Food For Thought

Ask Sean: Can Everyone Really Pursue Their True Passion In Life?

Photo by Stephen Poff

I received this question from a reader and thought it would be interesting to give my answer, but also share with other readers.

Q: Can everyone really pursue their true passion in life? If this were the case, you'd have an influx of people pursuing the same careers (rock star, athlete, pilot, actor, author, etc). Who would do the run-of-the-mill jobs that we need to keep our society running?

A: Great question. When I was a Radio DJ, I asked the morning host how he got into radio.

He said that many radio DJ's are actually "failed musicians" - meaning they originally tried to support themselves by being rockstars, but for a variety of reasons, couldn't quite make it. But, he said that being a radio DJ allows him to be involved in the same industry, interact with the same people, and cultivate his passion for music.

It made me think that we don't all have to be rockstars, because we might be equally as happy being the guy who hands the rockstar their guitar.

In theory, could everyone pursue their true passion in life? I don't know.

Might take some juggling to make it work. Though I've realized that there are many ways to pursue our passions, whether being involed in the industry in some way like this radio DJ, or looking to satisfy your passion outside of work.

Got a question for Sean? Send it to

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Generation We Is Coming

[hattip This Buried Life]

Are you prepared for the Generation We revolution? According to the above video, it's coming - hot on the heels of the cynicism that permeated the 90's.

It's no longer cool not to care. The coming generation has realized the stakes are too high to leave in others' hands. They've decided to get involved. To use our power and opportunity to change the old paradigm.

In many ways, this is what One Week Job is all about. With respect paid to our parents for creating a cushion of stability, our goal is to redefine our relationship to work.

The old thinking says, "Work has to be hard. It's not meant to be enjoyable. You can do what you really want when you're retired."

The new thinking says, "Work and passion are not mutually exclusive. Life is not retirement. Life is right now."

Check the Generation We for more info and download the free e-book.

Living The Map: Daniel Seddiqui Works 50 Jobs In 50 States

Living the MapFollowing in the footsteps of Sean's project, a new seeker is searching for his passion. Daniel Seddiqui is crossing the US, sampling different careers and cultures, and blogging about the experience on his site Living The Map.

In his own words, Daniel writes:

The objective is to travel all 50 states to work 50 different careers in 50 weeks. Sound Crazy? I'm on a mission to explore various careers, environments, and cultures that America has to offer. I will explore the lifestyle that each state has to offer by choosing one career per state; a career that is popular and represents that state.

While Sean's journey unrolled organically from week to week, Daniel has things a bit more prepared. He spent months leading up to his trip securing paid and non-paid positions (so far he's confirmed 35).

He's also up-front about his desire to chronicle his adventure in a book.

My inspiration to travel the country and work various careers comes from the people. Whenever I travel, I am intrigued where people live where they live and work where they work. Nothing is more appealing than the contrasts.

Daniel is now in Week 6 of his career journey. So far he's worked in a Mormon temple in Utah, as a rodeo announcer in South Dakota, a hydrologist in Colorado, and a Cartographer in North Dakota.

Congrats on taking the leap Dan! And best of luck on your journey.

A Revolution In Work Consciousness

CreativityThis comment was left by Izabella Tabarovsky, a career exploration and transition coach. I found it very interesting so thought that I would share. -----------

Hi Sean,

I can't tell you how much I'm inspired by your project and your message. Your statement in "My Generation" sounds like a manifesto I would sign a hundred times over! Really, wake up, people, realize that you were not supposed to waste your lives working in boring, soul-destroying jobs where you leave your spirit at home along with your values, passions, and creativity! There is more to life than that, and it is your responsibility to apply all the gifts you were given - not just the ones your company wants you to use for its own purposes.

This is a subject that really gets me going, because I've spent most of my life looking for that amazing feeling of connection in the work that I do - the feeling where work feels like play, where you can't wait to get up in the morning and get back to work, where you'd do what you're doing even if you weren't getting paid for it. I, too, tried out many different occupations and did a lot of soul-searching to discover who I was and what I had to contribute. Now, at 38, I finally have it, and I've made it my mission to help others find their true path.

One of my favorite authors, Marsha Sinetar, who wrote the bestselling career exploration classic "Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow," says: "Work needs to fit my personality just as shoes need to fit my feet, otherwise I'm destined for discomfort." And also: "Our right work is just as important to personality health and growth as the right nutrients are for our bodies."

I'd take it even further. In my view, our right work is an essential part of our spiritual growth. To search is more natural than not to search. It really is a part of being human. So to all of you who are still searching - don't give up! It's all part of the journey, pieces of the puzzle. One day they'll come together, and then you'll know that all was not in vain!

I've commented on your project on my blog for my readers, and I look forward to continuing to track your adventure. I really feel there is a quiet (or maybe not so quiet) revolution taking place in our society - a revolution in how we as a culture view work and our relationship with it. Your generation is definitely leading the way, and people who are older are beginning to wake up as well. As a career exploration and transition coach, I'm going to do all I can to help that along!

Izabella Tabarovsky

"You've Got To Find What You Love"

Steve Jobs (old school)Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, gave the 2005 commencement speech for Stanford University. It is quite insightful and I think re-assuring to those who find themselves in a similar situation to myself. You can find the entire speech here: Watch it or Read it

Here are the points that I will take away from it:

On connecting the dots;

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something â€" your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

On finding what you love;

"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

On our limited amount of time;

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything â€" all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose."

On listening to yourself;

"Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."



Long Weekends, Links, And Stuff

We finished up at the Hespeler Animal Hospital yesterday and are heading off to Montreal tomorrow. Louise treated Ian and I to lunch yesterday which was really kind of her. It was great to have some time to sit down and chat away from the hospital setting. animal-hospital-dog.gifWe spoke about her business, work-life balance, managing the level of professionalism with employees so not to risk the loss of authority or respect, having a positive attitude, and she told us about this cool cycling event she is participating in this September. It's to raise money for The Farley Foundation. Animal care can be quite expensive and The Farley Foundation helps seniors and disable persons on limited incomes pay for the necessary treatment of their pets. Louise is raising funds for the 100km bike ride, here is how to make a donation to help her out. Just say the donation is to support Dr. Louise Langlais, Hespeler Animal Hospital for the ride.

Next week is slightly different because my job starts on Thursday and goes to Monday. It is because I will be working with Roots Canada and helping out with their involvement in the Toronto International Film Festival. So, we are taking off to Montreal until next Wednesday, where hopefully we will be able to catch up on everything and get somewhat organized for what will be a busy next few weeks. If you are in town and want to meet up, give us a shout.

I wrote an article for that came out today, it has my 5 must read blog recommendations and I wrote a paragraph for each one in the article.

We will be in Toronto from Wednesday night to the following Monday and we are not too sure where we will be staying as of yet. Any ideas, send them our way!



Too few Dare to Search for the 'Perfect' Job

buildingsMark Anderson recently wrote a provocative column for the Ottawa Sun, examining Sean and the One Week Job project from a new angle. He writes:

"To a greater or lesser extent, we're all defined by what we do. Worse yet if we're not doing what we think we should be doing, if we're not "living up to our potential" (an angst-ridden phrase if ever there was one). Young people in particular struggle with issues of identity and career, of who they are and what they should be doing with their lives."

I believe this partly explains Sean's own decision to strike on the road, searching for that "perfect job" that could define who he is in life, and what he has accomplished.

But is Sean the guy to do it? As Mark continues:

"You can argue that Aiken is not an ideal role model for today's youngsters, that by age 25 he's no longer a child, but a man, and men work at careers, and careers, by definition, involved a degree of stick-to-it-ness and stamina, and sometimes even clenched jaws and indigestion."

That's not to say you should mistake arbitrary hard work for an inability to explore your options. Says Mark,

"If you graduate high school and know in your heart of hearts what it is you want to do with the rest of your life, by all means get on with it. Few, however, are in this rarefied position."

In the end, does anyone really find their purpose in life? And can it be combined with their passion? One reader defined the idea of purpose in a unique way, that certainly fits the idea for One Week Job:

"Like so many of us who believe we don’t know our “Purpose” and need to find it - our purpose truly is more of a guide or compass than an actual destination. "

What do you think about purpose and passion? Share your thoughts in the comments!

What Leads To Success?

I am currently in Vancouver for a good friends wedding this weekend. I am not working a One Week Job this week - Ian and I are trying to get things all organized to head out to Toronto this Sunday where we will start production of our new Internet TV Show. Here is something that Ian brought to my attention a while back that I thought was pretty cool.

There are so many definitions of the word success, and so I don't really like using the word too much. But, no matter how you define it, here is great video describing what some "successful" people have said on how they got to where they did.

We are always told these things, just a matter of starting to believe in it I guess.

My Career Coach Has A New Book

careerjoy-right-job.jpgMy career coach, Alan Kearns, has a new book that came out the end of last month. Alan is one of Canada’s foremost experts on all things relating to careers with more than 14 years of experience coaching people through successful career changes. His new book is called, "Get the Right Job, Right Now." It is a uniquely Canadian view on managing your career and blends in different tools, websites as well people's stories (such as Leonard Lee from Lee Valley tools, Diane Francis, among others).

If you visit the website, there is a draw for 50 copies of the book and the first chapter is also available to download.

Here is the link: "Get the Right Job, Right Now."

Here's To Not Settling!

Do you remember Erin who I met while I was working in Alberta a few weeks ago? Well, she sent me a quick email that said: "Hey Sean! So I quit my job on Monday (finally!!!) at 11:45am and at like 2pm I got a call for an interview for this job I applied for April 10th, had the interview today and got it an hour later!!! So I'm starting my passion next Monday and never settling again thanks to you! Cheers."

Great to hear Erin, go for it!


PS - If you haven't yet, make your promise today.

Surrendering To The Pooh

After trying to avoid it for the first 15 minutes, I realized quite quickly that there is just really no way around it; having cow manure all over your hands and occasionally splat on you is just part of the job. I call it "surrendering to the pooh." It is kind of like walking in the rain. We may try to avoid it for a bit, but if you are in it long enough and just commit to 'being' in the rain, it really doesn't matter anymore and you can then start enjoying yourself. So am I enjoying having cow manure all over me? Well, I wouldn't say enjoy, but it certainly doesn't bother me as much as it once did and allows me to focus on other things... such as not getting kicked in the face from a hoof or getting the right positioning of the milking suctions on the 'teets.' (maybe by Friday I will be able to say that word without a smirk, though I highly doubt it)

The meeting of farmers looking to convert their farms to produce organic milk Monday was pretty informative. I was able to learn a lot about the industry and advantages to organic farming. It was really interesting to see the different dynamic between people and what prevents some from moving forward with it. Some people were thinking more of the benefit to the environment, taking a more holistic approach whereas others were only interested in the bottom line and if they would make more money by doing so.

It made me think about consumer buying power in general, in that we as consumers have a much larger influence than we think. By demanding corporations to be more socially responsible/conscious in their practices, we create an associated benefit for companies to do so that will often help to increase their bottom line. So whether companies want to appear socially responsible because the market demands it and so are forced to, or if they genuinely would like to make a positive difference, at least we are moving in the right direction.

Be sure to check out 'Pledge Your Passion,' and if you agree, sign your name!


Make Your Promise Today

Shortly after graduating from college, I made a promise to myself: I will not settle for a career that I am not truly passionate about, I will not allow yearning for weekends and the illustrious two week vacation a year to define my life, I will be in a positive work place situation and I will love what I am doing.

I made a promise for passion and I think you should make that same promise today.

What exactly will this particular situation look like and how am I going to get there? I am not too sure, yet I believe it is far more important that we first start by making this commitment to ourselves, taking the leap wherever it leads, and find the courage to persevere in the face of our fears, self-doubt and uncertainty.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon

To me this "something" is our happiness, our well being, our choice, our life.

I think we would all agree that it is well worth it, yet many of us still choose to let this innate fear paralyze us and settle into comfortable, secure positions despite being unhappy in them. The encouraging thing is that every day is a new opportunity to change this.

Here is another one of those opportunities. Leave your name in the comments section below to make your promise today!

Meet Henri Ferguson - Lifelong Learner

The first day of my crash course to becoming a Yoga Instructor went very well. I haven’t done much yoga practice in my time and was quickly reminded that it is quite challenging and that I am definitely going to be sore by the time Friday comes around. I wonder how many people arrive to work on the first day with a suitcase full of clothes, their computer, and day pack all in hand? Well that was me yesterday. Just another typical Monday morning; time to make the transition into a new working environment, new challenges, new co-workers, new housing arrangement, all over again.

Week Seven - Yoga Instructor 026I was asked recently what skills I find to be the most consistently necessary through my jobs so far. I think that I would have to say ‘Transitional Skills.’ More on that in a post later this week, yet first I want to tell you about an amazing talk I had with Henri Ferguson, an incredible man and Yoga Instructor at Lotus Soul Gym, the Yoga Studio in Edmonton, Alberta where I am working for Week Seven.

I arrived at the studio around 11:00am. A class had just finished with no other classes scheduled for the afternoon. Henri greeted me warmly right away and we ended up talking for over two hours. We discussed One Week Job and the learnings I am taking away from it, all the different careers he has had, how his life has led him to his current career at the age of 57 as a Yoga Instructor, and how we can positively contribute to the lives of many simply by helping one person.

One of his career decisions really stuck out for me. He owned a catering business and had built it to the point where after 7 years it was doing $1 million worth of business each year. But, he and his partner were burnt out and came to the realization that their happiness was more important than their material wealth. So, they sold the business. Henri moved to the Cayman Islands in his forties and became a scuba diving instructor. He said that when he looked down at his first pay cheque with an hourly wage of $5.85, he couldn’t have been more happier, and that he would have framed it… had he not needed the money.

He spoke of how we must have realistic perceptions as our perceptions manifest to become our beliefs which then in turn become our truths. In this manner we are continually setting our own barriers, our own limitations. When we can come to the realization that the only thing preventing us from achieving a certain outcome is ourself, we suddenly then become capable of anything and can glimpse our true potential.

It was great speaking with him and I am happy that he was willing to share his experiences, insights, and wisdom with me.

It was also quite empowering to see somebody with such diverse and rich life experience genuinely excited about what I am doing, about my future, and to hear him say, "Sean, you inspire me.. I can’t wait to see what you are doing in 20 years, because you are going to do some amazing things in your life."

It was truly touching and I suppose adds to the mounting responsibility I seem to be creating for myself. A responsibility that just might take me more than a 'One Week Job' to suffice.

If you are ever in Edmonton, I encourage you to drop by Lotus Soul Gym to take a class with Henri and meet him for yourself. Also, check out his poetry here.