- Michael Thompson
Be proactive, patient, kind, and focus on what you control
When I think about how I recently won the fight for finding work I love, I cannot identify one moment in particular. However, I can pinpoint key moments when someone who cared about me said something that either helped me to continue on the right path or helped me to get back on it.
Below are those nine pieces of advice.
1. “Be proactive in connecting with the people who have the job you want.” — Best friend
Author Ryan Holiday has said on multiple occasions that the reason he reads so much is because in a matter of minutes he can learn about the lessons that took someone else years to learn.
When it comes to creating a career you love — the same logic applies.
There is no better way to get the job you want than by learning from the people who already have it.
In 2017, I fell in love with writing and coaching. In 2018, I fell in love with writers and coaches, and the latter is how I have managed to turn a hobby into a career. This is for the simple fact that quality opportunities always come from taking the time to build quality relationships.
So this week, reach out to someone you admire who is doing the job you want. You may be surprised just how powerful the words “I want to do what you do” can be.
“Think about your hero. Do you think of this person as someone with extraordinary abilities who achieved with little effort? Now go find out the truth. Find out the tremendous effort that went into their accomplishment — and admire them more.” — Carol Dweck
2. “If you make your calls, the rest takes care of itself.” — Conor Neill
The internet is filled with advice like “Achieve success by doing the opposite of most people.” However, what most people do not realise is that showing up every day and doing your work is the opposite of most people.
Most success stories are boring. Most success stories are not complicated. Most success stories demanded showing up every day at work to work.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” ― Tony Robbins
3. “The only characteristic that runs consistent in our top performers is that they have a coach.” — First boss
When I first started out in my sales career, I sought out mentors and surrounded myself with people I could learn from. However, as soon as I reached the level of success I was after, I took my foot off the gas from surrounding myself with people who held me to a high standard. I thought that I was good enough to do it on my own, and this was a mistake that I paid dearly for.
When we think of coaches, we think about someone who is going to help us get to the top. However, my first boss taught me that achieving success is the easy part; sustaining it is a whole other ball game, which absolutely cannot be done alone.
“A good coach improves your game. A great coach improves your life.” — Michael Josephson
4. Each year you work represents just 2% of your career, so slow down and think.” — My dad
The fastest way to reach the top is not always a straight line. There will be times when you have to move laterally, or even backwards, in order to get ahead.
Take your time and identify what you really want to do, and be brutally honest in regards to the unsexy steps you are going to have to take to get you there.
Take your time and identify which skills are missing or which weaknesses are holding you back from maximizing your strengths.
Take your time and be like Warren Buffett and insist that every day you “Sit and think.”
“S.T.O.P. = Start To Open Possibilities” ― Richie Norton
5. “The people who are happy at work simply focus more on the positive aspects of their job more than the negatives.” — Director of HR at my first company (took me a long time to learn this one)
Not one job is perfect. Not one job comes without doing a few things each day that you do not enjoy. More times than not, getting to the good means pushing through the bad, and the people that do this with a smile on their face eventually win for the simple fact that attitude is everything.
Think about the positive aspects of your job today. Write out a list of 15 reasons why you like it (the smaller the better; they add up). And tomorrow morning, before going into work, read off that list, but instead of saying, “I like my job because…,” say, “I love my job because….” and see how your day progresses.
“We can either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” — George Mumford
6. “Forgive people. Your life will be better for it.” — My wife
What I did to put food on my family’s table today came from someone who had done me wrong in the past, but for one of the few times in my life, I accepted their apology and we moved on together and have gone on to make some pretty cool things together.
Most people do not set out to ruin your day; shit happens. And not all, but some, will work really hard to make it right. However, you will never know who these people are if you do not give people another chance.
Saying, “I forgive you” is hard, but so is saying, “I am sorry.”
7. “It will take you seven jobs before you find the work you love.” — My dad
With every opportunity you will add skills, experiences, knowledge, and contacts — and your job is to be like Bruce Lee and “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own” until your career is created.
This will take time, and this will not be easy, but like my mom says, “Finding a career you love is a privilege, not a right,” so treat it as such and never stop trying new things.
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait — it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” — Joyce Meyer
8. “Your job is to meet as many people as you can.” — First Mentor
The words “Your network is your net worth” are slowly turning into a cliché, and for good reason; it is dead on. The best problem solver is a large network.
Having diverse groups of friends not only adds meaning and enjoyment to your life, it also creates opportunities. You never know where someone today will be tomorrow, so acknowledge absolutely everyone and treat them all with respect.
“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.” — Chinese Proverb
9. “Nothing compounds faster than kindness.” — My mom
Most people have their head buried so deep in the sand looking for ways to be efficient, they fail to see that helping others reach their goals is the fastest way for them to reach theirs.
Be thoughtful and make the new person feel appreciated on their first day of work.
Be patient and sit down and talk with someone who you can tell is having a bad day.
Be kind and tell the people around you they are talented and you sure are glad they are on your side.
Our lives are measured by how many people we help — so keep your head up, and whenever you have the chance to create a special moment for someone, do not hesitate.
Putting a Bow on It:
When going over this list, a few themes become apparent: patience matters, attitude matters, and tinkering matters.
However, when thinking about how today I get to wake up and do exactly what I want to do, with the exact people I want to do it with, I cannot help but think building the right relationships played the starring role.
Ryan Holiday got it dead right — “The best way to clear your own path is to help others to clear theirs.”
So if you want the career of your dreams, you can’t go wrong with choosing the strategy of being “persistently generous.”
This is for the simple reason that the more you give, the more you will eventually get.