Category Archives: what is the shadow

Finding Your Right Livelihood (2)

How To Discover Your Right Livelihood

“I have not always chosen the safest path. I’ve made my mistakes, plenty of them. I sometimes jump too soon and fail to appreciate the consequences. But I’ve learned something important along the way: I’ve learned to heed the call of my heart. I’ve learned that the safest path is not always the best path and I’ve learned that the voice of fear is not always to be trusted.” ― Steve Goodier

To find your right livelihood, and perhaps the expression of your soul purpose, you need to access the knowledge of your subconscious mind. (Read about the unconscious or subconscious mind here.)

There are many ways to do this, and here are just a few of them.

1 Look At What Do You Do in Your Spare Time: What Are Your Hobbies?

Years ago, I worked with Alan, an accountant who was thoroughly bored with his corporate job. When he came to me for a coaching session based on shadow work methodology, I asked him to tell me what made him excited. He shuffled his feet and eventually replied, “Nothing, really.”

And then I asked him what he did in his spare time. For the next 30 minutes he regaled me with stories of making wine at home, in his cellar, with the wine press he’d built by hand.

Sensing I might be on to something, I asked him: “Alan, have you ever considered a career in the wine industry?”

There was a long silence, eventually broken by a string of expletives expressing, I imagine, his astonishment that this had never occurred to him.

Then, tentatively, as if he were nursing this new idea like a new born infant, he asked me, “How do you think I might do that?”

I happened to know that the local college offered a part-time course in Wine Education, under the auspices of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, a body dedicated to furthering people’s careers in the hospitality industry.

Next thing, Alan phoned me up, very excited, to tell me that he’d signed up for the course. And a couple of years later he passed all the exams with flying colours and moved seamlessly into a job as a wine buyer for a national supermarket chain.

For several years he had a great time touring and sampling wines all over the world. Sensing it was time to move on again, he studied for a degree in winemaking and then moved to Australia, where he immediately landed a job as a winemaker with one of the large wine companies.

A few years later he’d accumulated enough money and contacts to fund the purchase of his own vineyard. He recently sent me an email in which he told me how happy he was having found “his passion”.

“Everything about this job suits me,” he wrote. “The connection with the land. The investment of time and care in Mother Earth which you need to produce a quality product. That deep sense of being so linked to Nature. The movement through the seasons. The science of fermentation. The art and craft of producing high quality wine which enhances so many people’s lives. And beyond all of that, I totally love how wine brings people together in such a fun way.”

As Alan’s story shows, what you do in your spare time can be a crystal clear indication of where your true passion and interests lie.

Video – uncovering your true passion

When you look at what you do in your spare time, does it have an underlying purpose which excites you and drives you on to achieve more in this area? Is there some way in which it benefits the world or the people in it?

And if that’s true, then how might you begin turning your hobby into an occupation?

Now – a word of caution. Often people have a sense of their passion, but are inhibited about following that path. they fear failure. They think they are not good enough. They are scared of being seen, of “putting their heads above the parapet”. In other words, their fears hold them back. Bit here’s the rub – those fears can be unconscious. You may require some therapy to uncover them; you may require more therapy to overcome them. And yet, without such therapy, how are you to get what you want – your passion? I  will say more about this in a moment.

2 Take Note of What Interests You and Excites You

When you read books, what excites you? Stories of adventure, exploration, discovery? Science, art or literature? Which programmes are unmissable for you on television, and why is that?

What in the world gives you happiness, pleasure and satisfaction?

Video – why are people so unhappy?

(Unhappiness is a massive block to seeking fulfillment and passion in your work because it blocks motivation.)

One of my clients, Susannah, who was working as a mechanical engineer in the railway industry, told me that she loved watching TV documentaries on the history and geology of the British landscape.

In fact, she told me, she’d enjoyed a sense of connection with nature since she was a little girl, when she used to play endlessly in the fields, mountains and streams of the English Lake District.

And her face lit up when she talked about introducing other people to the pleasures she knew so well. In fact, her passionate desire to share this landscape and her knowledge of it was very clear. She talked a lot about reconnecting people to Nature.

But like so many people in this situation, she hadn’t chosen to explore her excitement and joy any further. Her fear, her unconscious fear, stopped her. And note  that was fear she barely knew existed in her mind. It was, as the psychologists say, “in shadow“.

What she needed was a catalyst to show her how she could turn her passion for the land into something bigger: a pastime, a job, an occupation, a life purpose even.

Often people know what excites them but they fail to make the connection between their excitement and the possibilities which lie hidden within it. For Susannah, all that was needed to bridge this gap was to learn just enough about the art of documentary filmmaking.

Now, you may say, “That’s such a big thing.”

But a little learning about how to make documentaries allowed Susannah to submit some simple videos to a number of TV companies all over the world. Soon, her videos came to the attention of a producer on an American TV channel.

And then Susannah was invited to submit a script and a test shoot for a series of programmes on the British landscape – with her in front of the camera.

Finally, with her script accepted, she was invited to present the programs on camera for a commissioned TV series.

Last I heard of her, Susannah was living her dream.

She was exploring and adventuring in the landscape she loved, introducing millions of other people to the possibilities of pleasure in this glorious countryside.

More than anything else, she was living her life purpose: bringing people to an understanding of the delicate ecosystems on which we all depend.

And note that she did this by working on her unconscious fears: which meant, for her, seeing a psychotherapist qualified in shadow work, who could uncover and eliminate her deepest fears and self-doubts.

Sure, you may not want to make TV programmes, but you can still think about what excites you.

And, as a corollary, you can think about what scares you. And when you find out what scares you, you can do some personal work on it. See, for example the description of what is possible on this website about shadow work. The author says: “If you are wrestling negative emotions, beliefs, or habits, it’s not because you are broken. With enough commitment and curiosity, you can address these things and move beyond them….”   

For example, what do you post about on Facebook, Pinterest or any other social media site? What unique knowledge and talents could you share with other people?

Sarah Charles graduated in 2007, but rapidly discovered that undertaking graphic design work contracted by large corporations didn’t prove as fulfilling or creative as she’d hoped. So in her spare time, she created her own prints inspired by nature – owls, armadillos, wolves, trees, flowers, and so on.

Because she was open to the possibility of new ways of expressing her art, Sarah set up a store on Etsy, a newly developed online platform where craftspeople could sell their products. Etsy brings together skilled artists and buyers who appreciate the time, creativity and effort which the merchant-artists put into their products.

And sure enough, customers began to find her. Better still, her customers began asking her to make T-shirts, pillows and throws screenprinted with her designs.

This allowed Sarah to make a few extra thousand dollars a year for several years doing what she loved to do.

And then, in 2012, Etsy featured her on its homepage for five days. This led to thousands of new orders and allowed Sarah to turn her hobby into a full-time career.

Literally overnight, she stopped working for companies and started to focus entirely on her own creations, selling them through her online store. Her business is now thriving, and paying her more money than she’d earned in any other job.

This means Sarah can focus on the artistic and creative side of the business. As she says, “I’m in the sweet spot where I’m at my capacity but I’m making great margins and paying myself well.”

Continued here

Finding Your Right Livelihood

Your Right Livelihood and Your Soul Purpose

 “Do What You Love and The Money WILL Follow”!

  If you really want to be successful and you really want to be happy, don’t have a job, have a purpose… When you’ve got a purpose, the whole world is your office. – Robert Holden 

 So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. – Morrie Schwartz (from the book “Tuesdays with Morrie”, by Mitch Albom)

Do you know what kind of work provides you with a heartfelt sense of satisfaction and fulfilment? Or what job or occupation gives you the greatest pleasure and a sense of doing something worthwhile and valuable?

To put it another way, what makes your heart sing with joy?

Pay attention to these signals, because they come from the deepest part of you. Listen to them and they will reveal your right livelihood – the way of earning money which is most in line with your deepest soul values.

These soul values take many forms, but they often manifest in qualities such as honesty, integrity, faithfulness, courage, offering support to others, working for the good of humanity, and so on.

As you discover your right livelihood, you’ll begin to see how it offers the best way for you to make money, perhaps even to make yourself rich. Because when you work in harmony with your soul, you naturally work with integrity for the good of humanity, and riches of all kinds – material and spiritual – flow your way in abundance. This is what some people call manifestation. But it is more about establishing a conscious flow in harmony with the universe, which requires a state of balance and harmony in yourself; this attunement allows the universe to manifest what you want. And this is soul work.

Video – the concept of right livelihood (Wayne Dyer)

Finding your right livelihood is not only a gateway to success and achievement. It’s also important because it’s probably the most important way in which you can express your life purpose.

Truth is, when you find your right livelihood, you’re well on the way to understanding your life purpose. Your life purpose, which is also called your soul purpose, represents the real reason you’re right here, right now, on this planet.

I explained this idea at a shadow work workshop I was leading focused on how to find your right livelihood, in 2012, and a young man called Tony stood up to object. “You’re wrong,” he said, “and I can prove it to you. I was a trader in the city money markets in 2008, and I made more money than you ever have or ever will. I hated the job, but boy, did I ever make a lot of money.”

And he was indeed wealthy. When I talked to him later in the break, I discovered his net worth was around twenty million pounds sterling. But as we moved deeper into conversation, it became clear that his arrogance was the defence of a deeply unhappy man against his pain.

He’d paid a high price for his money. His life had nearly broken him, with a serious stomach problem requiring constant medication, frequent migraines, an increasing problem with alcohol, a ruined marriage, and drug addiction (which, happily, he’d overcome). For many years he’d not been able to face his family, he’d been ostracised by his old friends, and his marriage had broken down.

Most telling for me, while doing this job, he’d lived with a nagging feeling that would never go away, a sense of unhappiness, a profound discomfort with his life. Not even his millions could make him feel better. His soul was in pain. The point being that his work as a city trader was driven by something in his shadow, not by his sense of right livelihood. And shadow? Those are the hidden parts of us, the unconscious parts, which can drive our behaviour, while we are quite unaware of what might be making us behave in a certain way. (The concept of the human Shadow is explained here.)

Sure, Tony may be an extreme example. But like many of the men and women I meet in my work, Tony had spent a good part of his life doing a job that was fundamentally incompatible with his basic moral values.

In fact, as we talked, Tony revealed why he was attending my right livelihood workshop. He wanted to find a job in which he could make use of his desire to help and support people trying to find a way of expressing their true creativity.

As he spoke, I realised that the concept of finding a right livelihood and being happy because of it probably applied more to him than anybody else I’d met for long time.

So would his pain have been worthwhile if he’d used his money to fund a new career which was in line with his basic values?

Perhaps. Only he could know the answer to that.

Just like Tony, each one of us has to solve this dilemma for ourselves. Only you can decide if the spiritual, emotional and physical consequences of doing a job which conflicts with your deepest values are too high a price to pay.

(If you want to know how allowing greed to overcome morality affects people, read the autobiographical book City Boy by Geraint Evans. It’s an extraordinary account of life in the London financial markets in the early years of the 21st Century. And it reveals in the most dramatic way how the amoral pursuit of wealth can make people lose touch with who they are, even lose touch with their soul.)

Because you’re reading this, I’d guess that your basic values, the foundation stones of your moral code, are important to you. Maybe, however, you aren’t yet living them in the way you’d like.

By the time you’ve read this book, however, you will have a complete blueprint for finding your right livelihood and expressing your soul purpose. And that can make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. What you want to manifest will appear, as if by magic. But to make the point again – what you want will only appear if you are in perfect alignment with your heart’s desires and your soul purpose.

For some people, a right livelihood might be about finding work which encompasses some ethical or moral beliefs about duty to wards other people or to the planet. For some it might be about building a community or running a business which focuses on sustainability. And for others it may simply be about finding a job which feels good and does not conflict with their moral or spiritual values. For others it is serving in a way which adds value to the world or perhaps changes people’s lives. Mark Manson has explained this in his own inimitable fashion.

Video  – finding life purpose

But let’s be clear about this. Finding your right livelihood is not just about finding a job which makes you feel good.

Although feeling good is important, the real question is why you feel good in your job. The answer is that if a job is indeed your right livelihood, that’s because it fits you; you like it, you enjoy it, you get satisfaction from it, and it feels fulfilling and useful. And at some level it is in line with who and what you are at the level of your deepest values. In other words, it is not fulfilling or expressing the shadow parts of your personality. This will tell you more about what is the shadow.

And beyond all that, your right livelihood is the way in which you can express your soul purpose. For me, my soul purpose has been to bring men and women together in conscious relationship. For my consultant, who helped me with so many of the concepts in this book, it has been to  work as a shadow work facilitator. And having fulfilled that part of his life purpose or mission, he has moved on to working with people who want to know how to train as a shadow work facilitator. With his help, we will look at the question of soul purpose more closely in the next post.