Category Archives: Career

Clarify Career Decisions in a Sea of Possibilities


“How can I become confident about re-entering the work force as a professional  after being out of it for three years? I can’t decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. It’s nice to have choices, which I do, but they overwhelm me …. which direction do I choose?” ~Anonymous Reader Question

Do you feel like you are drowning in a sea of too many career options? You want to find an island to inhabit – your spot among the sea of career possibilities.

When I’m overwhelmed by a wide-open question, it helps me to break up the vast sea of options with smaller net-size questions.

5 Questions to Clarify Your Career Path:

Answer the questions that are swimming at your feet and narrow  your career options.

  • What are your strengths? List your natural talents. Examples: empathy, listening, drawing, researching, organizing, etc.
  • What skills do you possess? Or what skills are you willing to learn? Examples: computer programs, web design, public speaking, written communication, carpentry, etc.
  • What are your interests? Identify topics that you would love to read or talk about all night. It may be how you would like to do your part in making the world a better place.
  • What work environments do you prefer? Identify what working conditions you prefer: standing or sitting? variety or repetitive? people or tasks? outdoor or office? self-employed or employee?
  • What careers would be a good fit for you? Look for ways that your strengths, skills, and interests intersect with possible work environments. At this intersection, lies a handful of careers that are the best match for you.

Here’s how my answers to these questions intersect to shine light on my career path. My strengths are empathic listening and research with skills in written and oral communication. I am interested in coaching others to reach their goals, and I prefer to work with people, on a variety of topics, and be my own boss. Thus, my career goal (since I was 18-years old) has been to become a self-employed psychotherapist.

4 Career Search Resources:

I’ve discovered I’m a rarity and most most people don’t have laser sharp focus on their career path. And many change their mind after riding a few waves in their originally chosen field.

Here are a few resources to help you clarify, focus, and narrow down the career path of your dreams (and for this season of your life):

  1. Discover Your Passion: A comprehensive, step-by-step guide designed to help you uncover your passion and live a purposeful life. 116 page workbook for self-discovery and focused action, covering personality types, skills, values, roadblocks, and making your own road map.
  2. Work Personality Inventory: A simple career inventory developed by John Holland. Based on his research and classification system of work environments, the inventory suggests college majors and career paths that fit your work personality.
  3. Occupational Outlook Handbook: A research tool for exploring career options developed by the U.S. Department of Labor. The OOH reports and projects salary, working conditions, related fields, and education needed. It is available online and in most library reference sections.
  4. Career Counselors: Most community colleges and universities have career centers where you can take career inventories and exploration classes. You can also meet with a career counselor to discuss your results.

Make a Decision with Confidence:

Ultimately, you have the freedom to choose what works best for you and your season of life. Remember there is no wrong decision, only your best decision.

What’s helps you make decisions? Or, what keeps you stuck? If you are still stuck after answering the questions swimming around your feet, consider consulting a career coach or individual counselor. You can be the master of your sea of possibilities.

What helps you find direction and focus as you ride the waves of your career path?


Telephone Consultations available soon for those looking for more interactive approach to answering life’s biggest and toughest questions.

Related Posts: 5 Choices that Ignite Passionate Work; Turn the Recession into an Opportunity

Photo Credit: “Big Island” by Paul (Dex) Bica

Unmask Your Identity in a Diverse World


Who are you? How do you define yourself?

Recently, one of my readers sent me this question:

“(I am) struggling in a culture/society that tells us what we ‘do’ (careers) defines who we are when jobs are often deeply unsatisfactory. How do we get beyond this definition of self while continuing to live in a world that endorses it?”

I think this reader has answered the question without realizing it. To live with differences but not let others define you is a powerful way to liberate oneself.

I have been going against the norm, by not working full time while my children are young. I have one more year before both kids are in school full time. As it gets closer, the tug to make more money and work more hours gets stronger.

I am proud that I have been able to maintain my counseling practice on a part-time basis, while also being home with my kids. I haven’t let others define me or what is best for my family.

Are you feeling trapped by someone else’s definition of who you ought to be? It’s time to free your identity without having to turn your back to others.

How Do We Free An Identity Crisis?

  • Be dependent without letting it define you.  We are all dependent on our jobs for income, but we don’t have to let them define us. Not all jobs answer a calling or passion, but they are each important and valuable. My work is an extension of me, but it is not me.
  • Expand your definition of yourself. I used to define myself narrowly by my accomplishments. Now, I recognize myself with all of my colorful, imperfect parts too. Expand your definition of who you are by finding ways outside of work to express your life’s passion and interests.
  • Let go of fear and unmask yourself. Let others know you as you learn about them too. You may find more similarities with others than differences. Find others to connect with who share similar interests or hobbies.

An Exercise to Expand Your Self-Definition

I’m going to lead you through an exercise to unmask yourself and expand your definition of yourself. Complete it in private or share it in the comments, but most importantly share yourself with others, even if it’s different.

How to Write a Biopoem
(Line 1) First name
(Line 2) Three or four adjectives that describe the person
(Line 3) Important relationship (daughter of . . . , mother of . . . , etc)
(Line 4) Two or three things, people, or ideas that the person loved
(Line 5) Three feelings the person experienced
(Line 6) Three fears the person experienced
(Line 7) Accomplishments (who composed . . . , who discovered . . . , etc.)
(Line 8: Two to three things the person wanted to see happen/ to experience
(Line 9) His or her residence
(Line 10) Last name

Author of Liberating Choices Unmasked


Organizer, encourager, acceptor

Married to John, mother of two

Loves to encourage change, watch relationships patterns, and learn how others overcome adversity

Who feels inspiration from all of my senses, joy when people learn new things, and peace when creating space for myself.

Who fears trying to do too much and missing what is right in front of me. Who fears not living up to my potential. Who fears losing loved ones before I’m ready.

Who created a blog about taking small steps for big change. Who discovered ways to improve my health through relating to myself and others in a new way.

Who wants to experience traveling to another country and sharing a book written by myself.

Born and lives in Missouri


It’s your turn to share how you define yourself in a diverse world.

“Digging deep, I feel my conscience burn.
I need to know who and what I am.
This hunger jolts me from complacency.
Rocks me, makes me meet myself.” ~ Closer to Myself, Kendall Payne


Related Posts:

Photo Credit: “One Moment in Time” by Dar’ya Sipyeykina

Give Uncertainty a Chance to Bloom


“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~E. M. Foster

I’m a planner. I make lists and goals. I’m in to details. And, I love to finish projects. Wasting time and leaving things undone is very hard for me.

But this year, I decided to give uncertainty a chance. To be creative, I need to invite any direction my writing takes me. So, I defined my writing goal oddly this year: “to see where my writing takes me.”

Embracing Uncertainty

Would a goal like this drive you nuts? Or, do you wish that you could let go and let be more often? I’ve always been someone who likes every question answered before I move forward on a decision. For me, embracing uncertainty is new territory.

It’s a work in progress, but I feel freer not having all the answers. I strive to observe life’s unfolding with wonder and curiosity. Learning to adjust to what is, instead of waiting for what if.

Observing What Blooms

If I would have waited to be a great writer, or to know everything about blogging, I would have never opened the door to this opportunity. Instead, I jumped into the land of uncertainty, learning as I go, and launched Liberating Choices a year ago on August 9, 2010:

I’m surprised that I have written over 50 blog posts over the past year. And, I’m excited to still have many ideas that are waiting to sprout and grow. To help me celebrate my blogging birthday, I am recognizing the blooms by sharing my favorite posts.

My 10 Favorite Posts Written for Liberating Choices:

My Favorite Posts Written for Other Blogs:

Are you experiencing uncertain times? I hope you find inspiration here to give bloom to your situation. Each of us have more learning, discovery, and territory to explore. So, embrace uncertainty and observe the blooms along the way.

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” ~Gilda Radner

When is uncertainty a blessing in disguise?


Have a story to share where your choices are liberating you? I would love to share your story this month. Pitch your idea here.

Photo Credit: Marci Payne