by Michael Darling
It's the holiday season here in the U.S.
And chances are, sometime this season, the big question will come up:
"So, Michael, where are you working now?” (Or, at least some variation of that.)
If your family is anything like mine, whatever you tell them is going to translate in a number of different ways…from perceptive understanding to a obligatory acknowledgment because they really don’t have a CLUE what you’re doing, how you do it and why. In fact, I don't really have a clue to what I'm doing these days....but that's a whole different issue.
So, this week I gave some thought on how to help you (and me) get past that frustration. Maybe there are some keys I can give you to surpass everyone's expectations. If you apply what you discover in this, from this point forward, you'll be the envy of friends and family, known and loved by Millions. (Sam Millions…he does my dry cleaning.)
Now, I didn’t come up with all of these of course. I "stole” them from a great book: Get Out of Your Own Way by Robert K. Cooper, PhD. I suggest picking up a copy for even more insights.
Onward & Upward …
Here’s one: Direction, not motion.
Be careful here. You might think this is about hitting your goals, but don’t be so fast to assume that!. You can hit a lot of goals and still be running around in circles chasing your tail. That's why you need direction.
A friend of mine was like that, chasing the tail of money for years … moving from one money job to the next. It wasn't until he started looking at the direction he wanted his life — not just a bank account — to go that he started seeing progress in both.
In my life, direction always meant following my natural skills and abilities. Abilities I've known I had since high school, like writing, speaking…. However, I never believed I could "make a living” doing those things. Plus, in many cases, my direction ignored my values … which left me feeling unfulfilled and without a purpose in life.
I'm still fine-tuning my direction, but each day — and even with each project — I get more clear on where I'm going in my career and, more importantly, in my life.
Look at it this way: When a ship leaves its harbor, for fully 99.99 percent of its voyage, it can't see its port of call. If the captain were to follow every distracting wave and current, he'd never find the port. But, by knowing the direction he needs to go, his motion is efficient and rewarding.
While most of my childhood is fuzzy, I do remember Pastor Larson at our church. He used to finish his sermons with the phrase, "So What?!” In other words, what does this mean to you and for you? How can you apply this to your life starting today?
Ok…let’s look at that. There are a couple of things you can do …
Take a series of personality assessments and career assessments. There are several free ones online. I'd also recommend any book by Marcus Buckingham. Or, check out our own Steve Roller's article "A Job, a Career, or a Calling.”
Another is to come up with a personal Mission Statement. It's not easy, but it is a powerful tool for keeping you on track. Then, refer to it before taking on any project — personal or professional.
Finally, I simply suggest you remain very aware of why you are choosing to spend your days and life the way you are. Is it your dream or someone else's dream for you?
A good attitude check, in my book…and a question you might want to ask yourself periodically. Lord knows I'm asking questions a lot more these days...
Thanks for reading…