Retirement is highly overrated. Most often when people imagine that they want to retire it is based on the idea that they no longer want to work–until they do retire. It turns out that what people really want is freedom… freedom from expectations, demands, and pressure. People want freedom from all the “have-to” activities. The reason that the concept of retirement is so alluring is our definition of working. The problem is that if the work we do isn’t fulfilling it drives the idea of retirement as the ultimate destination, despite the fact that often retired people end up bored and lonely. Look at someone who loves their work and ask them when they want to retire. The key to life is loving what you do, not squandering life looking forward to the day you don’t have to work any longer.
CareerEco was founded on the principle that successful, happy people love what they do. It was also founded on the concept that every career should have its own unique eco-cycle that integrates Learning, Growing, and Giving Back at all times. Professionals with a sustainable CareerEco strategy are constant learners; pursue opportunities that stretch their skills; find ways to help others achieve their goals; and love what they do so they bloom where they are planted.
According to Parker Palmer, author of A Hidden Wholeness, one of life’s most profound questions in helping to evaluate whether you are doing the work that aligns with your natural gifts and deeper life purpose is to ask yourself what type of seed was planted when you were born. When I personally asked myself this question, I arrived at an answer that felt right immediately. Out of curiosity, I decided to ask my husband his opinion about what seed had been planted when I was born. Without any hints or prompting from me he said, “That’s easy – you are the Sunflower.” I was astounded that he said the exact answer that my heart had told me was the seed that represents the person I was meant to be. When I asked the CareerEco launch team what seed was planted when they were born, one member shared that he was an Oak. He is an intellectually strong, loyal, consistent, and supportive individual. He is someone you know you can count on in rain and shine to shelter you from life’s storms. The moment he said this, it resonated so clearly. It further enhanced my understanding of his professional value and the value of his friendship as well.
Without going into the details of what I individually ascribe to the Sunflower, it’s more important to know that this metaphor has become a powerful guiding principle for me professionally. It reminds me that when I am finding myself doing job-related functions that are not aligned with my natural self, I become disgruntled or dissatisfied. I also find that I am less effective, and therefore my self-worth is negatively impacted. If you take the time to ask yourself this question, and listen closely to that inner voice, you may find some wisdom that will help you move toward career opportunities that will allow for your most authentic expression of your self and your talents. Once you arrive in the kind of job where your gifts and your career are in a well-balanced eco-cycle, I believe you will reap the harvest of the seed you were planted to be and love your life in every season.
Remember Be who you were intended to Be.