Some of the best personal or professional advice you can give yourself and act on is to get going. Start. Now. Be it small or large, a baby step or a full stride, get going. No matter what your short-term or long-term goals are; or even if your short-term goal is to figure out your long-term goal, get going.
Nothing happens until you do something. And the key word in that previous sentence is the word, “do”. So many people – including myself in that number – have at one time in their lives (or far too often in some cases) been guilty of never moving past the stage of thinking. The thinking stage is characterized by statements such as, “I should think about losing some weight.” “I should really think about what I want to do with the rest of my life.” “I should give some thought to my retirement.”
Sadly for some, nothing more really ever happens. The result of not acting and doing anything to move beyond the thinking stage can be long-term depression. With issues of weight, a person notices their body isn’t what they’d like it to be, so they think about losing some weight. If they don’t move beyond this stage, they can start to mentally beat themselves up for not taking action, then console themselves with comfort food, which makes the problem worse, and still the ever-present urge to lose weight remains. While the cycle continues, over time weight actually increases, and so does the poor self-esteem, and voila…poor self-image and regret followed by depression.
Jobs and careers are much the same way. We don’t come with a pre-defined career into this world. And this lack of pre-defined role often leads others to ask us what it is we would like to do. Hence the, “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” question. My inner clown always wanted to answer this question with, “Older.” Hey, I could never be wrong. Do you notice the question uses the word, “want” as in “want to be?” And there’s the sticking point for many people; they simply don’t know what they want, and without knowing this, they can’t move with confidence towards some career or goal. The result? Inaction.
And much like doing nothing about losing weight can lead to poor-self image, doing nothing about moving forward with a job or career can lead to depression too. While some pressure comes from other people in the form of questions like, “Why don’t you do something with your life?”, the real motivating pressure has to come from yourself. How bad do you want something requiring change?
So let’s assume for a second that you haven’t figured out what you want to do career-wise. Nothing wrong with this; you’re normal. Really you are. But like I said at the start of this piece it’s time to get going. The first thing I want to share with you is that THERE IS NO SINGLE CAREER THAT ALONE WILL GUARANTEE YOUR HAPPINESS. There are many jobs and careers that you would ultimately find rewarding and fulfilling. Stop putting pressure on yourself to find that single career.
So if you like serving people, you might find customer service fulfilling, or being a Cabdriver, Nanny, Employment Counsellor, Teacher or Fitness Trainer. All those jobs move others forward to their goals. If you like to entertain others maybe you’d be a good Musician, Magician, Comedian, Singer, Film Maker or Comic Book Writer. One of my colleagues does an activity with her groups called ‘Rock Star’. Being a Rock Star is a job, but how many jobs surround that Rock Star that might be fulfilling to someone who craves that kind of life? Some groups come up with 40 or 50 jobs like Agent, Roadies, Bus Driver and Sound Technicians.
Do Something. Make a phone call and speak with a Career Counsellor. If you know what you want to do but don’t know the steps to take to get there, a Career Counsellor can help you with this. Here’s a tip: instead of planning forward, (as in what’ the very first step?), plan backwards. See yourself in that ultimate role. What were you doing just before you arrived there? And before that? And before that? Working backwards, you end up where you are today, and now have each step before you. And guess what? All that thinking produced your map. Follow it.
But what as I said earlier if you haven’t got a master plan and don’t know what would be interesting for you to do? Stop thinking there is only one ultimate destiny for yourself and doing nothing for fear of making the wrong choice. So who really cares if you take a job as a Perfume Counter Salesperson and that’s not it? Do it to the best of your ability and think about what’s both good and bad in the job as you see it. Then try something else. In each job, learn what you like and don’t.
The average person goes through 8 different jobs as an adult and 3 major career changes. And that’s just the average. That means the average don’t get it ‘right’ the first time, but it was maybe what they needed at the time. I for example consider myself to be a very good Employment Counsellor. But had I started in this role at 23 years old, I wouldn’t be as good as I am today without doing many other things first.