Listen, Fido, ListenPosted: June 15, 2012
If you listen, really listen, you’ll hear what your supposed to hear. There are messages coming to us all the time and if we open our ears, we will hear.
Last week, I had the honor of attending a two-day session with a friend and colleague who is working on her next step. What will she do next with her wonderful life? And while we didn’t pin the tail and declare her new “vocation,” I could tell that she was listening, really listening. And in the right time, it will come.
I call it dogged listening. Imagine that you are a beautiful dog with big beautiful ears and there is a whistle blowing. You hear it with such attentiveness and the sound of it is magnetic. You must go to it, question it, explore it. And if it’s the right message, you start to collect what you are hearing until you eventually start to howl, because it feels that right.
When it comes to careers or vocations, I think there is a big mistake in starting with a list of titles. I could be this or that or maybe this. You end up with a list without a lot of clarity. Instead, I recommend that you become “title agnostic.” Instead open up your listening, your dog-ears, to moments when you are the happiest. What are you doing in that exact moment? What makes it a happy moment? The work itself? The environment? The people? The conversation? Listen, really listen and collect the data.
Once you have the data, you may find that when you read back, it isn’t one specific thing, maybe it’s two or three. In fact, maybe you find out that you are polyvocational. It’s okay, lots of people are and it’s nothing to be ashamed of at all. In fact, the majority of the workforce is moving in that direction. Specifically, our sandwich generations, Gen-Y and Boomers are whole-heartedly embracing the concept of having multiple vocations that make them happy. And X’rs… it’s okay… go on… check it out
Instead of woofing down lunch yesterday (notice the pun), I actually sat and listened to a musician playing at Whole Foods. Really good, Ryan Huie (listen to a bit here). I asked the woman next to me about him and she told me that Ryan is a lawyer and a musician. A real live polyvocationalist in my presence.
I wondered how many other people on that plaza were also polyvocationalists and just not out yet. Maybe there is a tv show in the making for TLC?
So, as you embrace the dog-days of summer (sorry, last pun), I encourage you to put on your dog-ears and listen, really listen. Whether it’s about your career, your love, your health…the whistles are out there ready to let you know.