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The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success (Touchstone Books (Paperback)) by [Nicholas Lore]

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The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success (Touchstone Books (Paperback)) Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Pathfinder



Once, I was in the same situation you are facing today. It was time to decide what to do with my life. I committed myself to doing whatever was necessary to make a truly excellent career choice because I passionately wanted to wake up in the morning looking forward to going to work each day. This is the book I searched for then but did not find.

I remember an extraordinary, imaginary book that first framed my boyhood vision of what I hope The Pathfinder will be for you. Each month, Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, would find themselves in the middle of a full-tilt comic-book adventure. When things got completely hopeless, when the forces of chaos seemed sure to win, they always pulled off a miracle. Out of their knapsack came their infallible guide and problem solver, The Junior Woodchuck Guidebook. It had an absolutely perfect, creative solution for every situation they stumbled into, no matter how obscure or difficult. It was the complete guide to life.

Since then, I have passionately sought those rare volumes of chuckery that surface in the real world. Every once in a while, one appears—the seminal guidebook to some aspect of life. Inspired by these wonderful books, The Pathfinder is intended to be one small chapter of The Junior Woodchuck Guidebook: how to decide what to do with your life. Whether you are in midcareer change or are making career decisions for the first time, it is designed to get you successfully through the process of planning your future.

How can an intelligent person, committed to choosing a new career path, decide exactly which direction to pursue? That is a question I began asking many years ago. At the time, I was restless and bored with my job. I ran a conservation and solar energy company on the coast of Maine. I had written and been responsible for passing legislation that saved thousands of beautiful historic houses from destruction and had recently been commended for excellence by the White House. My office looked out on a beautiful harbor where lobster boats and foghorns greeted the new day. Yet I had trouble getting through the workday. Even with an extensive background in psychology and Eastern philosophy, I had difficulty understanding why my workday left so much to be desired. How could it be that working on interesting projects in an idyllic setting and making a positive difference in the world and getting recognition could get boring? It was an absolute mystery to me.

I then searched all over New England to find someone to help me solve my problem. I called nearly every counselor in the region. I told them I was seeking to choose a new career where I would be able to wake up in the morning and look forward to work. I said I wanted to find a vocation that was challenging, creative, and that I would passionately enjoy, where I could use my talents to their fullest, doing something that mattered to me. None of them seemed to know what it took to have a really phenomenal career. In fact, I could tell from their voices that many of them didn’t seem to love what they did, either.

Finally, I took my problem to a wise old man who was a fellow member of my boat club. As it turned out, I was lucky enough to pick the ideal supporter, R. Buckminster Fuller. Many people have heard of Bucky because he invented the geodesic dome. The building at Epcot Center that looks like a huge silvery ball is one of his many revolutionary designs. Bucky was much more than an architect. If you can imagine Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda combined in a real person who was at the same time a master futurist, scientist, engineer, architect, inventor, mathematician, philosopher, and mystic, you get a little hint as to who he was. I struggled with my dilemma for what seemed like eons. Ultimately, with his encouragement, I decided to dedicate my life to tackling the very problem I had so much trouble solving myself. I founded an organization dedicated to developing more effective ways to help people make career and education choices.

Since 1981, that organization, Rockport Institute (, has been a pioneer in developing career coaching programs that successfully guide clients through the process of career decision making. These programs consist of clear-cut steps that help clients choose a specific career that will be highly satisfying, give them the opportunity to reach their goals, use their talents at the highest possible level, and be practical and achievable. From the beginning, we have been committed to developing the best tools to help people make the best decisions. Rockport Institute has helped many thousands of clients from all walks of life: young and old, rich and poor, scientists, professionals, executives in career change, artists, professional athletes, students, and people reentering the workforce. Our clients include people who have been fabulously successful and others who never reached their goals because of an ill-fitting career. We have had the opportunity to serve as personal career consultants to several national and global leaders, C-level executives of Fortune 500 companies, senior policy makers of four presidential administrations, and people in nearly every field of endeavor. Our clients have one thing in common: a strong desire for a very fulfilling career.

For the last thirty years, as director of Rockport Institute, my single-minded passion has been to help intelligent, complex people like you live remarkable lives that are self-expressed and satisfying by stretching themselves beyond their everyday circumstances and the perceived limitations that hold them back. I have written this book to duplicate, as closely as possible, the experience you would have if we were to sit together in the same room and work step-by-step until you reach your goal: knowing for sure what you will do with your life—or, at least, this part of it. In these pages, you will find a pathway through the process of deciding what to do with your life that can actually get you to (or closer to) the goal line. For the first time, you will have access to most of what you need to reach your goal of picking an outrageously excellent new direction, choosing your first career, or tuning up your present path. By looking from new perspectives at the questions you have previously been unable to answer, you will finally have a chance to sort them out.

You will also have an opportunity to look into areas of your life you may have never considered before. You will find some of these components absolutely critical to making the best possible career decision. The Pathfinder will help you break everything important down into small, bite-size pieces and deal with them one by one. Far from offering a generic, cookie-cutter approach, this book will enable you to customize your journey through the morass of questions and uncertainties to fit your own particular needs.

I will completely respect and appreciate you and your unique nature. At the same time, I won’t pull punches or be too polite to give it to you straight. I don’t mind at all if you jump up and down and curse me when you get frustrated. After all, I’m just a book.

The Pathfinder will help you examine every aspect of your life that relates to career. Designed to be a universal guide, it should work for you regardless of your age, background, education, point of view, and experience. If you are a recently deposed emperor, you won’t be treated like a teenager. And if you are a teenager, don’t worry, you won’t be treated like a deposed emperor. Rather than just discussing theoretical ideals about career fulfillment, The Pathfinder is designed to actually take you toward your goal of deciding exactly what you will do with your life.

Using this book as your guide may take you all the way to your goal of designing a career that is both perfect for you and practical. It has guided many thousands of intelligent, committed people all the way to having 100 percent certainty about what they will do with their lives. Others make it most of the way or partway to that goal, but need time, experience, professional coaching, or something else to cross the finish line. The Rockport Career Design Method you will use throughout this book helps you answer the question “What am I sure will be the important components of my work?” The most powerful way to design your career is to become sure about the answers to questions such as “How will I make best use of my natural talents and personality?” “What workplace environment will support my best effort?” “How important is it to do something that personally matters to me, and what specifically will that be?” Asking and answering those big questions about your future build islands of certainty that move your career design project forward. Becoming absolutely sure about one piece of the puzzle makes it easier to sort out the other pieces.

You Can Do It!

The difficulties you may have faced, the times you have gotten stuck, and the less than perfect decisions you may have made previously do not signify that there is something wrong with you or that the world of work must be a hard, dark, cold, dreary place. If you want to do something with your life that really sings and soars, all you need to do is to start your journey here. No matter what your situation, you can do it if you go for it wholeheartedly and keep going until you arrive at your destination. But remember, this book can’t do it for you. Only you can make the choices that build your future work, piece by piece.

Decide How You Are Going to Keep Track of Everything

Before you start this career design process, please decide what format you will use to keep notes and do inquiries. If you are 100 percent digital, create a folder or whatever works for you to organize this project. If not, get a good notebook. An old-fashioned three-ring binder would be perfect. In any event, don’t use your head to store your clues, insights, decisions, and questions. Write them down.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.


“A brilliant, passionately written book! If you want to have a career you will love, this is the one to read.” – JACK CANFIELD co-author, Chicken Soup for the Soul --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B004T4KREM
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Touchstone; Revised edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ January 3, 2012
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 4881 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 450 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 500 ratings

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"How do I find work that fits me perfectly? Can I have a career I'm passionate about? -a job that's not a big compromise, realistic, uses my talents fully, fits my personality, doing something I enjoy that matters to me?" These are questions that master career coach and social scientist Nicholas Lore has helped hundreds of thousands of people answer. As the director of Rockport Institute (, his work has been commended for excellence by President Clinton. "In writing The Pathfinder, I put on paper the same process we use to coach clients through making a career change. Even though our work is about career choices, it is actually about life choices, and about creating one's life and future rather than having the past decide what we will do."

Lore's Rockport Institute has coached more intelligent, complex people, working one-on-one, through career change (and original choice for younger clients) than any other organization. The lessons learned give his books depth and breadth, passion and experience.


I was born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, like my childhood hero Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, in a little village with dirt roads that turned to mud when the perfect blue Appalachian skies cried on the men who, along with my father, made atomic bombs.

Later on I lived in Greenwich Village during the days when it was the center of the explosion of creativity that was The Sixties. My fellow villagers were people like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. My great passion was inquiring into unexplored possibilities: how could people live their lives creatively, fully self-expressed and fulfilled, without giving up their sense of wonder and play. I studied psychology, Eastern philosophy, anthropology and literature, and participated in the 60's full tilt. My friends became rock stars, explorers, painters, writers, and scientists who had found their means of self-expression. Some gained worldwide renown. I still had no idea what to do with my life. Work was just a way to make a living.

I got married at the age of 27. I thought I had better start acting like a responsible adult and settle down. A fellow offered me the job of plant manager of his factory, mainly because I was honest and his previous manager wasn't. My final job was running an energy conservation company on the coast of Maine. Even though I was passionate about the subject matter, I became restless and bored with it, just as I had with every previous job.

I looked all over New England to find a career expert who could guide me through the process of choosing a more fulfilling direction. I was shocked to find that career counseling methods were extremely primitive, the technological equivalent of 16th century surgery. I was very fortunate that a fellow member of my local boat club, R. Buckminster Fuller, became a mentor to me. Through his coaching and support, I dedicated my life to creating powerful and effective career coaching methods that would allow anyone to choose a career direction that would fit them so well they would be able to wake up in the morning with enthusiasm for the workday ahead. In 1981, I founded Rockport Institute. Our philosophy is that, with dedication and hard work, anyone can choose or change to a career that they are passionate about, and fits them completely.

Rockport Institute developed a wide range of new career design tools and methods. We called our work "career coaching" years before personal coaching became a household word. We realized that most career assistance was (and still is today) prescriptive: you would take some assessments or talk to a counselor and they would prescribe a list of fitting jobs or give you some advice. Even the best counseling stopped at exploration. They didn't seem to have any tools that would take a client or reader all the way to the point of certainty about their specific future work. Our methodology was (and is) completely different: based on coaching you through a career design project.

Making the best choices should never be based on taking an experts word as truth. In order to choose components of your future work, you've got to do whatever is necessary to become sure about the importance of each piece of the puzzle. The best question is "what am I sure will be some definite components of my future work." It turns out that up-to-date research in neuroscience backs up the effectiveness of this method. The brain is not very proficient at making personal choices based on lots of maybes. It is much better at working on career decisions one step at a time, and making choices piece-by-piece.

With the Rockport Career Design Method™, you start by delving into the most vital elements of career success and fulfillment to find clues revealing the fit between you and the working world: natural talents, personality, temperament, goals, passions, vision, life-style, values, commitments, practicality, and your degree of willingness to stretch for new horizons. Then, as a sort-of career detective, you "work" the best clues and start building definite components/specifications of your future work.

We have coached more than 14,000 clients (mid-career changers, young adults and students) through the morass of uncertainty to making the best possible career decisions. These programs combine in-depth testing of natural abilities, talents, aptitudes, etc., with a complete exploration of clients' personalities, temperament, values, commitments, passions, spirituality, habits and life-style. Then, clients put all the pieces together into a practical, doable career choice, a new direction that they designed themselves. Clients represent all walks of life: young and old, rich and poor, professionals, artists, students and people reentering the work force. I have done my best to include much of what we have learned over the years into my books, "The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success" and "NOW WHAT? The Young Person's Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career."

President Clinton was kind enough to commend my work. He wrote: "I am heartened by your efforts to empower people to lead productive and fulfilling lives... As you well understand, knowing one's own gifts and talents is a powerful tool for finding work that is challenging and rewarding...The success of this information revolution will ultimately depend on the dedication and commitment of individuals who, like you, care deeply about helping people reach their creative and productive potential. (Your career coaching programs represent) the kind of effort our country needs in order to meet the demands of a global economy."

In the distant past I have been: a CEO, entrepreneur, plant manager of a manufacturing company, researcher in psychology, blues musician, well driller, and paperboy.

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