The Warmer-Colder Game: How Your Inner Compass Can Help You Find Your Dream Career

I listened to a Martha Beck call recently during which she talked about the warmer-colder game.

During the warmer-colder game you’re listening to your inner compass, which helps you navigate through life and connect with your heart’s desires.

If you’re not familiar with the game, it basically works like this: when you’re searching for something, whether it’s your car keys or your life purpose, you’re either getting warmer, or you’re getting colder.

When you’re getting warmer, you’re getting closer to the thing you want and you feel excited and energized. You’re motivated to keep going because you know you’re on the right track.

When you’re getting colder, you’re moving away from the thing, and you feel a sense of dread or frustration. You may even feel lost. You have to change direction or look elsewhere; otherwise you’ll experience more of the same.

Feeling warmer or colder will help you determine if you’re going in the right direction. These sensations are your body’s way of guiding you to your next right steps.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Just tune-in to those feelings and everything will fall into place. Awesome! And maybe you’ll find some money under that couch, next to your keys.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Many people know what feels warmer or colder but choose not to pay attention. Often it’s easier to default to the norm and do whatever everyone else is doing, or do what’s expected, or stick with the things that are familiar or comfortable. Change is scary. You’d rather not deal with uncertainty.

Even though your keys are probably hiding in a dark place somewhere, you search where the light is because it’s easier. Even though your job fills your bank account, it doesn’t feed your soul. You keep showing up anyway because it’s easier than doing the work of stepping out on your own or choosing a non-traditional path.

Maybe you have some idea of what your dream career looks like, but you’ve convinced yourself that it’s too frivolous or weird. Maybe you wanted to choose an exciting career in marine biology but someone in your life frowned on the idea because playing with sea life all day sounded absurd. It wasn’t serious and what about advancement and pension? It wasn’t “normal,” so you ignored your body’s signals and chose the safety and security of a cubicle.

Even in everyday life, you might believe you need to focus on tasks you dislike before you can indulge in the ones you love. Maybe you don’t believe you deserve to enjoy your life.

Pause for a moment and ask yourself why. Why can’t you take the time to enjoy activities that light you up? What’s wrong with focusing on the things you love? What do you gain by ignoring your desires?

You may not have any answers right away, but here’s one thing to try:

Shed the “shoulds.” They keep you from listening to your inner compass. And chances are those “shoulds” come from other people and their ideas about life. When you separate those ideas from your own you’ll get rid of what’s no longer serving you. This will clear the space for you to begin figuring out what you want and to feel into what makes you feel warm inside, and brings you joy.

Paying attention to what feels warm or cold will help you on your unique path to happiness. Let your body be your compass. It’ll guide you toward the work – and life – that you’ve been longing for, and you don’t need a vacation from.

You deserve to have a career you love, and you CAN make it happen!

Felicia Baucom
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