Life on
Purpose book cover

Career Dreams, Inc., Dreamweaver

“Acting is definitely where my talent lies and I love it,” says Diane, “but there was always this deflated feeling like, ‘Is that it?,’ especially when the money started to come in. Instead of flying with it and feeling thrilled, I’d almost feel bad. Other people would be impressed by my success but I’d feel like, somehow, it just wasn’t the full thing I came to the planet to do.”

Then a woman in Diane’s ballet class suggested she contact Greg Braendel, president of the Los Angeles based Career Dreams, Incorporated (CDI). Braendel, a former actor, has developed a system designed to have people discover within themselves their personal talent and career dreams. During their initial interview which revolved around a series of 20 questions, something happened.

While the questions are not unusual by themselves, such as, “are you going in the right direction to achieve your dreams or goals, and, “how well do you communicate your thoughts to people,” the sequence in which they are asked and the manner in which the interview is facilitated produces unexpected results. “As I was answering the questions all this stuff started coming out that were secrets from myself,” says Diane. “I surprised myself with the revelations.” From the interview Diane discovered that underneath her plan to be the star of a TV sit-com was a much more important plan.

“I want to work in a medium where people will listen to me,” says Diane. “I want to be on television to talk about life and to share with people truths and illuminating experiences that I have been through, myself.”

Many people are discovering that CDI’s approach of basing a career on their talents and dreams instead of relying only on their previous experience is expanding their horizons beyond anything previously imagined. Says Braendel, “Everyone is brilliant at something and uncovering that talent empowers us to find the job we should be doing. We need to change our thinking. We should not be looking for jobs governed by our experience but rather by our dreams.”

Unfortunately, many people are not in touch with their dreams, and as Braendel points out, when this is true, even if a person has a job which is somewhat satisfying, they are left with the question, “Is that all there is?” “Not only are many people questioning, ‘Is this the only job that exists for me,’ but even that job is going away,” says Braendel. “Many of the jobs we’ve been doing, that we’ve not liked are going away. There are no more jobs in their areas of experience. We are going through a major change in the whole process of careers.”

One of the first steps in getting a career on track in the 90s is to identify your God-given talents, and “we’ve all known them since we were a baby,” says Braendel. Many people have simply lost touch with them. A person’s talent may be their ability to get along with people, or to inspire and motivate. Other people’s talents are in the details. These people often love libraries and research. They may be natural problem solvers. Other people’s gift may be their ability to take an idea, clarify it, and then implement it. Once you’ve identified your talent which is your power, the next step is to start basing your decisions on what will most effectively leverage this talent. “Then you’ll be making the right decisions,” says Braendel, “not based on what your parents, or friends, or society says you should be doing.”

But where does all that experience you’ve worked so hard for come into the new equation? After all, doesn’t everyone look at your experience to decide whether you are qualified for your next job? Start by identifying industries and opportunities that allow you to use your natural gifts to the max. For example, if one of your talents is working with details, find the detail-oriented jobs. If you love working with your hands, make a list of all the jobs requiring manual dexterity. Then, use your experience to move you along the pathway to your dream career.

Braendel relates the example of the young college student about to graduate from Texas A&M with a degree in accounting, based on well-meaning advice from his father. While working with CDI, he determined his real dream was to work with preschoolers, but what was he to do with all those years of accounting school? No problem. Instead of looking for an accounting job with a company, he looked for a job with a private school, using his accounting experience to move himself closer to his dream career.

“Your dream can very easily be ten years out and that’s wonderful,” says Braendel. “Then you are working on the jobs you are doing now and you’ve got a place you’re going to. You’re not at a dead end street anymore.”

One of the best ways to redirect your career to fit your talent and dreams is to rewrite your resume to highlight your natural gifts. According to Braendel, one of the biggest mistakes most people make in preparing a resume is writing it themselves. You can always describe someone else better than you can describe yourself.

Also, know what your objective is, what you want in your next job, which becomes clearer when you know what your talents and dreams are. Then, be sure your resume is written in the language of the person who will read it, not necessarily in the jargon of your previous employment.

“This process is a lot of work,” admits Braendel. Is it worth it? Imagine what the world would be like if everyone worked at a job or career where they could fully utilize their God-given talents, doing what they most loved to do. What would it be like if you were able to fully express your talents at work, and thereby fulfill your dreams? You better believe it’s worth it. Just ask Diane. Through her work with CDI’s follow-up support group, Diane has produced a pilot for her own show, “Talk to Me,” in seven months “worth about $50,000 for only $6,000 because everybody gave of their time and effort,” says Diane. “That’s how much people want to do something good and worthy.”

by W. Bradford Swift