49 Going on 50 Mentoring Tip #7: FOLLOW YOUR HEART NOT JUST A CAREER PATH

Because advances in technology, the ever-changing global economy and the fact that many Baby Boomers are now unable to retire means that a career path isn’t what it used to be. Even the security that caused many of us to trade away our dreams isn’t so secure anymore. Holla if you hear me doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, postal workers -- shall I continue??? 

When I walked away from my corporate career, some people thought I was ruining my life and I, quite frankly, wondered the same. But I had to know whether the God-given gifts and talents that made me so happy existed for a reason or whether they were as random as say, (presumably) big ear lobes or skinny toes. I sensed that it was more than a coincidence that my innate gifts corresponded with my dreams. And though my heart’s desires seemed so far off, discovering the answer to this question became more important to me than following a traditionally “safe” career path. To my 30-something-year-old mind, few things seemed as though they would be more painful when I was older (read: age 50) than looking back over my life and wishing I “would of/could of/should of” followed my heart. I recited Robert Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled” like a mantra. It begins: 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood/ 

and knowing that I could not travel both/

and be one traveler, long I stood 

and looked down one as far as I could 

until it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other just as fair

Except it was grassy and wanted wear...

The possibility of that spoke to me. So did Jesus’s words: “Greater things than these shall ye do.” They made me wonder what it would be like to walk on water in my own life.  

That was 15 years ago, and not only have I discovered that my gifts correspond with the things that I was imagining, I have learned that the people, places and ideas that I’m naturally attracted to are a part of that vision. For example, I’ve learned that anything that I have a natural affinity for or that I notice or am attracted to repeatedly is a metaphorical breadcrumb that God has dropped along my spiritual path in order to draw me in that direction. 

15 years later I have learned not to plot my moves according to a career path that someone else has determined for me. Instead of moving from the outside in, I move from the inside out -- from breadcrumb to breadcrumb. I let my heart -- the people, places and things that I love and/or that call out to me -- illuminate my way. I now know that they chart an invisible path through the Universe that has my name on it and that is far more secure than a path that another person, a company, the economy, etc., dictates for me. Security comes from within, I’ve learned. 

The amazing result of living this way is that I have been self employed for 11 years and have never looked for work -- work finds me. Had I not followed this path, I wouldn’t have known that living this was was possible. 

I wish that I had had someone to tell me this. But I’m glad to know now. And now I’m telling you. 

As Robert Frost concluded: I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.  

Take small steps to live more from your heart and let me know if it makes a difference for you.