Reinvent yourself



GET A GRIP.


* * * * *


MAKE THE ULTIMATE “TO DO” LIST.


Thinking he was about to die in a plane crash in 1983, America Online executive Ted Leonsis started writing down 101 things he would surely do if, with God’s help, he survived.


The plane landed safely -------- but that list changed his life


So far, Leonsis has crossed off nearly two thirds of the items, which include catching a foul ball at a baseball game and owning a sports team (he became majority owner of the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals in 1999).


Leonsis wants the list passed out at his funeral.






FIND OUT IF YOU’RE GANDHI OR STREISAND


Try the Keirsey character and temperament sorters, two online personality quizzes (www.keirsey.com). They’ll tell you whether you’re more like the Mahatma, Babs, Einstein, or Mother Teresa and suggest the types of careers you’re best suited for.






CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT


In 25 words or less,

jot down your life’s purpose.


Bob Buford, author of Half-Time: Changing Your Game Plan From Success to Significance (Zondervan, 1994), suggests starting with some basic questions: What is your passion? What have you achieved? How are you wired? What are the “shoulds” that have trailed you through the first half of

 your life?




 


START A JOURNAL


Cleopatra, Marco Polo, and Anne Frank (to name just three of thousands) all kept

journals as a tool to help  them make sense of their lives. “Along the way,” says Lois Guarino, author of Writing Your Authentic Self (Dell Publishing, 1999), “each of these people discovered more about who they really were.






WRITE YOUR EULOGY


What would you want people to say about you after you’re gone?


Addressing that question can help you better understand who you are and who you want to be, advises Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? (Ten Speed Press, revised and updated annually). This career-hunter’s Bible offers a checklist of values to help you set priorities.






FIND THE COURAGE TO CHANGE


If you’re looking for inspiration, read Dennis Wholev’s The Miracle of Change: The Path to Self’-Discovery and Spiritual Growth (Pocket Books, 1997), which contains more than 60 personal stories about navigating life’s transi-

tions, by such notables as Mary Higgins Clark, Tim Russert, Laura Schlessinger, and Jack Valenti.






GET HELP


* * * * *


TURN TO A PRO.


Whether you’re seeking a career change or a new job in your current field, a

professional career counselor may help focus your thinking.


If you go to one, you may be asked to take a standardized test such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which categorizes personality types along

the lines of introverted/extroverted, sensing/intuitive, thinking/feeling,

judging/perceiving The results are used to determine the kinds of work you might enjoy.


To find a counselor, try the Career Counselors Consortium Directory (212-859-3515; www.careercc.org).







BARE YOUR SOUL


Schedule time with your priest, rabbi, minister, or other spiritual adviser, or

a close friend with whom you’d feel comfortable talking about your deepest feelings and values. Or try talking to others who are facing similar life-stage issues in online discussion groups such as the ones at www.third age.com, which feature topics like Job Fantasies, Home-Based Businesses, and Work Styles for a New Millennium.




 



FORM A BOARD OF ADVISERS


Just as a corporation has a team of people who represent an array of spe-cialties— marketing, finance, sales—an individual should have a similar set of personal advisers, according to Marti Smye, author of Is It Too Late to Run Away and Join the Circus? (Macmillan, 1998). This informal board should be made up of friends whom you respect and admire, whose opinions you value, and who would be willing to offer you their counsel when you need it.







HIRE A PERSONAL COACH


Need someone to push you toward your goals?


Like a fitness trainer, a personal coach stays on your case and keeps you on track, checking in weekly by phone, in person, or via e-mail. Visit www.coachu.com, a site that also contains information about personal coaching as a career.






GET SMART


* * * * * * *




MARCH TO THE BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUM


Careers for Nonconformists by Sandra Gurvis (Marlowe & Company, 1999)

highlights 75 colorful jobs ranging from food stylist to tattoo artist to music

promoter.


 It also contains tips on how to break into a field and how to thrive, with profiles of 30 people who have succeeded in unusual endeavors.




 



TAKE STOCK



The Marylhurst University Life Planning and Career Development Program in Portland, Oregon, is geared to adults in transition. It focuses on evaluating strengths and preferences, creating a vision, and developing a new life

plan (800-634-9982 ext . 3964; or

                     www.marylhurstedu/student/lifeplanning-content.html).




 


FEED YOUR HEAD


The Cambridge Center for Adult Education is a pioneer in the field of life-

long learning, offering personal and professional development courses for more than 60 years in Harvard Square, Massachusetts (617-547-6789; www.ccae.org) At www.classearch.com, find an extensive collection of links to classes, private instruction, workshops, and lectures on a wide range of subjects including art,

karate, languages, music, writing, and woodworking . Nonprofit Elderhostel

provides one- to four-week learning adventures for people 55 and older at

universities, national parks, museums, and other sites in the U.S., Canada, and 80 other countries (800-434-5225; www.elderhostel.org).




 


HEY, TEACH


George Washington University in the District of Columbia is among the

growing number of universities offering accelerated graduate programs for

adults who want to switch to teaching careers.


 GW’s Transition to Teaching Project takes 13 months to complete

 The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education publishes a guide to college programs in teacher preparation (202-466-7496; www.ncate.org).

 




 

LEARN THE INNS AND OUTS



If you’ve ever dreamed of opening a bed and breakfast. (and. who. hasn’t?),

contact.. Bed. &. Breakfast..Inns. Online (www.bbonline.com), which offers books and seminars for aspiring innkeepers. It also features a four-week

Internet course with such questions as: “Your brochure says you don’t

take pets. A guest arrives and introduces you to his poodle and then to his

wife. Do you take them in?”




 



FIND MEANING AND MONEY


That’s the philosophy at www. fastcompany. com, a Web site spawned by Fast

Company magazine. Links include Your Calling and Brand You.


Also check out the mother of all job sites, www.monster.com, a nationwide database of job openings with articles such as “The Ten Worst Mistakes Career Changers Make” and a Cos t of Living Calculator for those

considering relocating.




 


GET LOST


* * * * * * *



TRY THE ABBEY ROAD


Looking for some quiet time?

Most monasteries ask for complete silence or at least have silent hours.

Attendance at services is usually optional; guests often spend much of their

time in their rooms reading, or taking in the beauty of the grounds.


For monasteries in the U.S., check out the guidebook Sanctuaries (Bell Tower, 1996) . For an international listing of retreat centers, try retreatsintl.org or wwwretreatsonline.com, for Zen centers, www. iijnet .or jp/iriz/irizhtml/centers.




 



TAKE A SABBATICAL


Getting away from work for an extended period, often with pay, may not be as tough to arrange as you think.


Six Months Off by Hope Dlugozima, James Scott, and David Sharp

(Henry Holt, 1996) is a how-to book for those who need more than a summer

vacation. It contains more than 200 interviews with people who have had pro-

ductive sabbaticals.




 



HOP ON A HOG


Nothing like hitting the open road on a big bike to clear one’s head. You can rent a Harley in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas through Street Eagle Harley Rentals and Tours, 877-480-2326; www.streeteagle.com.


Or go around the world on a freighter. It worked for Douglas Fetherling, author of Runfling Away to Sea (McClelland & Stewart, 1999), who during a pe-

riod of personal turmoil decided to spend four months on a converted Russian ice-breaker traveling to the South Pacific and back. Try TravLtips Cruise & Freighter Travel Association, 800-872-8584 . Find additional listings for freighter travel at www.atwtraveler. com.




 



UNLEASH YOUR INNER ARTIST


Live Art, a two-week creativity spa located in the village of Soreze in the south of France offers personalized daily art instruction amid breathtaking sunflower fields and vineyards. Visit www.artfully.com.






  



TAKE A HIKE


How you handle a wilderness challenge can tell you a lot about your ability to cope with life. Voyageur Outward Bound School offers a Life Career Renewal program that’s designed for those seeking renewed energy and a new direction. The course runs from seven to 14 days at locations in Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, and Texas . Call 800-321-HIKE [321-4453].




 


GET GOING.


* * * * * * *



VISIT A JOB SITE



Wondering what it’s like to be an architect? ------- Or a physician’s assistant?

Spend a day with one.


Contact the trade association for the field you ‘re interested in to learn if job

shadowing is available. See the Encyclopedia of Associations in the reference section of your local library.




 



STUDY WITH A MASTER



A more formal way to learn about a career is by becoming an apprentice.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, apprentice programs are available for more than 825 occupations, from accordion maker to x-ray equipment tester. Visit the Web site of the Labor Department’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training,

www.doleta.gov/bat.




 



TAKE A VACATION



Before you make a career change,

                     try working in the field as a volunteer (www.aarp.org/vol).


VolunteerMatch lists thousands of nonprofit groups seeking volunteers

(www.volunteermatch.org); VolunteerAmerica! organizes service trips in national parks and forests (www.volunteeramerica.com); Minnesota-based Global

Volunteers arranges assignments for social and economic development projects throughout the world (800-487-1074; www.globalvolunteers.org). Volunteer Vacations (Chicago Review Press, 1999), by Bill McMillon, contains profiles of nearly 300 organizations that sponsor volunteer travel opportunities.




 



GO THE DISTANCE


If you’re up for more than a volunteer vacation ,

try two years with the Peace Corps. From teaching marketing in Romania to math in South Africa, the Peace Corps allows you to learn new skills and use your talents in challenging settings


Roughly 7 percent of Peace Corps volunteers are 50 and over (800-424-8580;

www.peacecorps.gov).



Reinvent yourself



SOURCE:

MODERN MATURITY Magazine

January-February 2000. (Pgs. 38-41)



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