Remember when you were a kid and started compiling your Christmas List the day after school started in the fall? I’m old enough to recall the arrival of the Sears & Roebuck Christmas Catalog ---- oh what a treasure trove. I wanted this and this and this and just HAD to have that. Fall passed, leaves fell and Michigan settled in for the long winter ahead. Nothing mattered to my brother and me except thumbing through the never-ending array of toys in that catalog. Our lists were changed and revised so many times it’s a wonder Santa (or Mom) ever figured out what we REALLY wanted. But somehow the right things always ended up under the tree on Christmas morning.
Fast Forward 40 (OK ---- make that 50!) years. What rings m y bell today? What do I REALLY want at this time in my life? Get out a paper and pen and ask yourself that question. Pretend you’re a child again and the holidays are approaching. What would be on YOUR Wish List today?
Just as the lists of our childhood changed daily, the lists of adulthood change daily too. Don’t misunderstand me --- there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. Without dreams we’d miss a lot of great opportunities. But at some point we have to focus our energies in order to realize those dreams.
But I WANT That Job!
Years ago I interviewed for a job with a well-known trial lawyer. I wanted that job so very badly --- he’d made national headlines and I just saw myself zooming to the top of the heap if I worked for him. Unfortunately he was not so sure. The position he was hiring for required far less education and experience than I had. And he was smart enough to appreciate that.
After numerous interviews and conversations, as I (foolishly) begged him for the opportunity to work for him, he taught me a valuable lesson. Painful as they were, I will never forget his words on the phone that evening: “This job will never challenge you. In a few months you will be bored to tears. You deserve better. Find the fire in your belly and chase THAT dream. If you have a fire in your belly, you will do a great job and enjoy every moment you are doing it. Without that fire, you will was te your life and lose the respect of those you work with.”
Wow. Little did I know how long those words would ring in my ears. Over the years I often witnessed firsthand the wisdom of those words as I watched so many come into the legal field only to leave a few months later --- totally disillusioned with a career choice made on the basis of what someone else wanted.
Memories . . . .
As a child I remember passing a local shoe salesman at the local diner --- he was in the process of pouring Bromo Seltzer (an antacid made from acetaminophen, sodium bicarbonate and citric acid) from one glass to another to dissolve the powder in the water. This man and my parents had gone to school together and he was considered a family friend. I asked my Mother what he was doing and why. Mom said he was taking the foaming liquid for a hangover. Nobody in my family drank (or at least nobody that I new of at that time), so the term meant nothing to me. Mom sighed and said unfortunately Harry had been forced into taking over his Dad's shoe store instead of going on to college. To hide from his despair, Harry now drank too much.
She added the same thing happened to the guy who ran the men's clothing store down the street. In high school I dated Jeff -- the son of the fellow who owned/ran the men's clothing store. When I returned to my hometown for Mom's funeral I was was pleased to learn Jeff had become a pharmacist --- unlike his father, he had been allowed to follow HIS dream.
Granted, we can’t all work at wonderful jobs all the time. Especially in today’s economy. But EACH OF US should have a dream – something we really want to do --- something to aim for. If you really enjoy making furniture, painting cars, cooking, teaching --- follow those instincts to your dream. So what if it doesn’t pay $350 an hour. You’ll be happier doing it, your customers and coworkers will feel that spirit in your work product and --- ultimately --- you will probably have more work than you know what to do with. And, should we be lucky enough to work for ourselves, we should be working TOWARDS that dream.
Do you wake up every morning ready to embrace the new opportunities your work offers? Do you yearn to be the absolute best at what you do? Would you relish this job, even if you were not paid to do it? Are you on fire for your work?
In today’s market every business has numerous competitors. What sets you apart from YOUR competitors is that “fire in your belly.” Clients recognize that fierce desire and respond positively to it. Like moths to a light, folks are attracted to that kind of energy.
you ARE working at your dream job, just know how lucky you are and honor every
moment you spend living your dream. If you are NOT working at your dream
job, it’s time to decide what you really want to do when you grow-up.
Life is too short to waste. Figure out what lights your fire and go for
it!! We seldom regret what we’ve tried and left behind; we always regret
what we did not do!
Need help? I’ve helped many folks fight their way through the maze and would be delighted to help you too. Whatever you do, learn to welcome change and the lightness it brings to your life.