No matter how accomplished some people are with their cubicle jobs, they are somehow trapped in a void that keeps them thinking whether or not they made the right decisions in choosing their professions. Linda Clay, a business and lifestyle strategist, shares some useful tips on how you can figure out your passion and what you really like to achieve in life and in business.
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Identifying Your Passion with Linda Clay
I have with me Linda Clay and she is a holistic business coach. Linda, welcome to our show.
Thanks, Sam. I’m so excited to be here.
You help people transition from the standard corporate job, Journey of the Broke, to finding out who they are and what their passion is. Tell me a little bit about how you do that.
I connect with people that are at that point in their life where they basically wake up one day and they look out the window and go, “There’s got to be more than this, the 9 to 5 gray cubicles. People telling me when to take a break and when to take lunch.” They’re just ready and they’re bursting to dive into themselves and figure out what it is that they would like to do. I take them through a process of looking at all their skills, all their achievements and all those things that they do so naturally. People are always going, “How do you do that? I can’t do that,” because those are the gifts they were given. We’d go through a whole long process of creating the lifestyle they want first and then taking everything and putting it and building a business around all that.
It’s interesting because I’ve got college-aged kids and I’m listening to the messages I’ve given them and it’s all, “Get good grades, get into a good school, get more good grades and then get a job.” I keep telling my kids, “Take some time off and find yourself.” That message of, “A good job is going to save you,” I think is still prevalent now.
In fact, I look at my grandchildren who are in middle school and the stuff that they are giving them and the type of work they’re giving them and the expectations are huge. It’s propelling them on a path of, “I’ve got to be perfect. I’ve got to do these great grades. I’ve got to get into the best college. I’ve got to do all these things.” It’s not tapping into who they are and what their strengths are.The gut reaction is your intuition. It's your inner self telling you, 'Wait, this isn't right.' Click To Tweet
I was blessed because I started out as an electrical engineer. Very early in my career, I was able to look at the people that were about 30 years ahead of me in that business and they were all on their second or third marriage and none of them seem happy. That’s when I started searching going, “Why would I give you another 30 years of my life doing this?”
In my era, my parents were always the ones that did jobs up until the retirement age. They got their gold watch and then they sat at home going, “Now what?” I refuse to do that. I looked at my own path. I lost my husband several years ago and that drove home to me how precious life is and how we should be on a trajectory to get to know ourselves and use our passions to serve the world. To make it a better place instead of going down the materialistic, “What did you say the job had to put that was great?” Doing something that is meaningful to us that is also meaningful to the world.
We have mostly heart-based entrepreneurs. What would you tell them as far as growing their business and what you’ve learned about matching that innate gift you have, that thing that you do so easily with your business? What are some of the tips and traits that you’ve seen in your coaching?
When you’re looking at yourself, a lot of the times people can’t figure out what it is that they do well because they do it so naturally. I always recommend a tip is to ask your friends or ask your followers, “What do you see in me?” People see in us something that we don’t see in ourselves. That’s a good starting point to look at, “I do these things well and then what can I do with that?” Take your job experience, your achievements and go, “I like to do this type of work. How can I incorporate the two and put them together and create a business around that?” It could be coaching. It could be social media marketing. Some people have a great knack for social media doing the graphics and they’re talented that way. Some could be developing your own Etsy business. You’re a tremendous talent and you can create beautiful watercolor business cards, but you just have never thought of doing that because people have cocooned that artistic part of you.
For me, it took me a long time to realize that I was very gifted in math. I thought everyone did complex calculations in their head. I thought that was normal, but I do think what we have understated is find fulfillment in what you do. Find yourself in what you do and make that impact. I do feel like when we go in there to punch in a clock or to do a task without that need to make an impact and serve, you still come out feeling empty. What do you think?
I totally agree. In fact, I will mention to my following when I’m doing Facebook Lives or whatever or my clients, “What brings you joy?” If you’re doing something because you feel you have to. If you’re building a business and part of it is something everybody tells you you need to have in your business, but it doesn’t bring you joy, then don’t do it. I remember those days in corporate where I’d sit there and it was automatic. You would punch in, you’d sit down at your desk and do your job. Half the time, I never took a break or lunch and I worked through all day and I go home. There was no joy. I was on autopilot. I am passionate about people getting off of autopilot and learning themselves and bringing it out to the world.
I think you hit the nail on the head there. We do live in autopilot because it’s so easy to let the subconscious guide us. For you, you had a wake-up call with the life event. How do you get out of autopilot when you don’t have a wake-up call? I tell some of the people I work with, “Don’t wait for that jarring experience.”
I recommend that people do meditate and do a journal. If they are artistic, then they draw. Any of those things that bring them within themselves, help them center back to who they are and start listening. Society has forgotten about the gut reaction. The gut reaction is your intuition. It’s you, your inner self telling you, “This isn’t right.” It can be in any circumstance. It can be around a person, it can be in a job. You need to listen to yourself. What happens is because we’re on autopilot so much, we don’t slow down enough to hear ourselves anymore. I think that’s the start. You have to listen and spend time with yourself.
The other thing is I think there is stigmatism of going against the grain. My saying was always, “If you follow the herd, you just spend your whole life looking at someone else’s behind.” It’s like, “This is a good life. You’ve got a good job as an engineer and you’ve got a Master’s and got this and that.” Do your clients sometimes feel there’s stigmatism where you’re letting go of this great job with all the benefits and the salary and now you’re going to do what?
I’ve had people tell me that and it was like, “They’re not walking in your shoes. They’re not living your life. They’re not stressed out and depressed because you’re not fulfilling yourself.” It’s getting back to the fact that we need to put ourselves first. There’s nothing wrong with that. People say, “That’s selfish.” It’s not. If you are happy and a person is happy with what they’re doing, then their family and their friends will pick up on that and then all of a sudden the whole environment changes. It’s not stressed out. It’s not yelling and screaming. You bring up peace to the household when you’re happy with yourself.
When you got your oxygen mask on, you can give oxygen to the rest of the whole plane. You go walk around in a crisis as everyone else. With women, there’s a little more stigmatism as far as following the rules. What are some of the techniques you use for them to maybe overcome some of the social stigmatisms of women succeeding? As you said, take care of yourself, “That’s selfish, Linda. Why are you telling me to do that?”
One of the things that I key in on is to work with them to understand that there is no such thing as perfect. Women are raised to be perfect. They’re on this trajectory from childhood all the way up that, “You need to be perfect. You reach it, that’s where you’re going to go.” We’re already putting in a position of not being able to reach those expectations. I don’t believe in failure. Failure is just a lesson in life.We don't slow down enough to hear ourselves anymore because we're on autopilot so much. Click To Tweet
If you’re striving for perfection, you’re going to be getting these lessons quite a lot.
You’re perfect the way you are. If you look out in nature, nothing in nature is perfect. Not by the word in definition. We talk about whose voice is telling you that because we have our first zero to seven years, we take in most of the information that we run our life by. Is it my mom’s voice telling me that I should be living this way or is it my own voice telling me? To help them learn to separate out those voices that are telling me, “This is society’s expectation, my parents’ expectation, the teacher’s expectation or do I feel that way?” We do a lot of that inner work.
The first seven years, we’re just jumping around meeting everyone’s expectations. Linda, how do people find out more about you?
We have been talking with Linda Clay. If you are ready to stop the corporate rat race and find yourself, or even if you’re in a business and you want to make more joy and find your purpose in the business, then she is the person you want to be dealing with. This is Sam Mak. We love your five-star reviews and be sure to subscribe so we can keep in touch with you. You can also find us at Facebook at #Heartrepreneurs with Terri Levine and find out more about me, Diversity and Inclusion for College Kids at www.SpeakerAuthorMotivator.com.
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About Linda Clay
I’m Linda Clay and I help women who are stuck, not happy but have inside a burning knowledge that there’s so much more to life to reignite their dreams so they can live life with passion.
My graduating year of high school, I got pregnant – in an era where nice girls didn’t do that. Unlike what society wanted me to think about myself, I wasn’t a bad girl – I just made a mistake.
Shut away in an unwed mothers home, the choices I had to make were my own.
Holding my baby daughter for the first and last time before she was whisked away for adoption was a stark introduction to the responsibilities of being an adult in a confusing and complicated world.
I could barely comprehend the enormity of what had happened, or what was necessary to get past it and move on. But I did.
Despite the many ups and downs, I want to be clear that, while tumultuous, my life has not been a negative one. I’m grateful for the many blessings that have come my way – a fulfilling career, wonderful marriage, my beautiful grandchildren, many remarkable experiences and my own personal courage – which has been sorely tested at times.