First Interview: 5 Steps to Find the Real You: An Interview with David Borchard, Ed.D. NCC
By Therese J. Borchard/ Beyond Blue
My interview today is with David Borchard, Ed.D. NCC, a licensed professional counselor and 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: Finding Happiness, Freedom, and the Life You’ve Always Wanted. 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 Davidborchard@frontiernet.net to receive a complementary pass for the assessment. Also, for more details about the Passion Revealer visit: www.VisionTRAC.com
Question: How does a person go about identifying their passion and skills? If you were to outline five steps for 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 since 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 its power. While doing that can be difficult, it is one of the surest ways 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 that tapped your passion in the past are clues to what could flow from your passion in the future. You might also find the Passion Revealer assessment to be a quick and helpful way of identifying your 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. Increase your options by developing a list of thirty or more creative ideas. Engage others in the brainstorming process since two or more minds always generate more and better ideas than one mind alone.
Narrow your list of options to your best three or four. Explore those through research and personal contacts. 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. Your best source of reality-based information is likely to come from 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: You may find my book Will The Real You Please Stand UP? Find Passion in Your Life & Work helpful if you’re looking to change careers or take more advantage of your strengths in work and leisure. If you're a fifty-plusser 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 energizing.
Second Interview: How the Right Career Can Contribute to Mental Health
Categories: Mental Health
I also asked David Borchard, licensed career counselor and consultant (and my father-in-law), this question:
How can finding your passion, either as a new career or a pastime, contribute to better mental health?
Here's what he said:
The human mind is capable of focusing on only one emotion at any one time. When you're preoccupied with fears about all the bad things happening, or that could happen, in your life and the world you're actively creating an anxious mental state. When fully engaged in activities that you enjoy your attention focus on positive emotions. A growing body of psychological and neurological research clearly shows that engaging in what you enjoy and have a talent for is a prescription for happiness. People engaged in their passion, whether in work or leisure, tend to be healthier, live longer, and have more vitality than those who view life as an arduous ordeal. There is no pill that can have the positive and life vitalizing benefits of doing what you love and knowing that you are growing as an individual.
It's difficult to feel that your life matters and to feel good about yourself if what you're doing with your life and in work and/or leisure fails to connect with your uniquely personal interests. In contrast, it's hard to be depressed or anxious when preoccupied in activities that engage your interests and talents in ways that are personally meaningful. The message in this is rather clear. If what you're now doing is unfulfilling and you want to experience the blessings of life vitalizing energy, find ways to rejuvenate yourself. The best way to do that is to find activities that put your passion to meaningful work and enjoyable play.
The world would be a much pleasanter place if a lot more of us engaged in what makes us happy and fulfills us with a sense of meaning and purpose. We can't directly change others, but we can exercise control over making our own world happier and in the process healthier. And, the benefits of your creating a more joy-filled state of mind can be contagious and spread to others whom your life touches.
To read more Beyond Blue, go to http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.