I recently read that a significant portion of the North American working population elect to turn down a promotion, or even choose to take a reduction in pay, in order to spend more time at home or pursuing an interest.

  Research has also revealed that most employees gain greater satisfaction from a workplace that incorporates flexible work hours, employee appreciation, development and training, and other such perks rather than receiving pay increases or bonuses.

  What is increasingly being appreciated by employers is the fact that we employees are, after all, human beings. We did not check our dreams, aspirations, gifts, passions and more at the door when we began to receive pay-cheques!

  As one who has never had the responsibility for children or aging parents, I admit that I am in a privileged place in terms of pursuing my own dreams. Yet I know of many others who, for the sake of their families, do make significant choices about the kind of work they do, where they live, and more.

  Why? While it may be possible that we get more than one opportunity to live life here on planet earth, there is no guarantee. Life is a gift and like any gift, if it is valued, it will be used well, cherished and celebrated.

  When I chose to reduce my marriage and family therapy practice so that I could start my energy savings business I knew it would be risky. It is a business poorly understood or valued by most people, and the mid-island area is known for its tendency to resist new technologies.

  And yet, to not have taken this opportunity to do what I am even more passionate about – this would have been like a mini-death! How could I not use my gifts and knowledge to help others and, ultimately, this beautiful planet? My heart and soul said I needed to pursue this dream.

  Of course any self-chosen change may bring with it fear, anxiety, self-doubt and even depression, however small. I found that instead when I converted my fear-turned-anger into courage – using courage to face the challenges to motivate me, opens doors, thus making a difference in the world – only then could I move forward.

  Many are likely familiar with the “Law of Attraction.” Certainly any attempt to attract the kind of life one desires must be done with an attitude of positivity to be successful. This has been true for me.

  I would add something more to this concept: tuning into one’s deepest convictions, beliefs, intuition and one’s “soul” is extremely important. Simply “wanting” more is not usually enough.

  Why? Separating wants from a core vision in the midst of a very consumerist society, one that confuses “needs” with “wants”, poses a real challenge. Talking things over with my closest friends, meditating, praying, being still and quiet have all been instrumental in better discerning what course is true and best for me.

  And what a life it has become!

Ian Gartshore is a self-employed, realistic dreamer.