If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. – Thomas Edison
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This seems to be the question that may take a lifetime to answer.
Take Angela for example. During our recent phone conversation she updated me on her Story. After a successful career as an account executive in radio advertising sales she stepped away.
She discovered a new sense of purpose using her many skills and life experiences to help a recording artist with her marketing efforts. When her husband lost his job, it became necessary for her to return to radio sales. Once again she established herself as a top performer in a new market and with a different format.
But our conversation that afternoon was around the youthful question: What’s next? What do I really want to do? What if I write a book about surviving cancer, not once, but twice? I don’t have to work, what now? What if…?
Shedding the Outer Layer
Have you ever let go of something that simultaneously protects and strangles you, something that both defines you, but also suffocates your evolution? Just like a snake shedding its skin, you have to lose something critical to grow, leaving you vulnerable and exposed in the process.
Concluding her remarks, she observes:
As I continue to explore the startup world and nurture ideas for passion projects, I’m relearning an important lesson: whatever I do and whomever I work with have to fit me and not just vice versa. I’m gradually and intentionally focusing in on my future path and reminding myself that it’s my life, my journey and my spaghetti! I’m looking for a vocation – not a just a job.
I fully expect more skin shedding during my life and now I welcome it in advance. This time, however, the foundational layers are much stronger as my confidence and self-worth are being re-built from the inside out. As they need to be, because my dreams are getting bigger.
A Lifetime of Discovery
Have you noticed how few gold watches are given today? The journey of decades with one company is pretty much a thing of the past. When you combine the slow exodus of baby boomers with continued downsizing we can expect a continual increase in business start-ups.
What happens when people have a reality check regarding their values and the brevity of life? More and more people are concluding they are not going to spend their lives doing something that they lack passion for?
According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics – United States Department of Labor, younger baby boomers (people born in the years 1957 to 1964) held 11.3 jobs from age 18 to age 46.
While the BLS does not attempt to estimate the number of times people change careers during their work journey, as there is no consensus as to what constitutes a career change. However, experience suggests we can expect several modifications.
Some Help for Moving Forward
Yes, I am one of those still answering the youthful question: What do I want to do when I grow up? As for my “career changes” they’ve been interesting, too; my first entrepreneurial jobs, as a kid included mowing yards and delivering the Tulsa World in Neodesha, Kansas.
1. A strong support system.
Rita and I have been married 36 years as I write this; through it all, she has been there for me and still is.
Thanks to my colleagues, mentors, friends, and clients who have affirmed and encouraged, even cheered me on when I needed it the most.
And regarding faith it has been my relationship with God, as a follower of Jesus, that has been my foundation. So many times God’s unconditional love, grace, and promises have kept me moving forward.
2. A focus on the people.
Relationships are what matter; everything else is temporary. The business of life is people.
The business of business is people.
We need each other to accomplish something significant. When we fail to see the people in our lives the ability to serve a higher purpose is lost.
3. A belief that nothing is wasted.
When did I learn the value of a dollar? When did I learn to save so I could pay cash for my first car? When did I learn to take care of equipment? When did I learn about customer service? Mowing yards.
When did I learn to process decisions better? After I lost $10,000 in a start-up that was too good to be true. It’s not about perfection; it is about taking action, which includes the opportunity to fail.
What is going on in your Story? What change have you experienced? What change do you want to create in your career path?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Please add to the conversation by adding your thoughts to the comments below…
THE PEOPLE PROJECT:
Your Guide to Changing Behavior and Growing Your Influence as a Leader