I’ll be a guest speaker on The Quest of Life radio show on WRPI-FM on Friday, December 17, 2010 and my topic will be Connecting Your Spirit and Your Work. The next few blog posts will go into more talk about the points that I’ll be speaking on there.

What happens to a dream deferred?  These words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reverberate in my mind when I talk with many of my clients. As s consequence of my line of work, many people come to me with that “lost” expression of their souls. they don’t know where they are or what they want to do with their lives. Many times, these clients felt that they had something and that it’s gotten away from them or vanished before their eyes.

There could be many reasons for that. While some could be that they didn’t have a clear plan in the first place or that  circumstances in the world have changed their lives, a big reason I see is that people made decisions way back at the initial part of their planning that didn’t include listening to their own heart.

For the average individual, career decisions are made sometime shortly before or after the age of 20. Whether you go to college, a trade school or not, we ask our young people “So, what do you want to do with your life?” and mist often these people are incapable to really answer this question (with many exceptions, of course).  As our culture tends to perpetuate the concept of having one career your entire life, so young professionals are brought up with the thought that they better get it correct now or they will screw up their lives. That seems to be a remnant of the “working at the town mill” mentality that many of our parents grew up with.  Granted, we now know that now one will be there to take care of us if we don’t do it for ourselves. (Note: estimates by the US Dept. of Labor say that the average Baby Boomer had 11 jobs from ages 18-65; chances are good that there were a lot of changes going on there!)

Given such a high stress on getting it right on our young people, it’s not hard to understand that they will tend to look for others to help them with such an important decision.  Unfortunately, what many times happens is that they make decisions to keep others happy, instead of listening to their own heart.  I have dealt with too many 30-somethings who have done great career changes because they always wanted to do something, but their parents or society had other ideas for them.  That’s not to say that these people were out to sabotage this young person’s life, but that the student probably didn’t have a strong enough sense of self to speak their own truth, and by not practicing listening then, that voice stopped being listened.  That dream deferred then comes back screaming later on to get the minds attention when the soul have been ignored.

A common occurence about 10 years ago was when the software and engineering industries took a big hit in the Boston area, and a lot of computer programmers where suddenly out of work.  Many of these people went into the field in the 80’s when “that’s where the jobs were” and they never had to look for a job; it always found them.  What many of them discovered was that when they had to look for a job and say why they wanted to be a programmer, they had nothing to say.  They found out that they were doing it only for the money and stability.  Now that they had a choice, many people went into other fields.

So, what dreams have you deferred?