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  • Diana Schneidman

Trusting life’s journey

In this period of intense New Year’s resolutions development and goal setting, I’d like to share with you a book I recently discovered that’s totally different from the advice I see most everywhere, in part because it is so time INsensitive.

This Time I Dance! Trusting the Journey of Creating the Work You Love by Tama J. Kieves (c 2002) is unlike any other book I’ve read on discovering your life’s work. To quote the book cover, she “left her practice with a large corporate law firm to pursue a writing career and embolden others to live and breathe their most meaningful self-expression.”

There are lots of books—and coaches—who advise on how to find the work you love and the money will follow. While I have by no means read them all, I have found a recurring theme: A little concentrated attention to this question will quickly wrap it all up into a nice, well-paying package so get to it right now!

Kieves quit her job and embarked on her route to self-discovery, eventually creating a life as a writer, speaker and coach to help others on this journey. One way in which her journey is unique is that it took years. She doesn’t specify an end date on which the process concluded, though it is clear that she did come to conclusions and take action along the way. In fact, her book is an important milestone in itself.

She doesn’t go for the easy fixes. Just because you enjoy baking doesn’t mean you have to be another Mrs. Fields. Liking golf does not a golf pro make. There’s a difference between hobbies and your life calling. Finding the latter is quite unlike writing a list of everything you enjoy and then ranking.

She talks about the money challenge that creating the work you love entails. If you quit your job as Kieves did and you don’t have a big bank account or other financial resources, you have to deal with this. Kieves got a waitressing job and moved to a smaller apartment. She completed journalistic and other freelance writing assignments. She quit contributing to her retirement savings. And she stopped buying the expensive clothes and other upscale possessions that her legal career required (while the shopping itself distracted her from her work misery). One of her friends couldn’t quit her job but decided to leave at 5 pm sharp every evening to preserve time for her own dream.

In Kieves’ case—and for many of us—we already know what we love. The problem is facing that knowledge and the fears that accompany it. She knew even as a child that she wanted to write, and “they” encouraged her to go into law because writing legal briefs is a big part of the job. Her journey was about giving herself permission to do creative writing as her life’s work when she had not yet proven her talent.

If you are into end-of-the-year contemplating, contemplate This Time I Dance! It may be the gentle, fresh breeze that refreshes.

Originally posted 12-27-10

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