When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, most of them choose pretty standard answers: doctor, rock star, fireman or teacher. Not many will say “I want to be a tarot reader.” If someone would have told me that I’d be working as a professional tarot reader and writing a book about it, I would have thought that they were pulling my chain. I too had different ideas on what I’d be doing when I was young (make up artist, artist, cook, journalist, therapist, muse to a rock star). Besides, I never thought that someone could actually make a living doing something as odd (and cool) as reading cards.
But I had a knack for it – and a roaring passion.
That didn’t mean it turned into a career right off the bat. In fact, I’d like to say that my career happened “by accident” after a winding journey through a few odd jobs. It was always something that I did on the side, often at my “day job” when I was bored. Finally the day came when I was making better money reading tarot than working at the bar – so I left and never looked back.
I’ve been doing my work for 25 years and I’m still as crazy about it as I was when I first picked up a deck 35 years ago. I feel blessed beyond belief because I found my calling – the work that I was meant to do.
I’m not the only one who didn’t have a clear idea right out the gate of what I might do for a living. Many people are just like me: going from job to job, testing different things until they find a passion that sticks – or staying in a job they hate because they are fearful of going for what they really want. And for spiritual entrepreneurs? The path is often really twisty like a little labyrinth because it’s just not a “typical” vocation. This work “finds us.”
How do you find your calling? What is the best way to discover the work that you are born to do?
If you’ve been wandering around, trying to figure out what you should be doing – or how to actually begin switching from a job you’re no longer loving to doing your passion work, then you’re going to love Born For This, the new book from Chris Guillebeau. This is THE manual on how to find your calling and go for it (in the smartest way possible).
In Born For This, Chris has created an inspiring and practical step-by-step guide that will help you transition from a job that drains your life-force to meaningful work that fuels your spirit and pays well. This isn’t some “get rich quick” manual – instead, it’s a book with clever strategies, actionable tools, real-life stories, and straight-up advice. Whether you are thinking of leaving your day job to build your own business, trying to gather the courage to apply for that dream job, or just looking to make your side hustle a profitable gig, this is the essential guidebook that will show you how to do just that.
Chris recently took a few minutes to talk with me about the book, intuition, and how to find the work that you are meant to do. Check out our conversation below:
Q: How do you define a “calling” and does a calling always have to do with a career?
Chris: For the past ten years I’ve worked with people from many different walks of life who are all pursuing some form of alternative work. They share a common goal: to spend their working hours doing something that’s meaningful, not just something that allows them to survive and subsist.
My new book is all about helping as many people as possible find the work they were meant to do—which some people view as a calling. Others, however, can get hung up on the word “calling,” so if you prefer, think of it as mission, vocation, or whatever word you like.
The point is that there’s something special out there for you. Whether you create it or wait for it to come to you is a whole other philosophical question. My message is: whatever it is, do everything you can to find it.
Q: On page 58, you mention: “We make decisions based on intuition, and we tend to make the same mistakes over and over.” Can you tell me how intuition can be beneficial in our career choices – and/or detrimental?
Chris: I try to share lessons and strategies that are very practical, so at first impression intuition might not have a role in that world. However, intuition and practicality are not opposing values. Here’s an example: at the end of any given workday or shift, make a short list of a) the things that gave you energy and made you feel alive, and b) the things that drained your energy and made you feel lifeless.
Then, as you make career decisions large and small (everything from “what should i do for lunch?” to “am I happy in this job?”), consider how the outcomes will affect what you now know to be true about yourself.
This is an intuitive-based practice (“how do you feel about….”) that is also very practical.
Q: Let’s talk about side hustle: many people in spiritual industries work a straight job for the benefits and security – but they do their passion project on the side. What is your advice to someone who wants to take a side hustle into a full time gig?
Chris: Not every side hustle should be a full-time gig. The key point about a side hustle is that is produces disproportionate confidence and security. I’ve seen this over and over. A side hustle allows you take more risks and consider alternatives.
But that doesn’t really answer your question. My advice to someone who wants to grow a side hustle is a bit more workbook-focused. Let’s not just follow intuition for a decision like that; let’s take a hard look at the numbers and see if the full-time focus makes good sense. There are measurable, objective ways to get those answers, which should be helpful in accompanying whatever stirrings you feel.
Q: Is it possible to have more than one path? What are your thoughts about pivoting when you feel called to a new direction?
Chris: Short answer: yes.
Longer answer: even though the new book is called Born for This, I don’t necessarily believe that everyone has one single thing they are supposed to do. The title refers more to the general concept of finding the kind of work you were meant to do, which can involve a variety of scenarios.
As for pivoting, I am pro-pivot. In the manifest destiny, capitalist culture of America (which isn’t all bad, to be clear), we tell people “never give up” far too often. If something isn’t working and you want a new direction, move on! Life is short.
Q: I love your advice in chapter 10 about being the “indispensable employee”. What about those of us who are self employed? How can we be the indispensable entrepreneur?
Chris: Being an indispensable employee is all about increasing your value in the workplace. You do this by mastering the art of follow-through, finding ways to make the company more money (even if that’s not your primary role), and generally being pro-active.
So if you want to be the indispensable entrepreneur, well, first look at who you are ultimately serving with your work. How can you get better in your follow-through for them? How can you improve those people’s lives? And again—how can you be proactive? Most entrepreneurs will start more than one business in their lives. It’s important to stay up-to-date on changing strategies and networks.
Q: What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever been given – and what’s the best career advice you’ve given someone else?
Chris: “You’d be a good accountant.” (I would be a terrible accountant, and even if I was a good one, I’m pretty sure I’m much happier doing what I’m doing now.)
As for the best advice *I’ve* given, that’s a hard one. It’s really for other people to judge something like that. And to be clear, I’ve given some really bad advice, too. 🙂
Q: What’s the best way to deal with critics who try to throw salt on your game? (You know the ones I’m talking about – the ones who think your work is “too weird” or maybe just don’t like you + what you’re serving up.)
Chris: Haters gonna hate. Keep this classic advice from Ricky Gervais in mind: “Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.”
It also helps to remember all the people who do get it. Over time, they greatly outnumber the critics even when it doesn’t seem that way.
Q: What’s next for you?
Chris: At the moment I’m focused on my 30-city book tour to meet readers all across the U.S. and Canada. After that, we have another WDS to plan for. As for what follows, I’m still working on the specifics but I’m pretty sure it will always involve writing and working with communities one way or another.
Many thanks to Chris for taking time out of his book tour to share his thoughts with my readers.
If you’re looking for your dream work or really want to take your mystical business out into the world in the sanest way possible, get a copy of Born For This with quickness.
A little bit about Chris: Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup (I HIGHLY recommend this book if you are bootstrapping your spiritual business), and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2016
photos from Chris Guillebeau