Ann Hogan is a professional Life-Career Coach with 20+ years of combined life-career experience as a student, medical lab tech, parent, school and community volunteer, facilitator & Certified Life Skills and Career Development Coach.

“One of my personal desires is that every adult who is a role model to children & youth, has the essential life-career skills required for all to enjoy successful relationships, lives & careers,” is what she says about herself.

We asked her 10 questions about career and finding life purpose sent by the readers of The One Question.

1.  Have you found your life purpose? How?

Yes-I believe that my life purpose has evolved to the point where I know I am meant to be a coach, to assist other people to find their life-career satisfaction/success also.

I did a spiritual gift inventory after I became a professional coach and the results indicated that my top 2 gifts were compassion & teaching. I felt very validated by that.

I found my purpose as a coach through a series of processes. The most important point, I think, is that I took the time to reflect on my life experiences.

After raising our children in partnership with my husband and after working as a medical laboratory technologist for over 20 years, I came to a point of feeling “ burned out”. That negative state was a strong sign that something needed to change.

So, I took a leave from work and also attended a 3 day Career Planning workshop. The reflection process in the work shop was where I asked myself such questions as;

o What activities were meaningful for me throughout the years, both personally & professionally?
o When did I feel proud/ have a sense of accomplishment? etc.

We did many activities including visualization in that workshop. I came away from the workshop knowing that I wanted to work directly with people, probably on a one to one basis so I could get to know people at a deeper level and to assist them in some way. However, I remained unsure of what my preferred career would be.

Then one day I planned on attending a Power Within seminar. I set an intention that day, as I entered the conference room full of several hundred people, that I would meet someone who would somehow assist me in moving forward with my career choice. I chose a row to sit in and a lady to sit beside. When I struck up a conversation at break time with that lady, she informed me that she was a Life Skills Coach. I loved what she had to say about being a coach and the rest is history. I found out where to get the education/training and I went back to college and earned a two year Life Skills & Career Development Coach diploma.

When I pay attention to my feelings, thoughts, and insights and when my experiences are in alignment with my purpose, I feel fulfilled.

2. What is the best way to find what you love?

I think the best way to find what you love is to take the time to reflect on the experiences you’ve had throughout your life. Do this by asking questions such as;

o What did I love to do as a child?
o What jobs have I had and what did I like about them?
o What leisure activities and hobbies have I enjoyed? What’s the reason I enjoyed them?
o What volunteer work have I been involved in? What are the reasons I got involved?
o What have I been doing when I have lost track of time?
o When have I felt a sense of pride and/or accomplishment?

When you take the time to reflect on different positive experiences in all your life areas, you’re likely to discover a common thread that will lead you to what you love.

3. I am often torn between following my passion and having a job that pays well. Is there a right answer?

If you are feeling torn, you likely think you are being pulled in two opposite directions, like a tug of war. In other words, you believe you have two choices to choose between; following your passion or having a job that pays well.

I think the right answer is a third option. You can have both and feel whole.The important part is that you honour your passion in some area of your life. If not in a well paying job, then apply your passion for yourself, with your family, in your community or in a leisure activity. If you break down the word Passion, it means Pass I On. When you pass part of who you truly are on, then there are many rewards to enjoy.

Also, when you follow your passion, it just may turn into a career that pays well.

I believe that if you do what you love, then the rewards will follow.

4. Can I trust my intuition? Sometimes I have a gut feeling as to what path I should pursue, but my logic tells me many reasons why it could fail. Should I follow my intuition or do the safe thing?

Your feelings are your primary learning domain, your guideposts through life.

If your intuition or gut feelings are guiding you towards a path to pursue, then there are probably many reasons that would promote you along that path. It is very important to consider the pros along with the cons presented by your logic.

Also, it’s probable that what you consider as logical reasons to fail, are fear based reasons. I would encourage you to have a look at which fears are not realistic, also known as False Expectations Appearing Real (F.E.A.R.) and to let them go.

I would also encourage you to take some time to problem solve & create an action plan. Then, you can safely take step by step forward in the path that you are being guided along.

5. I have to make a choice what to study in college. The only problem is that I don’t know what I want! How can I make a smart decision?

This is a very common problem situation for students & it is my opinion that not enough students ask that question. Good for you for asking.

Remember, once you know what to do, it’s important to actually DO IT! Making a smart decision involves taking the time to follow a career development process. When you decide what field of work or specific occupation you want to pursue, then you can figure out what courses you need to get there.

I partner with clients in a seven step process. You would decide on college @ step #5

1. Self-Information; It’s important to determine your main interests, skills, personality traits, values etc.

2. Identify Career Alternatives- through various means, it’s important to generate career options that fit for you

3. Research-also through various means, it’s important to research the top career options that you are considering along with labour market information

4. Decide- Follow a decision making process to pick the career option that will match best for you

5. Prepare- Determine specific action steps required to pursue your preferred career. This is the point where you’ll determine which subjects/courses are required and then you can …

6. Do it- apply/register at an appropriate institution

7. Follow Up/Evaluation-it is always good to set a date/time when you will evaluate how things are progressing in your plan. i.e.) What’s working? What’s not?

6. How can I find more purpose in my job? It’s easy to feel that all I do is make more money for the shareholders.

I would encourage you to take the time to re-evaluate a few things at this point.

I wonder…What were the reasons that you took the job in the first place? What attracted you to that field of work or to that company or to that particular position? Is that attraction still present?

Were you aware of the company’s mission statement and values when you took the job? Were you aware of your own values? Did they match? Do they now?

What are the strengths that you brought to the position? Do they still apply? What duties/tasks /assignments do you still enjoy? Can you better apply your strengths in other ways in the company i.e.) take on new challenges or make a move within the company to a new position?

You can update yourself about what’s important for you to be and do & find meaningful ways to apply yourself.

If your values match the company’s values & you enjoy what you are doing and are working towards a common purpose, then it will feel better to contribute towards the company’s prosperity. It’s a win-win situation where you are likely to enjoy in the profits as well.

7.  I want to pursue a career in philosophy, but I am worried about the financial security of such a pursuit. What should I do?

The short answer is …I believe that if you do what you love, then the rewards will follow.

Philosophy students learn to be critical thinkers/problem solvers and communicators, among other skills. Those highly transferable skills may not pay off in a big way at the entry level positions in business, however those leadership skills will assist a person to eventually move ahead into positions which will provide more financial security such as the management and executive positions.

Worry is a form of FEAR (False Expectations Appearing Real) about the future.

Do what you can in the present to plan the pursuit of your preferred career.

There are a variety of career options open to graduates with a philosophy degree. If philosophy is your passion, then you may consider earning a Ph.D. and work directly in the teaching or research fields.

8. If my only passion is for learning how do I apply this in my life as the benefits seem to rebound to myself only. How do I make a career out of learning?

What a great passion to have!

Continuous learning is an essential skill to have in this day & age of constant changes and rapid information, regardless of what career you prefer to pursue.

As far as how do you make a career out of learning? I can brainstorm many options. A researcher is constantly looking for new information/learning. Or, you can chose to share/teach your learning with others as a traditional teacher, tutor, facilitator, public speaker, trainer, coach etc. You did not mention what you love to learn about. Depending on that answer, other options include being involved in an offshoot of the learning industry i.e.) creating learning aids/materials, inventing, writing, illustrating etc. or marketing / selling learning materials, programs, workshops etc.

Depending on what subjects are the objects of your passion, the are many related options that will benefit both you and others.

9. Is there a surefire way to choose a career that will give me satisfaction?

Yes. In the first step of the the seven step career planning process that I use to assist clients in deciding on a preferred career, there is a process that aids a person to find career satisfaction.

The first step is Self-Information. It’s important to determine your main interests, skills, personality traits, values etc.

An additional process here to ensure career satisfaction is to develop your True North, a personal compass which acts as an aid to move forward in the right direction for you.  You decide on 5 of your 20 priority skills, interests, personality traits and values that you want to honour in your preferred career. Ideally you want to find a working environment that matches all 5. However, realistically if you can find a match for 3 of the 5, then you can still enjoy career satisfaction.

10. Does my life purpose have to be my job? Why?

No, I do not think that your life purpose has to be your job. Your job is only part of a balanced life and you may honour who you are by applying your life purpose in other life areas; with your family, in your community (the one you live in or the community at large) or in your leisure life etc. If you are living on purpose in any of these areas then you will reap the rewards of feeling positive emotions i.e.) satisfied, joyful, energized fulfilled etc.

Having said that, if you are working fulltime, then the majority of your day (generally 5 days a week, 40 or more hours a week plus commute time, overtime etc.) is concentrated on your job. Ideally then, if you were able to honour your life purpose in your job, then you would have more opportunity to make a difference and feel those positive emotions more consistently.

Remember, the most important point is that you honour who you are meant to be in some way, in some area of your life and/or career and enjoy.

You can contact Ann at ABC Life & Career Skills:  http://abclifecareer.ca