Archives – October, 2009
“Intuition teaches us from within. It is our unerring guide. In our heart there is the hint of the next step. You must remain attentive and receptive to all possibilities, even possibilities that don’t seem logical to you at the moment. It may be something simple, such as making a phone call or having the idea to set up an appointment with someone. Intuition is a great tool in your profession and in your life. It will give you a sense of who you can trust, who is ethical, who has your best interests at heart and who you should avoid altogether.” Excerpt from Professional Destiny—Discover the Career You Were Born For
Have you ever gone against your gut and made a hiring decision that sooner or later came back to bite you? Or gotten burned in a business deal because you ignored that little clause in the contract that nagged at you, and signed it anyway? Did you feel that deep down you knew better, but you did it regardless because all the “data” said it was the right thing to do?
Hiring based on resume, MBA and “qualifications” alone is only one part of the equation. That’s the stuff that looks good on paper. But looking good on paper doesn’t cover someone’s work ethic, ability to make the right decision under pressure or think out of the box—sometimes all it means is that they are great at taking tests.
In Professional Destiny, I talk about the difference between “head” and “heart.” Head—is the home of our rational thought and logic. Heart—is the home of our intuition (some also call it our gut). It is the source of our inspiration and guides us to new possibilities that would not be found by logic or planning.
In the workplace, intuition is especially useful for making all-important employee hiring decisions, or for choosing a business partner. For example, during the interviewing process some people are polished interviewers and present themselves well, but then turn out to be much less impressive when they’re on the job. Others are less polished, but you have an inexplicable sense they will be great contributors on a day-to-day basis. Often it all comes down to intuition. It’s an inexplicable sense that you have, but you often can’t pinpoint the reason.
When meeting with a person, if you suspect a possible flaw, note it, and don’t rationalize it away. Ask yourself if it is something you could live with. Keep two lists – one of qualifications (rational) and one of impressions (intuition). As I have practiced this technique over the years, I have found that my impressions almost always prove to be accurate (even more so than the “qualifications”). In fact, when I intuit the weakness (lack of eye contact at important questions, or a trace of defensiveness) it almost always plays out in bigger ways later. The only unpredictable variable seemed to be my judgment of how much, or how little, that “weakness” would impact the person’s performance in that particular role.
We are given the gifts of rationality and intuition, head and heart. Rationality helps us with survival, intuition helps us with breakthroughs that are genuine, unique and fresh. Having too much in the head, is just a cause for headaches! Find the harmony in the combination of head and heart, and you’ll uncover the most powerful mix.
October 19, 2009
Trevor Romain telling his story
At my book signing in Austin last Thursday, Trevor Romain (bestselling children’s author, speaker and TV personality whose story is featured in my book) made a comment during his talk about moving from his career in advertising to becoming an author of children’s books. He said he had “grown tired of trying to sell things to people that they didn’t need” and decided to do something that made a difference.
This spurred a lively discussion afterward with a close friend who asked me, “What if your ‘professional destiny’ is in something like advertising?” What if you’re meant to be the world’s best creative director and you get great joy from that? Are you making a judgment that you need to leave everything behind and go change the world?
It’s a great question. But, the answer could be different for each one of us.
My premise in Professional Destiny is that we all have natural gifts—things we are uniquely good at and love to do—and that we are happiest when these gifts are expressed and shared. There is nothing like the feeling of tapping into our gifts every day and applying them to something that we feel is genuinely making a difference.
This brings me to the subject of “career dissonance.” If you are in a profession, feeling great joy and are in line with your values, that’s awesome—keep going—full steam ahead!! You could be a trash collector feeling that you’re cleaning the earth while supporting your family, a lawyer representing people who genuinely need help or in advertising, promoting something that you believe in—it really doesn’t matter. But, if you are in a profession and you feel dissonance between your gifts, values and what you are being asked to do—then change is needed.
Using advertising as an example: Let’s say you are very health-conscious and only eat natural, organic foods. You work in an agency, loving what you do, until suddenly you are assigned to the new fast-food account that your agency just won (like Wendy’s or Dairy Queen). At this point you encounter career dissonance. You have amazing creative gifts and you love to apply them, but you’re at odds with working on this account. An option for you might be to ask to be assigned somewhere else or, if that’s not possible, change agencies and work on an account that resonates with you. If you apply your magnificent talents to a company who sells products you believe in (like a local, organic market or Whole Foods), you can experience tremendous joy.
Bottom line: if you’re doing what you love and believe in, and getting to practice your gifts every day, then go for it—there is no career dissonance happening in your world!
October 8, 2009
One of my greatest joys is to meet people who are wholeheartedly embarking on their Professional Destiny—and Noi Wegiel is clearly one of them! Noi is the creator of exquisitely hand-crafted, Austin-made natural chocolate treats & delights. Each and every piece of her decadent chocolate is truly a work-of-art, with a pairing of flavors that is unforgettably delightful. She uses the finest ingredients mother nature has to offer and many of her products are organic, raw, sugar-free and gluten-free (although for the hard-core sugar enthusiasts, some are still sinful!). In addition, she holds a commitment to using ingredients from sustainable suppliers, and supports organic and natural living. Truly this is a case where you need to taste to fully experience her chocolate magic, but it’s fascinating and inspiring to hear Noi’s Professional Destiny story until that wonderful moment:
“I’m from Thailand, and I moved to the United States when I was 17. When I arrived here, I didn’t know how to cook at all. Because I didn’t speak English very well, the only job I could get was in the kitchen at a cafeteria-type restaurant. They put me in the pastry department and I learned—on the job—how to bake. Soon, I got interested in cakes. Every time I made a cake in the restaurant, I thought to myself, ‘this could be prettier.’ To learn more, I bought a book on sale about cake decorating. I was fascinated by learning the technique, but the book was from England and they used fondant (sugar paste) to cover the cake to make it smooth and beautiful. I couldn’t immediately find anyone here to teach me how to use fondant (I learn best by watching), but after a few years, I found someone to teach me how to professionally cover the cake and make the gorgeous, life-like flowers. After that, things seemed to take off. I believe that once the student’s ready, the teachers show up. I was so hungry (no pun intended) to learn more! I started finding tons of teachers who taught me how to decorate cakes, and within three years I became the teacher.
A number of years ago I had another turning point. I needed surgery and had to stay in bed for six weeks. Because I was bedridden, I couldn’t do anything but watch TV and read books. I read a book that changed my life—it was called “Sugar Blues.” It talked about how sugar affects people and is the cause of several medical problems. It was then that I started looking for classes to teach the healthy version of making beautiful desserts—and I become the student once again.
I studied conscious eating and built an awareness of using quality ingredients in the foods I prepare. I started checking labels and using organic and local sustainable ingredients whenever possible. The struggle I faced was that I had perfected the art of making pastries with traditional ingredients such as eggs, butter, milk, sugar, etc., but I still needed some work on how to make the new, healthy way taste even better. Not to mention that my friends and family thought it was weird to make desserts this way and didn’t really understand my quest!
I overcame the taste challenge by experimenting. I don’t tend to follow rules and this gives me creative power. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it works, I duplicate it. I record all of my successes and they become my recipes. Now all my chocolates are made with organic ingredients and most have delicious natural sweeteners such as agave and maple syrup.
My passion started with baking and pastry, then it changed to cake decorating, then food carvings and then chocolate. I’ve always believed that God wanted us to do whatever our passion is. We all have a unique ability and now my passion is chocolate and raw food. I love to eat good chocolate. I love creating it and discovering the way ingredients combine together to make something delicious, beautiful and tasty. My joy comes from seeing people light up when they eat something I create and when they ask, “how did you do that?!” Most of all, I know it’s healthier than what they can typically buy in the stores.
Most people do meditation while sitting and quieting their mind, I do mine in the kitchen. I tune into whatever I’m doing—preparing food, making cakes and pastries, and especially chocolate!
My advice to others is that it doesn’t matter what you do, just do it. You have to believe and do it with your heart. For each person it’s different—be responsible, but do what moves you. If you think something is your passion, go with it. If it works out, that’s great; if not, make a change and try again. Do what you love and savor life’s sweet moments.”
A sampling of Noi’s “heavenly bites” will to be available at my book signing tonight at BookPeople. Come and experience the bliss for yourself.
October 1, 2009