Recently, I had one of those curious experiences where I started to look at a different career direction, then the means in question vanished. Later that same day, I went to a talk on book publishing and was surprised by the dramatic changes in the industry. Independent publishers are now producing more titles than the traditional houses and Print on Demand dominates the market. All of this is driven by an unsustainable model in retail book sales where a large number of books are burned just a few months after printing. More to the point, there was a viable new way of making a living in this market. Something like what’s happening for independent musicians.
What further amused me was the crowning touch. An article in the career pages of a local paper I read on the way home by Dr. Career*. It was called Surrender date: Have you reached yours yet?
“A surrender date is a unique moment in your life when you accept what your natural born talent is. Not what you want it to be or what others want it to be… when you decide to no longer live your life by other people’s rules that are either imposed on you or are part of your belief system…”
I laughed at this for a number of reasons. For one, I talk about Surrender dates here in reference to moments of awakening. Many people can very clearly remember the place and time of their awakenings. A kind of before and after point when life made a major shift.
“You will never forget your surrender date. Like the time when your first child was born or when you lost your virginity.”
He goes on to talk about the freedom and the reduction in worry. “…you no longer have to pretend or spend energy comparing yourself to others.” “When you are not fighting, you are accepting.”
“Signals you have not had yours yet?”
– a very busy person that never stops (to cover whats not working)
– your life is a struggle or fight
– you feel stuck or not progressing
– you are angry or blaming
He then shares his own experience of deciding not to do what he wanted but to accept his nature. Mainly because his life was a disaster. He had known since childhood but had been resisting it because of negative beliefs.
“What beliefs do you have that are not allowing you to surrender?”
I was unnecessarily surprised to see how much this had in common with awakening. But one can certainly see how the dharma or purpose of awakening is closely linked to the more personal value of career.
It’s also notable how discouraged many of us can be from our talents. Messages of bad career choice from family. Poor results in school. Beliefs laid on about good and bad, right and wrong. It goes on and on. All of that masking why we’re here and thus where we can have the most success, joy, and sense of well-being.
I’ve been struggling with this some as I’ve been nailed a few times in my life for being myself. While I’ve approached it, I’ve not fully “surrendered” to this one. I empathize with a resistance to what Gangaji calls a willingness to be seen.
It should of course be noted that career is not necessarily a fixed thing. It will tend to evolve in life. Just as the rules of life can sometimes shift, so too our role. There are obvious things like becoming a parent. But sometimes less obvious things shift and what worked before stops working, calling us to change.
This can quite simply be due to karma. We may even spend a hunk of our life more in obligation than purpose. But the closer we are to purpose, the more easily we can resolve obligation. Change will still arise when a certain role has finished, but not with such difficulty. Now we have a new opportunity to stop and take a look. What is the best choice rather than what is the first thing that comes along? The second may seem easier up front, but it’s the bumpier road long term.
What do you want to be when you grow up? 😉
* I couldn’t find the article on his site or the papers site