Guest post by Elaine Howard
You set your career goals back in high school and now you’ve finally earned your degree and landed a job in your chosen profession. Congratulations! You already know how to use the power of mental focus to your advantage. If you’ve entered an exciting field that you are passionate about, your career may keep you focused in a positive direction for many years to come. My friend Dean Lomax from England is fortunate enough to pursue a career that is also his passion and I have seen the power of mental focus at work in his life. When I first met Dean in 2008, he was a teenager determined to build a career in paleontology. Over the past 11 years, Dean has not only achieved that goal, he is now a multi-award-winning paleontologist and author.
If your career choice was not necessarily your “passion,” but one you chose for other reasons, you may need a little help a positive mental focus for the next 30 or more years. It is important to understand that whatever you focus on- negative or positive- is what will tend to manifest in your life. I know this to be true because, even after I achieved my own career goal to become an attorney, I focused on what I felt was missing in my life and my worry, doubt and fear created even more negativity. There were times I considered giving up- not only on my career but my life. My negative focus created a negative energy that kept people at a distance, prevented doors of opportunity from opening and basically ensured I would not be happy.
In 2005, however, I wandered into a fossil shop and bought a little dinosaur tooth that would change my life forever. My interest in that fossil awakened my passion for paleontology that radically transformed my life in a positive way and set me on a life-long quest for adventure. On the surface, it appeared as though dinosaurs brought me back to life. In reality, it was not dinosaurs that changed my life, but my change in mental focus that broke the cycle of negativity and radically transformed my life for the better. And, I didn’t even have to quit my day job. I’m still an attorney and have been for the past 25 years.
Some suggest that your “passion” is the one true calling that you should strive to make your career.
Others say that your passion is not “one thing” you pursue but something you find within yourself. Neither of those explain what happened to me. So, I began to analyze my own transformation to get some answers. After doing so, I realized my passion for paleontology had four essential characteristics that made it powerful enough to transform my life:
1) It was positive and productive.
This one’s quite simple- only something positive has the power to transform your life in a positive way. A negative pursuit (i.e. a harmful vice) will inevitably lead to negative consequences, even if it makes you feel happy when you’re pursuing it.
2) I was genuinely excited about it.
Unless you are genuinely excited about your passion, your interest will eventually fizzle and it will not have the power to transform your life for the better.
3) It was ongoing.
For your passion to help you maintain a positive mental focus and to ensure that you stay on a cycle of positivity, it must be pursued on an ongoing or at least a regular basis. Of course, you will still encounter obstacles and the challenges of day-to-day life. That’s just part of being human. But staying positive mentally is a conscious decision that we must work toward daily.
4) I shared it with others.
This is another simple but very powerful concept. If you are pursuing something you keep to yourself, it is not likely to transform your life, at least in a significant way. It is through the process of getting out there and sharing your enthusiasm that you will make new friends, new opportunities will open, and you will find your passion truly enriching your life.
What are you focused on? If you have a good job, but still find yourself focusing on negative circumstances, I encourage you to find your passion- regardless of whether you ever turn it into a career. When you are pursuing your true passion- one that meets the four criteria- your positive thoughts and enthusiasm will produce positive energy which will draw the best things possible into your life!
Attorney Elaine Howard transformed her life from one of despair and hopelessness—after battling academic struggles, low self-esteem, and an eating disorder—to one of excitement and adventure when she inadvertently discovered paleontology. Over the past fourteen years, Howard has become certified in fossil lab and fieldwork by the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and participated in many dinosaur digs. She continues to spend her spare time as an adventurer pursuing her passion for dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. As a certified coach and member of the Certified Coaches Alliance, she is also on a mission to encourage others to find their own unique passion and allow it to transform their lives into an exciting adventure.
Connect with Elaine Howard on Instagram @dinosaurlaine and visit www.passioninthebones.com.
Passion in the Bones: A Guide to Breaking the Chains of Negativity and Living Your Own Adventure is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon and other retailers.