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Fulfillment: A Smaller Change Than You Think

By Audrey Seymour

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People often come to me unhappy with their career or business and know that something needs to change. The situation may have gotten so bad that they want to change everything about their work. However, the prospect of starting over can feel daunting as well as costly.

Does the change that you long to make feel so big that it keeps you from changing anything at all?

There are times when a complete change in your line of work can be exactly what's needed. And, most of the time it's not, even if it feels that way at first.

To get the maximum shift in your fulfillment level from the smallest change, zero in on exactly where the core of your dissatisfaction lies. This way, you don't spend a lot of energy and money only to realize that you miss some aspects about your old line of work. Your calling may be closer to home than you think!

Here are two examples:

One client was suffering from burnout and backaches from her work as a nurse. She longed to start her own business in a nursing-related field so that she could apply her expertise but be her own boss. She designed and followed a plan of research that included taking a few classes and doing informational interviews.

Once she had seen what else was available in realistic terms, she was surprised to discover a deeper appreciation of her own work. She learned that what she actually needed was to take a long delayed vacation, and she returned to her job refreshed and inspired.

Another client felt burned out in her business as a writing coach and teacher. "I don't like being an entrepreneur," she told me. "Business is down, and I can't bear to start marketing again." When we got curious about what was wrong, we learned that she did love her work. She only thought she hated marketing because to her that meant making cold calls and spending lots of money placing ads.

She was delighted to realize that she could market from her strengths in writing and personal relationships, rather than using traditional sales methods. With a revised marketing plan that incorporated a monthly newsletter and the development of referral networks, she fell back in love with her business.

If you are feeling burned out in your work, take the time to get curious about what you do love and what no longer works for you.

You may be on the threshold of starting an entirely new business, which is a very exciting and creative time. And, be sure to first do a reality check on whether you are overlooking something simpler before making that investment.

For an entrepreneur, that might mean reevaluating your business model, marketing approach, target clients and specialty. Employees could explore factors including company culture and size, work environment, commute, and level of responsibility.

Allow yourself to be curious without judgment, and a direct path to work fulfillment can light up for you. Enjoy the discovery!

© 2006-2008 Audrey Seymour. All rights reserved.