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Love What You Do!

This article was taken from the February edition of Proteuslife magazine.

Recently on the blog, I wrote an article entitled ‘Get out if you hate it,’ which was inspired by countless numbers of people I have interacted with that not only disliked what they did and where they worked, but they actually hated it.

Without oversimplifying things, I just don’t get why people get so locked into situations where they completely lose their decision-making powers, where to make it better, or to leave, are no longer options – I really don’t get it!

I understand that there are times in our lives where we have to put up with things we don’t like for the sake of others, or the timing is not right, but when the situations we are in take over our lives and have an impact on the way we speak, the way we interact with others and the behaviours that we display, then surely we are self actualised enough to make the decisions that are right, not just the decisions that are expected. Maybe not!

During the Christmas break of 2013 I received an inspirational email from a person who had attended a Proteus event and had been encouraged to make personal changes before her situation changed her.

This is Michelle’s story:

Hi Des,

The Merriest of Christmases to you! I have wanted to pen you an email for the past few weeks, and the first opportunity of doing so, is in the quiet still hours of Boxing Day.

You may not remember me, but you and the Proteus Group have had a profound impact on me and certainly on my life. I first came across the Proteus group some 3 years ago whilst working in the Fundraising Industry. I have only ever attended the Business Breakfasts in Adelaide, but certainly feel I have gained much more than I have invested. I was working as a Fundraising Manager for a couple of charities – a Not-for-profit Terminal care Hospice in Adelaide for nearly 8 years, and then moved on to take charge of the state Fundraising for SIDS and Kids SA for 12 months. After a difficult week where nothing was going right, I decided in a snap, that I wasn’t enjoying the 3 hours I was spending in the car every day, I really wasn’t living my passion, my calling, and that everything inside of me was calling me to ‘Live my best life’.

Since a small child, I had wanted to work in the field of death, and mostly leading funeral services as a funeral celebrant. The Breakfast I attended that week changed my life. I needed to trust in the universe, and ask it to take me where I needed to be.

That Friday I resigned my position, giving 8 weeks notice. I had no secure job to go to, only a dream and a family of seven to support. My full-time working husband was extremely supportive (I am sure more than nervous, but nevertheless very supportive), and I drove home that day feeling like I had won lotto. The stress I had been feeling just lifted from my shoulders. I was as happy as I had
ever been.

The following day, I sat out on my deck, drinking my coffee, as I always do and opened the Saturday paper to the employment section. I have done this since I finished school as I like to keep my finger on the pulse of Adelaide.

There it was, a large advertisement for a fulltime Funeral Director and Funeral Celebrant.

Ironically, the job was with a local family owned funeral home, five minutes from my house with a company that I had enlisted as a key sponsor for one of the charities I worked with. I knew at that very moment, that job was mine, and, at the interview, I accepted the job I was offered on the spot albeit a significant pay drop. Again, I was as happy as I have ever been. I was so close to my dream, I really believed I could stand out on my deck, looking at a star sparkled sky, reach out and grab the one that was mine.

The universe was listening!

I have been extremely privileged the past 14 months to have worked for that lovely local family funeral home, and I have loved and cherished every minute of it. My calling however, has persisted that past 4 months, combined with more than several requests to perform funerals privately, (and ethically and morally, I couldn’t do this), I have taken the biggest leap of faith to date and resigned. BUT…………

I resigned and started my very own business. Yes Des, hold onto your pants my friend, I am now Director of my very own company, The Organic Celebrant – A freelance funeral celebrant business (for both people and pets) that works with ALL the funeral homes and Vets in Adelaide. I have created my own website and guns are a blazing!

I am bouncing out of my skin with determination and anticipation, already have several funeral homes vesting interest in working with me, and I really now believe I have reached my dream. I am so incredibly blessed.

I look forward to seeing you at the next Proteus Leadership Breakfast and I know in my heart, my new Business will go so well.

Thank you again Des, and PLEASE know what you do has a significant IMPACT (although you may not always be able to see this first hand).

Take care, and keep up the wonderful work.

Michelle Jewels-Parsons
Director & Funeral Celebrant

What an inspirational story about someone who dared to make the decisions that were right for her and to make happen a dream that she had been incubating for many years. The lesson in all of this is that when we make the right decisions, then the doors will open up!

So back to my original question; why do people stay in situations they hate and allow themselves to become so miserable?

I can only think that many of them actually enjoy their misery. Now, I appreciate that it is not as simple as just up and leaving. It is really hard to find a job, or change our circumstances however, we do have the ability to make choices and no one can ever take that away from us – so why don’t we exercise that right?

Here are some reasons why people might stay and some things to think about that might help you to make the ‘right’ decisions, for you.

Are you sure you are not the problem? 

This is a controversial question and not one we want to consider. However, the first thing we need to do is to be honest enough to ask this very simple question – “am I the problem?” Now I am sure that the initial response will be, “of course not,” but if we are honest with ourselves, we will realise that nothing is ever one-sided.

What behaviours do you display that impact negatively on others? What do you say that gets people offside? Do you add to the culture or do you take away from it? Do you have a different set of standards and expectations of others than you have of yourself?

If you are a part of the problem, then you need to take responsibility for those things before you move on, otherwise you will take those issues with you to the next place.

Do you focus on the bigger picture?

Our life is a journey not a short trip. Focusing only on short-term situations and events will mean that our short trip will be filled with constant peaks and troughs; of joy and despair. This is a very exhausting way to live.

There is a bigger picture for all of us and we need to focus on the fact that what we are doing right now is part of the evolution of that bigger picture. However, we never progress until we have learned the lessons of the moment. When we do, life seems to help us progress to the next stage.

To love what you do you must first love who you are.

At the root of most of our problems is our relationship with ourselves. The deflection tactic means that in most cases we will focus on someone or something else, rather than face up
to the issue of our own lack of self-esteem.

Unfortunately, workplaces are full of people who have decided that everything negative in their life is somehow the fault of their organisation. Be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you, because this same institution that is the source of all of your problems is also your source of your life. Yep, that is right! It provides the means that funds everything that you do.

Love who you are and then you will find it much easier to rekindle love relationships in your life, including what you do and where you work.

Regain the passion.

Look at what you have achieved. Remember when you once enjoyed what you did and ask yourself – what has changed?

Sure the world has headed in a thousand different directions over the last decade, but how awesome is that? We are so privileged to live in these times of progress and possibility.

But there is one thing that has not changed, and it never will. Only we can make the choice to look at life through a glass half full or a half empty glass.

I believe in self-fulfilling prophecy. What you believe and what you say is exactly what will happen.

Our passion for something does not come via a lightning bolt or as a present in the post. It comes from each of us changing the way we think, speak and act. It comes from getting involved in what we do. It comes from having a strong belief that things will work out.

Passion grows it does not enter our life as a complete emotion!

So, remind yourself of the good things in your life. Remind yourself of why you do what you do and the benefits that you get from doing it. Remind yourself of how you got to this stage in your life. But above all, take back the controls. Make decisions that are right and begin to rebuild all of the love relationships in your life, including your job.


Des penny


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”


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