My interview today is with David Borchard, Ed.D. NCC, a licensed professional counselor career management consultant with 30 years of experience helping adults identify their passions and develop a vision for the next phase of their lives. He specializes in career management coaching and life/work transition counseling and has helped thousands of adults regenerate their careers. Dr. Borchard is also the author of three books: “Your Career Planner”, “Will The Real You Please Stand UP?” (He’s not talking about multiple personalities here), and “The Joy of Retirement.” Oh, and he’s also my father-in-law! Sometimes I forget I have such an accomplished relative, but interestingly enough our worlds are starting to collide a bit, as a few readers have told me they have worked with him, and one of his colleagues reads Beyond Blue!
Note: If you are a professional counselor or certified career coach and would like to review the Passion Revealer, you may contact [email protected] to receive a complimentary pass for the assessment. Also, for more details about the Passion Revealer visit: http://passion.career.com.
Question: How does a person go about identifying their passion and skills? If you were to outline five steps to finding your “real self” what would they be?
David Borchard: They key to finding your passion is to seek it from the inside out rather than outside in. We’re like human batteries in that some activities energize you while others drain you. You don’t get to choose what charges or discharges your energy as you came pre-wired into our world with certain potentials and interest proclivities. What you can do, however, is to identify what it is that strongly engages your interests and potentials and commit to doing those things.
The word “passion” is, I believe, the best way to describe the source of energizing potential that is a unique attribute of every individual. I see passion as a special gift given to each of us through the miracle of birth. In order to gain its benefits, however, you need to be put words to this gift in a way that enables you to actualize the potential of its power. While doing that can be exceedingly difficult, it is very possibly the only way of becoming and being your “real self.”
Here are five steps that can lead to recognizing and applying your passion:
Identify the sources of your passion by recalling activities from past experiences that you thoroughly enjoyed and charged your “batteries.” Those could be specific things from your work, learning, leisure, or volunteer activities. Activities which sourced your passion in the past are clues to what could tap your passion in the future. You might also find the Passion Revealer assessment to be a quick and helpful way of identifying you top interests areas (available at www.VisionTrac.com).
2. Strength Identification.
Look for themes in those “energizers” identified in the above step for clues to defining your passion and your marketable assets. You might, for example, have thoroughly enjoyed and been energized in self-expressive writing, mentoring younger people, researching historical events, creatively solving a perplexing problem, or giving talks to groups. Reflecting upon these kinds of activities can help you discover your passion-based strengths. A strength, as I define the term, is the place where your talent connects with your deep-seated interests.
3. Generate Ideas.
Brainstorm ideas for how and where your interests might meet a need and put your strengths to work. Expand your possible options by developing a list of thirty or more creative ideas. Engage others in the brainstorming process as two or more minds always generate more and better ideas than an individual thinking alone.
Narrow down your list of options to your best three or four and explore those through research and personal contact. Google and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (available at http://www.bls.gov/OCO) are excellent Internet-based resources for research. Your local librarian can also be helpful as well as, and especially, talking to people doing the kinds of things of interest to you.
5. Visualize and Market.
Imagine yourself engaged in activities that connect with your passion-based strengths and develop a resume that markets the strengths you wish to feature in your future. Doing these two things, along with developing a network of contacts, is a powerful way of preparing yourself for moving forward in a new direction.
Note: For help with these steps you may find my book “Will The Real You Please Stand UP? Find Passion in Your Life & Work,” if your looking to change careers or more fully take advantage of your strengths in work and leisure. If you’re a fifty-pluser in a retirement planning stage “The Joy or Retirement: Finding the Happiness, the Freedom and the Life You’ve Always Wanted” engages you in a process of reinventing a meaningful and vitalizing new life.