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Sunday March 13, 2005

If you're not doing what you are, you'll always feel that there's something missing from your life. Theresa Sczcurek had a one-way ticket on that bus to "I don't know where" when she was an engineer for Bell Laboratories. She moved to another seat when she went into marketing for AT&T; the view changed, but the clueless destination remained the same. Szczurek had the courage to changes buses. She decided that she wanted to own her own communications business. In six years, she took her start up from zero to $40 million in sales.

Then she said: "That was cool. What's next?" Szczurek sold her business and went into consulting. The consulting career opened her eyes to the possibility of teaching others how to craft and implement their personal solutions — much like she showed corporate executives how to solve the firm's problems. Szczurek's book, "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life" (John Wiley & Sons, $24.95), explores not only her story, but those of 80 others. These folks aren't workaholics, and they aren't smarter than the rest of us. They are just intensely focused on what's most important to them.

While they are intense, an important part of Szczurek's message is: "Avoid burnout. Be good to yourself, or you're no good to anyone." In keeping with that theme, there's a Self-Inventory, 10-question quiz. As you go through the journey to "doing what you are," you'll need to review your quiz results periodically to remind you that, when self-confidence wavers, self-doubt creeps in.

As you look at Szczurek's success process you'll find it centers on her Practical Pointers:
  1. Prepare. Doing what you are doesn't mean that you continue doing the same thing over and over. Learning who you are is an ongoing part of the what's-next phase.
  2. Decide. You must have expectations. Without specific outcomes to target, you won't be able to measure progress.
  3. Be patient. While plans have timetables, they must be fluid, too. Why? To gel, your plan needs help from others; their timetable may be different than yours.
  4. Take action. Progress is a make-it-happen process.
  5. Connect. Build a support system. Your network is a resource system that allows you to share knowledge.
  6. Test. Your network is also a sounding board, so bounce ideas and ask for input.