The Career Success Equation

What motivates you? Probably a number of things when you think about it; your children, money, the desire to acquire something you hold dear, some philanthropic desire to do good – maybe revenge. Not all the things that motivate us are inherently good, yet they motivate us nonetheless.

Whatever the source of our motivation, the benefit is that we are spurred to act; to move with purpose in achieving our goal(s), bringing into our reality the thing(s) that we hope for. Want something badly enough, and we will take the steps we deem necessary to eventually realize the thing(s) we wish for. When we reach our goal(s) we obtain not only the thing(s) we wanted, but a measure of happiness.

There are problems which threaten this equation of identifying what we want, planning to get it, acting the plan, achieving the goal and the happiness that goes with it. Let’s look at what goes wrong when we fail to bring about the end goal of happiness as it pertains to a career.

It’s possible we don’t know what motivates us; we have yet to identify the career that we predict will end in happiness, therefore there is no plan to put in place, nor any actions to take because the goal itself is not defined. Without knowing what it is we want, we can have all the resources in the world, but we cannot put them to use because the motivation just isn’t there without something to apply those resources to. The result is that we float along, witness time passing, feel anxious because we should have some purpose; something to strive for and achieve of value, but it eludes us. We know we’re in the wrong job.  Without a goal that holds meaning, we may feel failure and anxiety just not being able to figure it out. We are if you will, still trying to determine, “What do I want to be?”

Identifying what it is we ultimately want as a career is essential to bringing about our happiness. If we lack the resources to devise a plan, the action we take may be hit and miss; with a great deal of energy spent doing things that bring us no further to our goal. In other words, if the blueprint or steps to achieve the career goal are not clearly identified, it is unlikely we will move toward our goal with any clear direction. Our path is fraught with false starts, wasted time and disappointment, threatening our belief that the achievement of our goal is possible.

Even when we know the career we want and we have the resources to put together a plan to make it happen, there is still no guarantee that we will ultimately succeed. It may well be that we lack the next crucial step; taking the action required to act on the plan. We may feel a career as an Interior Designer would bring us great happiness, and we may know that a return to school is the way to go about getting the required education and training to bring it about. However, we may also fail to act; anxious of the debt we would incur to return to school, fretting over the fear of ultimately failing.

Ironic as it is, there are those who know exactly what they want, and they are intelligent enough to know how to turn that want into reality. However, they fail to act because a small but very influential part of them whispers, “What if we’re wrong? If we go to school and get the education needed, there’ll be nothing to stop us from doing what it is we believe will make us happy. As long as we don’t act the plan, we’ll always have the knowledge that we know what we want. If we act the plan and we’re wrong about this career in the end, then what?” And so this nagging doubt leaves them paralyzed to act and they go about their daily lives with guilt; unsatisfied with the present and living with a dream.

To realize success, we must have a goal, develop a blueprint, gather the resources needed and finally act the plan. So we must have an employment goal that we project we will bring us happiness; something we will be meaningful and put a smile on our face. We then devise a step-by-step plan to move us from where we are to where we want to be. We must then act on the plan, knowing that with each step we achieve, we create movement toward our goal, decreasing the space between where we are at any given moment and our end goal. In acting the plan, we use the resources available to us, and we problem solve as we go, gathering needed resources to overcome our barriers as they present themselves.

As to our goal of being an Interior Designer, why not make it happen? As we feel passion for design, we are confident this is our career of choice. We investigate design courses and schools with reputations for excellence. We apply for funding to assist with our education and invest in our future happiness, excelling because the content is meaningful. We graduate and stand with pride at the end, happy as our goal of becoming an Interior Designer is realized.


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