Dan Erickson's Story
In my late teens and early twenties, I found myself making “accidental” decisions based on not being connected to my authentic self. Just being myself wasn’t enough. These decisions would end up affecting me for decades. In what seems like the blink of an eye, I found myself in a 25-year sales and marketing career that, while bringing me professional and financial success, left me little in the way of fulfillment and happiness.
Professional success and advancement, big paycheck, lovely wife, supportive family and friends, all seemed to point to a man who had it all. The American dream! So, what was missing?
Happiness and self-fulfillment had escaped me as I pursued what I thought I was supposed to – work for work’s sake and take care of my family. I remained in a career I didn’t like because I had family responsibilities; meanwhile, I always felt inferior – the only way people will notice me is if I have money. In other words, I identified money and things as my self-worth. My ability to earn a sizeable paycheck and save a considerable amount of money only validated that distorted sense of self-worth. Money represented security, stability and value to me.
At the same time, I didn’t feel I was smart enough to try to break free of this damaging cycle. I felt like a fraud and settled for jobs that I could do while never challenging myself to pursue loftier goals. I had a lot of “clutter” and it was keeping me stuck in a career that was extracting an emotional and physical toll. As explained by Ray in Core Themes, clutter is “a sort of mental noise, a messy chorus of thoughts that consists of rationalizations for staying where you are.”
The only thing I knew for certain was that I was very unhappy and had been for many years. It wasn’t simply a bad boss or not liking the company’s policies or not earning enough money or too much travel. No, whatever was at the root cause of my discontent was much more serious. Something was missing but I didn’t know what. All I knew was that I was unhappy and had no sense of purpose in my career.
And I saw no way out.
I began my Core Themes work with a good measure of skepticism that it could lead to any type of real and lasting change. There was also the matter of drawing from my savings to pay for a program that only promised to help him understand myself at a deeper level but offered no guarantees that I would find my “dream” job.
It was early in the process with Ray that I had my first of many breakthroughs. Ray and I were reviewing the scores on my Analytical Judgment Test, a test that measures analytical and conceptual thinking ability. Ray explained to me that I scored at a very high percentile on analytical and conceptual thinking when compared to a group of top executives. He went on to explain that these were very impressive scores and objective proof that I had the cognitive ability to achieve success in many areas. I could no longer call myself a fraud! Given my long belief that I wasn’t very smart, Ray basically wouldn’t let me leave the session until I admitted that I was indeed an intelligent individual capable of achieving greater accomplishments than I had to date. As we progressed through the process, I began to gain more confidence that something positive was going to come out of the hard work I was doing in Core Themes to figure out what I really wanted to do in life.
Since completing the Core Themes program my career path has been a journey grounded in authenticity and fulfillment. My motives now come from within. Not only am I motivated and satisfied in my career, I am more present for my family and friends and for the things in life that bring me true joy and meaning. Facing my clutter and its associated fears to live through my Core Themes has led me to a successful life based on my definition of success and nobody else’s.
Professionally I went from thinking I would always be stuck working for others in an unfulfilling job to writing a business plan for the creation of a new business. Then, using the highly effective networking techniques taught in the Core Themes process, I was able to meet with and present the plan to the eHarmony Board of Directors. After which I was invited to move from Maine to Los Angeles to lead all aspects of the successful development and launch of that organization’s first ever successful new business vertical, Elevated Careers by eHarmony. Furthermore, in 2017 I led the successful sale of the product and business unit to a leading company in the Talent Acquisition industry!
That success has given me the freedom to pursue my Core Themes of helping people at a more intimate level. In December of 2020, I received my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and have launched my private mental health counseling practice. My experiences through discovering and living my Core Themes has provided me with great insight and motivation to be able to help others overcome the blockages and clutter that keep them from believing in themselves and pursuing their true passions.