Recently I had a conversation with a young lady who had just graduated high school. We talked about life out of school and her plans for the future. Unemployed at the time, she shared with me her desire to pursue a career in the medical field. She also mentioned that her grades were not at the level to qualify her for a grant that was being offered. After we spoke a bit more about the medical career, she mentioned another career and soon after intimated that she really was not certain what she wanted to do.
I assured her that such uncertainty is pretty common in young people just leaving school. She understood but added the following statement: “I don’t want to get stuck!” That comment concerned me because I sensed fear in her voice and a psychological panic that showed in her body language. As I observed this reaction, and continued our conversation, I got the impression that she had seen others who finished high school and also had dreams of pursuing a particular career, only to have the dream give way to an odd job here and there, until ultimately there was just existence and the promise of that career was a distant memory. Are you a recent graduate who has not yet found a definitive path to embark upon? Are you still swaying between options of what you want to pursue as a career? Are you fearful of time passing you by; of being left behind? Are you stuck and need help with finding your purpose and direction in life? Well, let’s talk about it.
Everyone looks for a rewarding and fulfilling career to pursue … Not! Almost always, people tend to focus on those careers that can make them the most money. While we do need money to exist and thrive, there are countless, unhappy professionals in various careers at this very moment. Most of the time they are pleased with the amount of money they make, but at the expense of putting up with a job that makes them not just miserable but in some cases literally sick! As you begin to make a conscious effort to prepare for your future, you must first decide whether you wish to make money and possibly be miserable doing whatever it is that you end up doing, or being happy while making sufficient money to cover all of your needs. There are two sides to the coin and varying degrees of success apparent in each one. You could very well find that you pursue a career in the field of your dreams and you make a very good living at it, or you could pursue your passion and struggle financially. No one really knows what the end product of our lives will be, but there are some things that you can do to almost always have the kind of ultimate end you imagine.
Since we only have one life to live, I would suggest that you pursue those things that will bring you happiness and fulfillment. After all, happiness is really ‘the thing’ that everyone is after. People make a lot of money to have sufficient funds to take extended vacations or perhaps invest in some business that they always wanted to venture into. Yes, use the money you make to get to that happy place, but if you can start at that happy place and build wealth over time you would avoid the ulcers, drinking problems, work-related stress and so many other ills that come along with overexertion and ultimately burn-out. Choose to be happy first of all, and then consider what kind of profession you can become involved with that will add to that happiness. Once you operate from that position of happiness, you can then create a strategy to accumulate wealth in the years ahead. When you look at the way many people live, you wonder why it needs to be that way: These people trade years of their lives with a focus on money, enduring on-the-job stress, lack of family time, being victimized and overlooked, working a crazy number of hours, and then at the end of their working life use the money that they may have accumulated to treat ailments that are the result of years of work-related abuse. On the other hand, one could find his or her passion early in life, pursue it relatively stress-free and in later years enjoy what has been accumulated. Clearly, in some cases this second option may not bring the swiftest rewards, but in the end the quality of life is so much better, and financial rewards could also have come along for the ride.
Here are a few practical steps to consider on that alternate path to happiness:
- Develop a life plan. I have a free resource that can assist you in laying out your life and erecting markers (goals) to help you monitor your progress along the way. Request it and I will gladly email it to you.
- Make realistic goals. So many times people make goals that have no basis in fact, and when they do not reach them, they become discouraged and stop dreaming altogether.
- Take action. No matter how big the goal is, it can only be reached by taking action. Daily action is the best. If you always wanted to write that book, then write a few paragraphs each day, and within approximately 12 months you would have completed your book. Action is the fuel that brings life to every goal.
- Stick to the plan. It is one thing to lay out a roadmap to show where you want to go, but it is a totally different thing to follow it! The primary benefits of a plan are that they keep you on track, accountable and focused.
- Check the results. As we move towards a destination, things tend to change during the journey. If the results are not what you expect, analyze them and determine why they are appearing and not the ones you expected.
- Adjust. Like a ship that sails from one place to the next, ocean currents, wind and other factors may push the ship off course from time to time. It is the job of the captain to correct the ship’s course so that it can get to its predetermined destination. If there is something that appears that you did not expect or want, then make adjustments to get the results you are looking for – do it. There is no penalty for changing your direction temporarily along the way. It is your life, and you know what it is you want out of it. Adjust until you get what you want.
Who says that we have to accept things as they are? Who says that the way life is being lived is the best way that it could be lived? If man had never thought to fly, he would have never done so. If someone did not think about developing a machine that enables us to see each other even though we are thousands of miles away, it would have never been done. Very soon, if not already, there will be someone developing a machine that will enable us to think of a destination, and we will be there physically in an instant if we choose to be. The things that we are now accustomed to are accepted as normal, but before they became commonplace they were considered just as farfetched as my previous statement.
You do not have to get stuck. This only happens when you have no concrete plans and are paralyzed by non-action. Create a plan, take action and you will never have to worry about not achieving your goals.