Why We Fail to Find Our Life’s Work

Listen to your inner voice

Listen to your inner voice

I had a birthday this week and got to thinking about how quickly the years go by.  It saddens me how many people slog though endless days working at jobs they don’t like.  What stops them from leaving an employer or an occupation they don’t find satisfying?  Why do they grit their teeth and continue to go to a job that drains their energy and robs them of precious hours they could be using in pursuit of more joyous work? 

I’ve been re-visiting some to the books in my career coaching collection and in How to Find the Work You Love I discovered something I thought important to share.  The author, Laurence Boldt suggests that what stops us from pursuing a calling or finding our “life’s work” are the “Voices of Doubt”.  Here is how he defines these inner voices.

The voice of doom and gloom – You might identify this for yourself when your mind starts up about fears of financial ruin.  (Are you really going to become a bag lady if you quit your job?).  Is it really riskier to ignore your creative urges and stay in work that pays the bills but sucks your precious life force?  As George Bernard Shaw put it; “If you are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life…your reward will be that you will earn, but you will not live.”  I think sometimes we just have to feel the fear and move forward anyway!  You never know what opportunities may come your way once you start moving towards your ideal career.

The voice of conformity – Evidence of this voice occurs when you start worrying about others’ opinions of you.  For example, when I decided to launch my home based business 10 years ago, I got some negative response from people.  “You’ll never be successful, don’t you know most small businesses fail in the first couple of years?”  “You have no business in being in business! You don’t understand the principles.”  “Go get a steady job and get a regular paycheck like everybody else.” If I had succumbed to those opinions I would have missed out on years of fulfilling, heart engaging, and energizing work!  Just reading these old “voices of conformity” brings my energy down! Don’t let the naysayers undermine your intentions to follow your heart!  Trust your inner wisdom and go blaze a new trail.  You don’t have to do a certain job, you can choose differently.

The voice of self diminishment – This one is insidious and can derail your best intentions.  These are the messages we tell ourselves about not being _______ enough.  (You fill in the blank).  Don’t put off following your passions because you think you have to get more; training, practice, organized, money or whatever you feel is missing.  This doesn’t mean that you don’t do any preparation to realize your life’s work, it does mean you stop trying to talk yourself out of it because you are feeling inadequate.   Do some research and find out the truth.  For instance; do you really have to have a degree in business to start one?  (No you don’t)

The voice of idle complaint – Another name for this voice could be;  the whine and procrastinate process.  We all know people who seem to enjoy complaining.  You know the ones that love to share how awful their work/life/relations/situation/whatever is.  Please don’t do that to yourself!  Evidence of the voice of idle complaint appears when we procrastinate.  When we turn a deaf ear to the voice of our inner wisdom and come up with excuses to ignore it. For example you might say to yourself or others; I will make a career change when “I have enough money, my husband/wife finishes school, when my kids go off to college, when I get fired or laid off, when XYZ occurs.”  We wait for some external circumstances to change in order for us to take action to create our own future.  Write down a few actions you can realistically take towards making your dreams for fulfilling work come true and then do them!  

I am not suggesting anyone act irresponsibly and just assume if you leap off a cliff your wings will appear, but I am encouraging you to really examine your reasons for staying in a job or work situation in which you are truly unhappy. 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by the dogma –  which is living the results of other people’s thinking.  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 own intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”  —Steve Jobs

Steve got it right.  He certainly blazed a trail and changed the world.  You can to!

Identify Your Skills and Talents and Find Your Ideal Career

glass squareAre you thinking it is time to get a different job or shift careers?  The first step is to identify your package of skills, talents, and natural abilities.  We all have abilities, life experience, knowledge, talents, passions, creativity, yearnings, interests, and skills within.  I imagine them as being different shapes, sizes, and colors–kind of like this picture I took of Dale Chihuly glass.

I find clients often assume that they are “stuck” in the same type job because that is all they have done in the past.  If we look beyond the job description and instead look within ourselves, we can discover a wellspring of transferable skills and hidden talents that can help qualify us for a variety of potentially satisfying jobs.  Let me give you an example:

Scott had been a master electrician for 15 years.  He climbed up ladders and crawled through ducts while wiring commercial buildings.  At 35, he was finding the physical demands becoming challenging and decided to explore a career change.  When I asked him what he liked best about being an electrician, he responded; “it is really satisfying to wire an entire system and then bring a building to life with the flip of a switch.” We began exploring how this could relate to other kinds of careers.  You see, if you start with what you really most enjoy about your work and look at where you can do something similar in a different environment, some times the ideal career reveals itself.  

After identifying his transferable skills and natural gifts, Scott decided to become a chiropractor.  He compared the work of being a chiropractor to his career as an electrician. In both cases he said; “you are working with the electrical system.  In the human body it is the nervous system but my role is the same.  Determine where the electricity is failing to connect and fix it.”  He went on further to say; “instead of working in a building with ducts and blowers to move the air and maintain the temperature and electrical wiring to circulate the juice, I work on the human body — it too has respiratory, circulatory and electrical systems.”

Today Scott has a thriving practice in Landrum, SC and says he just loves his work!  (He’s good at it too.  I often see him when I am visiting there.)

You never know what new wonderful career may be just around the corner.  Identifying your own skills and talents is the first step in exploring other kinds of work.   Need a nudge to start looking at your own?  Here is a list of Transferable Skills for you to select from.  After you identify the skills you possess, review the list and note those that you really enjoy doing.  Then mention those in correspondence with potential employers, emphasize them on your resume, describe them in interviews or launch a business built on them!  

YOU have a unique package of skills, talents and abilities.  Why not use them and live the work you love!




Passion at Work

Pattiy Torno

Pattiy Torno

What would it be like to be excited to “go to work” on a regular basis, to be brimming with creativity and inspiration, to be energized by your own efforts?  I have often asked that question in an effort to find answers to share.  Do you know someone who says they absolutely love their work?  Have you ever heard someone say; “I enjoy this so much I can hardly believe I get paid to do it”?  Who are these people and what do they do?  I found some shining examples during a recent visit to the Carolinas.

I spent an afternoon wandering the River Arts District in Asheville, NC a couple of months ago. “This unique neighborhood along the French Broad River is home to more than 165 artists with working studios located in 18 turn-of-the-century industrial buildings”.  I loved that people are welcome to wander in and talk with the artists, and if you’re lucky, observe them at their craft.  What really struck me was the unbridled enthusiasm of the artists I spoke with. Their passion for their work was a tangible living thing exuding from each studio I visited.  No one tried to sell me anything either.  I loved that!

Take Jonas Gerard for example.  Born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1941, he migrated to NYC and began showing his art on the streets at the age of 16.  Although he spent years working in the engineering field, his passion for his art eventually lead him to pursue it full time.  Largely self taught, he is best known for his abstract art.  He describes the essence of it as:

  • To unfold the spirit of self-exploration by painting (or creating) freely without restraint or self criticism
  • To develop a deeper trust in one’s intuition and instinct as they happen
  • To realize that letting go of set goals opens up a whole world of infinite possibilities

I think these are terrific goals for anyone seeking fulfillment in their work, don’t you agree?

William B.Leonard of Bold Life said; “it would be hard, maybe even impossible to find anyone who is more passionate and energetic about his work than Jonas Gerard.  He is an artist with the heart of a showman and he happily welcomes visitors into his studio to watch him work.  As he paints, he dances in front of the canvas to music that blares raucously from his cd player” and talks while painting saying that he has no idea where the music and paint will take him.”

Another studio I visited was Pattiy Torno’s.  When she was in high school she decided to head towards fashion design as a career.  She says on her webpage, “It was the only career I could think of that would allow me to earn a living doing what I love most—sewing.”  She apprenticed in the fashion industry in New York and then started her own business in the 1980’s as she wanted to get back to “the simple joy of playing with fabric.”  She began making quilts.  (See her picture above with a thimble on her finger and quilt behind her.) 

As I sat in her studio drinking herbal tea that chilly afternoon, I was struck by how much she truly loves what she does.  Pattiy shared her work and encouraged me to touch and try on her creations.  I walked out with one of her lovely fleece hats on my head. Whenever I wear it, I think of the joy of the artist who made it and it makes me feel good (it’s nice and warm too!).

Do you have passion at work?  If you are shaking your head, NO, you might re-consider if you feel or express any of the following:

Empowered, energized, excited, unstoppable, joy, entertaining, creative, evocative, motivated, a sense of flow, giving to others, or sharing your talents.

And, if none of those words apply, you might rethink your career path…. Life is too short to spend more than half your waking hours in passionless work.


And the winner is…

The $100 Startup winner

I met Janis when she attended my “1st Steps for Starting a Business” class last month.  She is a fine art photographer and has been self employed for over 20 years.  Her photographs have been purchased by health organizations for placement in hospitals and clinics and provide wonderful uplifting images of nature.

Four years ago, she became interested in social media and how it could help her promote her business. Janis, who holds an Masters in Fine Arts, recently completed the Social Media Certificate program at Madison College.  She wants to assist other creatives to ramp up their entrepreneurial efforts by having a web presence and participating in social media marketing. 

She told me that her mission is to help others expand their artistic vision by reaching more people using the internet.  Using the Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul as a model, Janis decided launched a social media consulting business.  She assists artists, art organizations, small business owners and nonprofits to find marketing solutions using the internet.  Check out her website and her beautiful photos.  

Janis suggests that social media can “transform your business”.  She states; “Here you are , exploding with this fantastic, brilliant creative idea that you want the world to know about and beat a path to your door.  How can you possibly spend time on marketing and turn your idea into an art form at the same time?  The answer is to use social media to get the word out.  Those people who are listening, are following you, are your supporters and will buy your product.”

I asked her to give some specific benefits to using social media and she shared the following:

  1. Increases traffic to your website
  2. Improves your search engine optimization (SEO).  Better SEO = being found = more sales.  93% of all purchasing decisions start with an online search.
  3. Amplifies your message through word of mouth.  
  4. Communicates with and engages your fans.  Suggested channels:  Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, YouTube
  5. Spreads your content beyond your locality.  You have the potential to attract potential customers world wide!
Whether you are thinking about starting a business, wanting to expand your marketing or just want to share your latest pictures with others, social media can maximize your efforts!  Janis would be happy to be of service.  Please contact her for a complimentary consultation. 
Oh, and if you haven’t already done so, get your hands on The $100 Startup!



Making Enlightened Career Choices

Roads in the forest

Are you making enlightened decisions about your career?

Are you doing work that is fulfilling and rewarding? Does your current work give you an outlet to make a difference, to feel alive with purpose? If not, you might want to consider making some changes. You don’t have to do a particular job, work in soul deadening surroundings, or be “chained” to a desk in a cubicle. YOU have CHOICE! If you want to create a different career path you need to make choices that will propel you to new actions.

How do you typically make decisions? Are they based on:
• Shoulds – doing what you believe you should do
• Pleasing others – doing what others want or expect you to do
• Fear – choosing the safe route, or being afraid to make changes
• Habit and reaction – you don’t even think about what you’re doing–you’ve always done it this way

Or, are you consciously considering each decision and maintaining an awareness of these factors:
• Feeling empowered – to choose truly for yourself, not to please others
• Authenticity – you know who you are and choose in alignment with your core values
• Creative expression – you have talents and skills to share, and seek to express these through your work

To make more enlightened, conscious choices:

1. Clearly define your wants and needs. Get in touch with your sense of purpose. Listen to your intuition. Ask yourself; “Does this choice feel empowering or disempowering?” “Is this decision in my highest good?”

2. Consider your current situation and ask yourself; “Why am I doing this? What do I want to achieve?” It may be helpful for you to write down your answers and ponder them. Be more conscious of how you are spending your precious time, because this is your life passing by.

3. Stay out of the victim mindset. You alone are responsible for your life. When you accept this, you will claim your inner power and make better choices. Change often comes from nothing more than a shift in perspective.

4. Be open to new possibilities for yourself. Select one area of your life where you are unsatisfied, and choose something new, something more for yourself.

5. Simply notice opportunities as they show up. We miss so many options because we just don’t see them! Wake up and look around. You have an opportunity right in this moment to choose something new or different.

If you find you spend a lot of time in a job that leaves you tired, frustrated and discouraged at the end of the day, it may be time for “Plan B”. You have gifts, talents, work and life experiences, skills and expertise to create your next career! Identify them and search out how who needs them. Then you can make a plan to move in a new direction.

Location Independent Careers

view of travel career setting

View from my “office” in Myrtle Beach, SC

With summer in full swing, many of us have trips and vacations planned, or are dreaming about long days on the beach. If you’re tied to an office job or have limited time off, this can be a challenging season, and one that gets a lot of people thinking about working for themselves.

It sounds great, doesn’t it? You could be working from home, or – better yet – poolside somewhere. Maybe you could design your schedule so you have the best parts of the day free to be outside and enjoy the sunshine. Or maybe your ambitions are bigger – a lot of people who want to work for themselves picture life away from the office as one full of adventure, traveling to exotic places, having the freedom and flexibility to just pick up and go. If you’re one of those people, then this series of posts is for you.

Whether you want to live abroad or just travel from time to time, there are ways to make a living on the go. Over the next few weeks we’ll explore the pros and cons of location independence and go through some of the how-to’s.

Thanks to things like laptops and wifi, being location independent is far more feasible now than it ever has been before. But that flexibility only exists if you’re not still tethered to one place, which means being very deliberate about the type of business you start for yourself.

If you want location independence, you probably aren’t looking to open a restaurant or a storefront. There are dozens of ways to have a virtual business by selling a product online, or offering a service that doesn’t require you to physically be present to do the work.

Thinking up a business that can be done from anywhere that you have a laptop and wifi can be a challenge, but with a little creative thinking you can find a way to take your skills and passions and make a living from wherever you are. Often times it is simply a matter of looking at the business you want to start or the work you want to do from a slightly different angle, or finding the niche within it that allows you to be on the move. You can also create a business that is partially location independent, allowing you to travel frequently but still having a home base.

Many savvy entrepreneurs are successfully doing this:

  • Chris Guillebeau is traveling to every country in the world and writing about it and making money doing it.
  • Barbara Winter ventures across the country and around the world speaking, writing, and teaching.
  • Lea and Jonathan Woodward have been making a living from Mexico.
  • Corbett Barr has built an online business that supports him regardless of where he happens to be from one day to the next.

My daughter, Nicole, enjoys a lifestyle where she’s got a home base and an office in Denver, but she travels at will – last weekend she was working from a resort in the mountains, and this week is sending me emails from funky coffee shops in Minneapolis. I took the picture above a few weeks ago while enjoying time with my mother at a Myrtle Beach resort (and still serving my clients’ needs) and will be traveling to Denver and Rochester, MN in coming months and conducting workshops.

Some of these people are writers, some are teachers, some are techies. There are many more examples out there, of people who sell crafts or products, do design or consultations – I’ve even heard of a woman who teaches remote voice lessons using a program like Skype! The thing they all have in common: they are inspired, innovative, and determined to find creative ways to earn a living while jet-setting, living abroad, or spending more of their time away from their offices than in them.

What do you want to do for work? How can you begin to reconfigure it to support your wanderlust?

4 Ways to Discover Your Passions

Passions excite us, enliven our being and reflect our heart’s desire.  Do you know what you are really passionate about?  Are your passions able to be expressed through the work you do?  How do we identify our passions?   For some, their passion is ingrained in their being from birth.  They just know what they want to be when they “grow up” and find a way to live their life around what they are passionate about.

1. Discovering your passion through just “knowing” from birth

Heart shaped leaves

discover your passions

My Dad for instance, was fascinated with flying and spent his life in aviation, first as a Navy pilot then as an aeronautical engineer with NASA. When he retired he continued following his passion of flight and built an airplane in his garage.  It took him 7 years to plan and then build the plane and then another year to get healthy enough to fly it.  He was in his late 70’s by then and had to have cataract surgeries on both eyes before he was allowed to pilot his beloved little plane.  He really lived his life around his passion!

2. Discovering your passion through an epiphany

Sometimes life hands you the insight in an epiphany.  I’ve heard many clients report a crisis of sorts prompted a sudden realization of what they wanted to do with their life.  I call this the “wake-up call”. It may be precipitated by a dramatic life event such as a losing a job, going through a divorce or experiencing a serious illness or injury.  For me, it was facing being downsized from my job as a recruiter in a staffing agency.  It was literally like a switch was flipped in my brain and I made the mental leap from “guess I’ll need to go look for another job” to “what if instead of looking for candidates to fill companies staffing needs, I championed  individuals and helped them find satisfying work that really fits their needs?”  (read more on my story on the About page)

3. Discovering your passion through trial and error

The third way to uncover our passion is by trial and error.  I think most people do this to some extent.  We take classes we have some interest in and explore various careers.  The process of trying out a variety of work situations can lead us to realizing what we do and do not find rewarding. We may stumble into a great job or end up in a fulfilling occupation simply by circumstance and the process of elimination. My daughter for instance, studied a variety of subjects in college and ended up with a degree in cultural studies and comparative literature.  Not exactly a fast track to a solid career. Over the next 5 years she worked in office administration, retail sales, taught karate, became a licensed massage therapist, was a tour guide and concluded that what she was really passionate about was being creatively self employed, helping people tell their stories and throwing theme parties.  She now lives in Denver and happily juggles multiple income streams as a freelance writer, editor, social media consultant and wedding planner. You don’t have to pick just one occupation or career.  Keep experimenting until you find work that makes your heart sing!

4. Discovering your passion through introspection

When we respond to a yearning to have creative self expression, to do work that is in alignment with our core values and beliefs we have begun the process of looking inward.  Conventional wisdom teaches us to go to school, get a good job, work hard, and save enough money to someday retire. However practical this path seems to be, there may come a point in which our heart overrules our head and the sensible path is no longer enough for us. We start to question the status quo, we become restless, anxious, stressed or depressed. We began to really want to be able to express our passions, to work enlivened, to be intrinsically in alignment with our deepest yearnings.  Responding to this call of the heart can be life changing.

Tama Kieves in her book, This Time I Dance poignantly describes her experience of leaving her law practice in order to do pursue her love of writing.  She talks about searching for answers by reading self help books like she was “in a library on fire” and by challenging her own beliefs about the work she was “supposed to do.”  Today she is a successful author, speaker, and workshop presenter who inspires others to live their creative dreams.

Who knows what you might become, what inspiring work you may do?   If you’re in the looking inward process seeking to identify your passions and discover your natural talents, one of my earlier posts may be helpful: “12 Questions to Help you Find Your Calling

“My heart guides me tenderly and truly.  I find ways through the wilderness.  My heart finds paths through the desert.”  –Julia Cameron

To find your passion, listen to the wisdom of your heart,


Mind Map Your Future

I had a dream last night about being lost and confused en route to the beach. It seems I jumped in my car and thought I knew how to get to the ocean instinctively. (In real life I reside in WI so that would be quite a trick). I took a few too many wrong turns and ended up in a diner in the middle of nowhere wishing that I had consulted a map and plotted my route.

When I opened my eyes this morning with the dream still fresh in my mind, I had this flash of “Yeah, I need a map!”. As the fog of sleep receded I realized what I actually need is to create a roadmap for my life and business aspirations for this New Year. You may be familiar with the saying; “If you don’t have a destination and a map to get there, how will you know when you’ve arrived?”

In working with clients in career and life transitions, I have found the Mind Mapping process to be invaluable as a method to open up new possibilities for fulfilling work, create business plans and orchestrate life changes. It is a technique to utilize both the linear, analytical, logical side of the brain with the intuitive, creative, artistic side. Definition: “the Mind Map is the external mirror of your own radiant or natural thinking facilitated by a powerful graphic process, which provides the universal key to unlock the dynamic potential of the brain.” (from mindmapping.com)

We are taught to make lists and write or type from the left to the right in rows. The brain doesn’t think linearly, it works by association branching out in many directions from each thought.

As you think about what you want to accomplish in the New Year, you may want to access both your intellect and your intuition, the left and right sides of your brain respectively. Give it a try!

How to Mind Map:
1. Use a large piece of paper, like flip chart size or poster board.
2. Place your topic in the center of the page and work outward.
3. Use color and graphics to represent themes, associations and to emphasize.
4. Play some invigorating music to stimulate your right brain.
5. Keep your writing hand moving, if you don’t know what to write next, add color or circle words of importance.
6. Consider using stars, arrows and icons to connect different ideas or elements.

Don’t censor yourself, as ideas pop into your head, get them down on the paper. Think of this exercise as making a giant doodle with a purpose; to utilize your whole brain! Use whatever arts and craft stuff you have on hand: crayons, markers, colored pencils, stamps, stickers etc. For some visual examples and more information on Mind Mapping check out these resources:

The Mind Map Book, by Tony Buzan and Mindmapping, by Joyce Wycoff are my favorites.


From Chaos to Consciousness

One of the characteristics of my Myers-Briggs type (ENFP) is that I thrive on possibilities. While this is exciting and often leads to glorious bursts of creativity, it also means that I frequently find myself awash with multiple interests and too many uncompleted projects. This is also characteristic of “Scanners,” as described in Barbara Sher’s book, Refuse to Choose.

In his post this morning, Jonathan Fields asked, “are you building a body of work or a cornucopia of chaos?” My natural tendency toward pondering the possible rather than concentrating on the concrete leads me toward the chaotic side of the equation. In explaining the difference between the two, Jonathan listed several dichotomies, here are a couple that hit home for me:

• One is about progressive, conscious building within a well defined area of interest, the other is about bouncing to wherever the next perceived opportunity lies without regard to growth and consistency.

• One is about being mindful, present and proactive, the other is about being disconnected, frenetic and reactive.

I often find myself “bouncing to perceived opportunities” and “being disconnected, frenetic and reactive.” These tendencies inhibit productive work and lead to greater confusion. Here’s my take on how to handle it:

1) Recognize what is happening. When we run around trying to keep too many balls in the air at once, we may think we are being productive when we are really just being way too busy. When you find yourself being forgetful, running late, or struggling to keep track of everything, you’re doing too much.

2) Stop, look, and listen. When you notice you are in the midst of frenetic activity, stop whatever you are doing, look at your surroundings, and listen to your breathing. You will naturally shift into a moment of mindfulness. From that place of centered awareness, you can regain your perspective and chose a less chaotic path going forward.

As Jonathan reminds us, “powerful legacies rarely if ever occur in the form of scattershot, piecemeal efforts…cornucopias of chaos… no matter how fun, windswept or purposeful they seem when we’re adrift with them.”

When you find yourself moving into chaos, what do you do to shift out of it?

Julie & Julia, Accidental Entrepreneurs

This past weekend I saw a fabulous example of following your passion: the movie Julie & Julia. The movie is based on the true story of Julie Powell, a frustrated state worker who spends her days in a cubicle taking incoming calls in the aftermath of 9/11. In search of a way to deal with her frustration and soothe her aching soul, she decides (rather on a whim) to prepare every recipe in Julia Child’s famous cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” She diligently works her way through the 536 recipes in 365 days and blogs about her trials and tribulations along the way.

In the movie we simultaneously get to view Julie’s experiences in modern day New York and Julia Child’s life during her years in France as she discovers her passion for cooking. As Americans in Paris in the 1950’s, Paul and Julia Child had a glamorous nightlife but when Paul went off to work at the embassy, Julia found herself looking for something with which to fill her days. After a few failed attempts at entertaining and educating herself, such as a hat making class which she found boring, and a bridge class with the same result, she decided to attend culinary school. Julia and her husband were enamored with the gustatory pleasures of French cuisine, and so it seemed natural that Julia would find her joy in taking classes at the renowned Cordon Bleu cooking school.

She delighted in the rigors of learning to prepare French cuisine, fearlessly attacking the tasks and holding her own in a class dominated by men. She thought about how wonderful it would be to have a cookbook in English so that “servantless” Americans could enjoy the pleasures of French cooking and collaborated with two French cooks in creating a mammoth manuscript.

Back in the states Julia Child not only got her book published but became the acclaimed “French Chef” on TV, introducing millions to the joy of boeuf bourguignon, chocolate soufflés, and the like. Julia never set out to become an entrepreneur, she simply pursued her passion and shared it with others. Similarly, Julie Powell rose to literary prominence after she was interviewed by the New York Times about her Julie/Julia project blog. Her story became a book and then a major motion picture. She has a new blog, was interviewed by Nightline (check out the clip, it has vintage footage of Julia Child!)and a second book soon to be released and isn’t working at that cubicle job anymore!

When we follow our passions, we flourish. We may find ourselves as these women did, making a living without a job.

“Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman