. If you're ever down in the city, give me a buzz - would be great to catch up over a cup of coffee.

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