Maximize YOU!


How do we manifest Better Endings in relation to our work & career? A number of factors come to mind, including: “Love What You Do, and Do What You Love;” “Aim High;” and “Be True to Yourself”.  We could merge these into a single Better Endings principle: “Maximize You!”

Lidiya’s guest post on Thursday, The Only Way to Get What You Want, reblogged from her Let’sReach site reminds us that commitment is important to success in any endeavor. Her suggestions reinforce the idea of “Maximize You”. Here below I repeat again her suggested 6 points to remember:

1. It’s absolutely possible to reach all your goals.

2. You already have what it takes.

3. You’ll need to work hard.

4. Then to do it repeatedly.

5. You’ll need to go the extra mile and go beyond what is considered average.

6. It will also take dedication and sacrifices.

Allow me to add some thoughts regarding the several aspects of “Maximize You!” mentioned above.


Aim High

Setting goals beyond the immediate project or beyond your current role can stimulate you to envision new possibilities for growth and development. When you complete your current project with excellence, how might it lead to something beyond that project that is worthy of your attention and adaptive skillset?

Be True to Yourself

Are you where you want to be, doing all that you are capable of in this context? Then good! You are where you are meant to be, where you can learn most, already! (Better Endings isn’t necessarily or always about change.) Is there something else you would like to be doing and that you could, by Aiming High, potentially achieve? Maximizing You means you get to BE YOU, wherever you are. Be honest and open with yourself, and with others. Goethe wrote: “As soon as you Trust Yourself, you will know how to live.”

Love What You Do, Do What You Love

This old adage actually encapsulates a dynamic principle of itself, which comes down to maintaining a positive Attitude. My father who grew up on a farm in Kentucky during the Great Depression and went on to serve as a bomber pilot in the Pacific in WWII then later earned a Ph.D. in metallurgy and worked as an Aeronautics Engineer on the first shuttle, used often to counsel me: “If you’re going to be a ditch digger, then be the very best ditch digger you can be!” (BTW, he worked for A&T digging ditches to lay telephone wire while in college, so he was speaking from experience.) No matter what you are doing, if you apply all of your capabilities to doing that job well, it will maximize your potentials in that role while also preparing you for something greater.



As we develop our potentials, new potentials open up for us to move into; our lives expand according to the unfolding of our interests and abilities.

All this can be summed up even more simply: “Never Sell Yourself Short!”

If you can imagine a goal—and you can—you can envision a pathway to reach your goal. Follow that pathway you envision and you set a process into motion that will bring you into the Nowness of your goal achieved.

It helps as well, though, to conceive of your goal in terms of VALUES rather than as material objectives. If you Aim High to be Happier at your current job, for example, and you are True to Yourself, then in the process of giving that job or process your all, you expand your potentials so that, perhaps, new opportunities will arise.

But after all, I would also remind anyone, don’t “beat yourself up” if where you are is precisely where you need to be, even if you might wish it could be otherwise. You can Maximize You anywhere, in any current situation. Better Endings is not necessarily about “improving” a situation; sometimes it can mean simply being YOU within the situation you are in, as fully—as mindfully—as you are presently able. Sometimes we may simply count our blessings for all that we have, and give of ourselves from Here and Now, so that all good things can simply Be as they Are, and we grow accordingly.


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Your insights are always welcome!

Your Work/Career LifeMap–What’s Your Next Step ?


What does your history of work and career-related experience reveal about you in terms of your basic interests, passions, values, and your goals or aspirations? Can you trace patterns of development in how you have arrived at your current occupational and avocational situation? Where do you hope to be headed from here, and how will you get there?

To explore how life mapping as a general practice can be helpful in providing personal insights about work and career related life patterns and trends, I have mapped my own. To do this yourself, you may simply list all of the jobs or responsibilities and your career related experiences from very early in your life, til now. If you did the same thing repeatedly, list every time you did that; for example if your waitressed several times, repeat “waitress” in your list to reflect that pattern. When I did this I found I could identify an obvious  series of “stages” with regard to types of jobs and career related activities I have engaged in over time. So, I found it natural to “block” groups of work-related activities together according to developmental time frames. My work-related life-mapping to that point is shown below as an example:

Household chores  student   mow lawn   wax cars {learning responsibility, potentials, gender bender}

Ice chipping at Fair    crab/salmon cannery   Farmhand (suckering grape vines; trimming and picking peach trees)   summer drama coach assistant    usher/toll booth ticket seller at performing arts center {outdoors, physical labor; arts related}

/ college: student  reader   writer  journaling/ poetry   fencer /  {development of unique skills and              interests/outlook}

bar cleaner/solo    Mr. Softee icecream truck driver   {independent activities, nontraditional}

tutor    instructor    researcher    library researcher   author  teaching asst  fieldworker/researcher    faculty associate/ instructor   professor (assistant to associate)   spiritual services provider (talks, classes, workshops, writing PR)   author    personal development process developer    state spiritual services director    academic  committee member/chair   dept chair    personal development coach    author  {academics, spiritual services,  and then public oriented/ “applied research” author}

I created word clouds for each stage next to help me identify and reflect upon repeating themes in each grouping. Here is just the last one of those:


This process has helped me recognize a progression that, in my case, is leading toward a definite shift to a new stage and a major new direction. If I were being a bit more techy here—maybe you can do this with your word-cloud software—I would color-code specific kinds of words to track their development over time; for me, anything related to writing I would code BLUE, for instance, to trace the emergence and gradual transformation of that specific interest and activity. The shift my work/career lifemap reveals to me is that where writing has always been an avocation and later a professional tool, it has increasingly become a primary career focus, so much so that this mapping has given me a definite confirmation and support for an intention I have been nurturing but have been reluctant to act on for the sake of financial stability. My career mapping reinforces for me  that my next step (in 2.5-3 yrs) is ‘retirement’ from my academic position in order to engage full-time with writing and related public service aspirations.


Does your life-mapping of work and career-related activity reveal a pattern of growth and development in your life? Based on your mapping, what would be a natural next step, for you? How can you move yourself into a position to pursue that aspiration fully?

The main goal of a life mapping process is to empower you to Live Your Dream, Now! Reviewing where you have been in relation to where you are now can help provide a strong motivation to focus your attention on where it is you are going from here, and how you can get Here!

I welcome all of your Comments, your personal insights, and Stories