- Taken from the Newsletter, Stepping Into Transition, 2007
Twenty years ago, I was an unhappy young attorney living in Westchester County, near New York City. I was immersed in a world of billable hours, and was subject to the judgments of partners who couldn't understand why you would leave the office before 7p.m. I wanted a life, and was not happy. I was always drawn to creative pursuits, music, acting, writing, ideas, but I fell into the life of a career as an attorney, because I thought it was something I had to do. After all, I was raised to want to be a professional for the security, the prestige, a solid career. But it was not a good fit and I knew it. One holiday season, my wife, Elise came home excited. She also was a creative person, an art major when we met in college, who was working at a large accounting firm in print production. She had drawn a home made greeting card for 2 co-workers who were dating. He was Jewish, and she was Catholic. She drew a design of half a Star of David combining with Half a Christmas Tree, half gold and half green forming one perfect geometric shape.
I had never seen a design like this, and yet I knew that it would make a great holiday card that would appeal to many of the people we knew who were in interfaith families and relationships. Driven by the dissatisfaction with my legal career and inspiration from this idea, I went on with my wife to create the company, MixedBlessing, an interfaith and multicultural greeting card company. It became a calling to spread the idea of "celebrating diversity" while creating a business that could support us. This one idea changed my life, and with its success gave me the courage to take more chances.
Shortly after the business started taking off, we moved out of New York to Raleigh, NC to create a new lifestyle and to raise our family. I began composing and performing music on piano which had always been a passion. I created my first CD, Dinner Notes, a Smooth Blend of Jazz and Rock in 2000 and Emergence, A Meditative Journey Through the Seasons in 2007.
I encouraged the creative talents of my family. My oldest son Jordan now 18, a gifted guitarist and songwriter studied guitar from age 7 was accepted into the prestigious Berkeley School of Music. Jordan just released his debut EP, "Unpredictable" to positive reviews, and is busy writng and performing his inspiring, soul fused music to a growing legion of fans, Jordan Okrend Music. Earlier this year, my wife Elise, a gifted pastel artist opened a studio in downtown Raleigh to exhibit her work, EliseOkrend.com. At her studio every First Friday of each month has become a celebration of beauty, diversity and peace. Those are the themes that we were drawn to with MixedBlessing and those are the themes that inspire us as we carry on with our current and future projects.
Seven years ago, I became certified as a Life and Business Coach and started Stepping Stones Coaching to help others live and work from their unique talents while overcoming limiting beliefs that may hold them back. Part of my calling was to help and empower others, and it was taking these chances, hearing the call that led me to my current career as a coach. It truly has been a remarkable life journey for me, and I know that this journey can be just as fulfilling and remarkable for you.
Tuning Into Your Callings
I believe that everyone can tune into their callings. It may not be what you think it is. It may not necessarily be grand or sweeping, or coming from an epiphany. It can come from developing the ability to hear the still voice inside that can come subtly from intuition, inclination or just interest. Then you must take action to verify whether you are on the right track.
So, if you have the urge to learn something, take that class. Make that phone call. volunteer or start writing that short story, whatever it is, take that step.
After taking that step, notice how you feel.
Does your energy expand?
Does it contract?
Do you feel better?
Do you feel worse?
Do you feel healthy or do you feel sicker?
Do you feel happier or more miserable?
Then if you notice the green lights, keep going, step by step. It is the accumulation of those steps which honor who you are that will change your life.
As a professional coach, my clients actively move towards their callings. The account-ability structure of the coaching relationship makes taking action fun, inspired with real world tangible results. I invite you to contact me to see how my Coaching Process can connect you to your callings to Achieve a Life filled with Fulfillment, Meaning and Success.
Explore what coaching can do for you. E-mail or call 919-621-1578
to schedule a 30 minute coaching session.
Phil Okrend of Stepping Stones Coaching, is a Certified Life and Business Coach located in Raleigh, NC with clients throughout the U.S.