Interview with Craig Nathanson,
P is for Perfect: Your Perfect Vocational Day
Interview: Dr. Serena Williamson Andrew, President of Book Coach Press, with Craig Nathanson, The Vocational Coach™ and the author of the new book: P is for Perfect: Your Perfect Vocational Day
Order your copy now at www.thevocationalcoach.com or by calling 877-698-6228
Interviewer: Craig, thanks for agreeing to get together with me today.
Craig: Sure, my pleasure.
Interviewer: Can you describe what life was like for you in the years before you found your true work which you are doing today?
Craig: My work life was meaningless. Every day felt empty. I was sad inside. This carried over into my family life. It was difficult to appreciate anything or anybody. I looked at others who seemed to be enjoying their work and wondered what was wrong with me. I always used to think to myself, ‘’Why can’t I just enjoy what I do?’’
Interviewer: This is a similar question, but I am curious what lead you to believe that something in your vocational life needed to change at all? Was there a particular trigger? What put you on the quest to find your vocational passion?
Craig: Yes, I’ll never forget it. I was giving this budget review that I had given many times before to the senior management team at work. All of a sudden in the middle of the review, I felt dizzy and sweaty. I forgot what I was speaking about and realized that I didn’t even care. The audience asked if I was all right. When I couldn’t continue, I went straight home and broke down crying. My wife told my mother in-law that I was having a breakdown. In the morning I tried going to the office. I got as far as the parking lot and physically couldn’t get out of the car.
Interviewer: Wow! That’s some experience!
Craig: I knew then that I could never do this again. I could never again do something that I had no interest in despite the financial rewards. I went home and wrote my resignation.
Interviewer: That must have been difficult for your family to understand.
Craig: It was. They thought I had a nervous breakdown
Interviewer: Before making the decision to follow your vocational passion, what was your typical day like?
Craig: The middle was the worst. I would start the day with a run followed by breakfast with the newspaper. I would end the day around my family and studying. During the day, I constantly had this feeling like I was dying inside. It was the worst feeling I ever had. It was constant
Interviewer: What do you mean constant?
Craig: Sort of like the feeling you get in the dentist office when they call your name to come back. You just want to go hide, be alone, and wish it would be over. That was the worst, not knowing how to make it better
Interviewer: At the time I assume you didn’t realize you had the power to make it better yourself?
Craig: Yes, you are right… I always kept hoping that either the next raise or pile of stock would help or the company would go out of business. I got the raises and stock part, the later never happened, and my feelings never went away
Interviewer: Boy, you must have really hated your work to have such devastating thoughts about it.
So, what is your vocational passion anyway?
Craig: Writing, teaching and counseling
Interviewer: How did you discover this?
Craig: Well, throughout my pain, I noticed that many of my peers around me seemed disillusioned with corporate America and unhappy So, I invented this personal development class and for about ten weeks, I taught this class at a local hotel to over 100 employees. And during those moments of teaching and listening and reflecting around what others were telling me and sharing, I knew I had found something. I knew inside I could do this 24 hours a day, non-stop. At that point I knew this was the real me, A person who was helping making a difference in others lives.
Interviewer: Can you describe how this feels when you are making this the main focus on your day -- as you described -- teaching, writing, and counseling.
Craig: I feel fulfilled. I feel that I am contributing something which will last a lifetime. I feel I am doing now what I was meant to do.
Interviewer: What has been your experience when your environment blocks you from experiencing your vocational passion?
Craig: I shut down. I get depressed. I pick up bad habits. I am not happy and therefore I am not interested in anyone around me. I pretty much go into a shell.
Interviewer: How has following your vocational path altered you?
Craig: Wow... I am not sure where to start except to say that in many ways, the world has opened to me. I am happier and I feel more energy each and every day. I feel more confident. I have sort of proven my own theory which is that when you truly open up your heart to what you are truly passionate about, you become a magnet for your dreams. So it has affected me in
many great ways and I am not even sure I could put it into words. And I know it has only just begun
Interviewer: How has this changed your life, your relationships, and your view of the world?
Craig: (long pause) (deep breath)…I’ll start with my relationships. My wife who I have been married to for almost 20 years has frankly been concerned with all my changes. But recently I think she has seen how much happier I am and how important this is to me. She has started to believe in me and realize that I can do whatever I want to do and be successful and that has given me so much more confidence. There are days however when my wife looks at me and says that our current situation is not reality. I know what she means,.but I don’t agree. In her mind, at some point I need to get a real job and this flexible schedule has to end. I used to want to prove her wrong. Not any more. I just filter her comments and keep moving on.
Interviewer: That must be difficult. I have to hand it to you for your courage.
Craig, has being able to follow your vocational passion altered any of your life goals and if so, in what ways?
Craig: When I was teaching this past semester at the college level, I gave this exercise to my students. I asked them to write their biography in the year 2008. Then I had them write their current biography in the year 2003 and then examine the gaps. Well, moving into my vocational passion has allowed me to realize that my own 2008 biography is not a fantasy but it is real. This has allowed me to move forward.
Interviewer: Wonderful. How about now? Can you describe for me how your day is now?
Craig: Well, you know I almost want to giggle when I talk about it. When I see strangers in the street, I almost want to yell at them and say, ‘’you know, you could have a better life too!’’
I get up in the morning and I drive my daughter or older son to school. Then I usually go for a long run through the trails at a local park. I come back and have breakfast with my five-year old and then go into my study and pretty much create my day. Right now I have split my days between speaking, teaching, counseling, writing, marketing and completing my Ph.D.. All of sudden, everything in life seems connected. Everything seems real and exciting. So that’s my typical day. The most important thing now is that because now that I do my work during the day, I am free to spend the evenings with my family just hanging out which is something I have never done before.
Interview: What do you mean you never did this before?
Craig: Well, before I would come home from work, rush through dinner, always thinking about when I could get into my study and do ‘’my work’’. I feel like I ignored my family which felt terrible and I always felt this horrid conflict. A lousy way to live….Now I feel like I have regained my family back. The other observation I have made is how quickly my days pass. And I still don’t accomplish half of what I want to do. It makes me think back over the past 25 years in corporate America doing meaningless work and how that environment gave me a perception I was busy and getting things done. What a farce! Now, I have this increased sense of urgency in my own work.
Interview: Ah, I see. Interesting Craig: And the best feeling is that at the end of each evening, I know that in the morning I am going to get up and get to do what I want to do because the day is totally under my control Interview: Has following your vocational passion caused any problems in your life?
Craig: (Long pause) Well, you know whenever you declare around family and friends that you are going to do something that’s different, there tends to be a negative reaction. I think It holds
up a mirror for them. They think, we’ll, if he can do it, then why can’t I? It provokes a lot of jealously. But I think this is short term because I find that by moving forward with my passion, I am able to not let those things get to me very much. I think the best way for me to deal with these challenges has been to move forward and quite frankly, although this is a challenge at times, I never look back
Interview: Great…Craig. Are there any questions I should have asked you or that you would have liked to respond to.
Craig: Um, I don’t think so. The only comment I would say is that I really believe in my heart that the world would be a better place if all people had the courage, if you will, to follow what they love to do the most. And I see that possibility in everyone and unfortunately, I also see the negative programming in most people that prevent them from moving forward. I hope that with my new life that I have created, I can make a difference for others in the same way I have made a difference for myself.
Interviewer: Thank you Craig very much. I can see you are very passionate about what you do and I am sure we can all learn a lot from you and thanks again for your time
Craig: Thank you
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