Suppose You Were Given This Key…


Imagine if you will that you chance upon a box which upon opening, has a key and a note. The note reads, “Congratulations. You are now the owner of a key which will open any one single thing you desire. Choose wisely.” What would you open?

Depending on your inquisitiveness, you might be already wondering whether you found the key at home or work; was it out in the open like on your desk or hidden behind some wall in a castle you’re visiting built in the 1400’s? Don’t fret about that. You might wonder who put it there? Why me? How big or small is it? How could it open anything? Will it change shape as I insert it? You’ve been gifted this unique opportunity so just accept it and don’t over think it; the key is in your possession so leave it at that.

So do you opt for something tangible like the keys to a house? I suppose if you’re homeless or have had a life full of moving from one substandard housing unit to another this might have great appeal. On the other hand, if you already have stable housing and you’re relatively happy with what you have, the idea of using this key to unlock something you already have holds less appeal. In other words, you might not want to use the key to make a minor upgrade on what you already own. This you perceive is the big game-changer; the one chance you’ve got to dramatically alter your current existence.

Maybe you’ll go for the tangible but indulgent. You know, the key to a yacht, your own private jet, the front door to a vacation property in some island paradise. Why you can almost hear the jingle, “Just imagine” from a Lotto 649 commercial playing in your head. The fanciful side of you may want the yacht but before you actually declare with finality that the yacht is what it fits, the practical side of you says, “Hold on! We’ll have to pay the insurance, the storage fees and just think of the gas money at todays prices!” So you second guess what you want this key to open and pause to reconsider.

After some moments you think that maybe something tangible isn’t the only thing this key could open. Maybe the romantic lover in you imagines then that this key unlocks the heart of that person you’ve always wanted to see you in the same way you see them. They’ve always had your heart but somehow you’ve never felt they shared your feelings; this key you own could be used to open what you most desire and always have; them. But then some voice whispers to you that it just seems wrong somehow to get this person this way. You really want them to come to love you for who you are, not because you used this key as you would a love potion.

Sigh….

What about a job then? Ah, a job! Not just any job but THE job! The one you’ve tried unsuccessfully to get for what seems like an eternity. It does say it will open anything you desire so why not the door that keeps getting slammed in your face every time you apply for work? Yes, your dream job. Just wish it and it becomes your reality…your phone will ring in minutes with some voice at the other end telling you they’d be thrilled to have you come and work with them!

Unlike the heart of the person you’re hopelessly – or Hope Fully in love with, there’s little or no guilt surely in getting what you want by using this key. There’s nothing wrong with using it to unlock the doors to that corner office in the tower, the Chairman’s office, the Ranger tower in the forest or – well wherever this job you want is located. So why does your conscience nag at you that using it to get that job cause you difficulty?

Okay, okay! So you go to something that’s just fun and harmless. The key may just unlock the door to the local ice cream shop. Yes! Ice cream when you want it for you and your friends! A myriad of flavours at your choosing; vanilla and chocolate when you’re in the mood and raspberry thunder when you’re craving it! Harmless too; it’s only ice cream! Ah, but your health would suffer you acknowledge. After all, how much ice cream could you eat without having your fill? What if you got diabetes or became lactose intolerant? Then your wish for ice cream would be a cruel joke and a waste of the key. Rethink.

What about a vault that holds money. Surely then you could use the money stored there to get whatever you want and when you want it! As your needs and wants change, the money would be there to easily go out and get it. Would that be so bad? It’s like using your last wish to ask the Genie for more wishes. That has its problems too of course.

Enough with the ideas to spur one’s imagination. Would it make a difference in what you wish for if there was a limited time to use it? Would you unlock the mysteries of the universe?

What would the key open if you come across it today?

Maybe you already hold such a key.

 

 

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What Do You Want?


What do you want to experience in your life that you currently aren’t? More money? Power? Flexibility? Job satisfaction? A stronger intimate relationship with someone? Knowing what you want can help you realize it. Not knowing what you want can seed frustration, anger, regret and confusion.

So let’s say you’ve identified that you want more income. Having decided on more income you can then move on to looking at your options; taking on a secondary job, applying for better paying jobs, investing your funds to grow them faster etc. The choices are yours to make but they all have one thing in common as they all seek to increase your overall wealth.

When it comes to relationships and wanting a deeper, more fulfilling one, you can opt to put yourself in more situations where you’ll meet more people, you can risk telling someone how you feel, or you can send out the word that you’re on the market and / or join some dating sites. Already in a relationship? You can invest more of your conscious energy in making that relationship stronger.

Now as for your career, again I ask, “What do you want?” Some people are very happy in their life just moving from job to job, doing different things, gaining a wealth of experiences, and of course being paid to do those jobs. For others, this idea of floating along and not having some overall master plan is not satisfying at all. No, some people are happier identifying what it is they want early and then taking the courses and gaining the experiences that will ultimately put them in a position to take advantage of things and realize their long-term goals.

You know I’m guessing the people in your workplace that everyone can easily identify as the go-getters. They volunteer for committees, they move with the right people, they climb the corporate ladder with speed and purpose. It’s like they’ve got a career path all laid out and are acting the plan. Well good for them you say to yourself; and you either mean it sincerely or you say it wishing it was you on that path instead of them.

Of course what we want career-wise has a lot to do with the factors we experience. If we are in our late 50’s vs. our early 30’s, we might not want to invest much time and energy aspiring to reach the top if we’re not close to it. After all, it might be we just want to play out the string, get paid for our work and then retire early enough to enjoy life without having the stress of putting in the extra hours required to impress the higher-ups and get that plum job which we might have under different circumstances reached out for.

Where we live can play a big factor too. Maybe we’re just not into a long commute, we don’t want to arrive early and work late; we’re content with how things are and to make a big corporate leap would mean moving from our cozy urban dwelling into the heat of the city; all dusty, busy and noisy. No thanks.

What do you want? It keeps coming back to these four words. What you want is very personal; there’s no right or wrong answer, but there is a personal answer. It requires some thought doesn’t it? I mean, what do YOU want?

Some people think that just wanting something is akin to dreaming. Write it down they say and it’s a goal. Plan to make it happen by developing some written steps that have some kind of timeframes attached and you’ve got a workable map that will lead you to the goal you’ve described. But there are a lot of people who have their goal in mind and they still make it happen without the benefit of writing it down and mapping out the steps.

Then of course there are those who have no goal in mind other than seeing how life unfolds. If opportunities arise with respect to their career, they’ll think about them at the time rather than plan now to stand at that crossroads. To be honest, in some fields there are new jobs that didn’t exist even a short time ago, so how could anyone have planned to make the move to the jobs that didn’t exist? So there are many people who are content to find something they enjoy doing and just plan to continue doing it until they no longer enjoy it; then and only then do they look around and say, “Okay so what are my options?”

When you’re in school, good advice is to keep all your doors open down the road by getting all the education you can; the degree over the diploma so to speak. It can open more doors down the road; doors you don’t even know exist. But what about post school? What actions can you take to keep your doors open?

Take advantage of learning opportunities your employer presents. Network positively and often. If you get the chance, take the lead at work on some project so you both learn and stretch a little while getting known to those you don’t normally interact with. Keep looking every so often at other job postings just so see what’s trending. Could be a perfect job comes up and you find your next move.

What do you want?

Feeling Pressured?


You’ve probably heard somewhere along the way that life is a journey? I imagine so, or some other analogy such as life being thought of as an adventure, etc. Whether you use the word, ‘journey’ or ‘adventure’, both suggest movement; heading from one place to another. So who is plotting the course in your travels? Is anyone behind the wheel or are you aimlessly floating along being sent off in numerous directions based on how the wind blows?

Some misconstrue this idea of Life being a journey meaning they aren’t really living unless they go out and physically travel the world. Whether you are a jet-setter visiting different time zones or countries on a regular basis or someone who has never been out of your town of birth, you’re still on that journey.

But I want to talk about things from a more personal perspective and at a different level. Forget for a moment the idea of physical travel to far away places, and let’s look at the regular day-to-day existence. In your daily life, who is calling the shots? For example why are you in the kind of work you are now, or looking for a certain kind of employment? Did you choose the job because it was expected of you by someone else? Did you make the consciousness choice on your own because it presented itself as something you wanted to do?

For many people, parents are one of our earliest guides. We take for granted they know what’s best for us, they steer us along helping us grow up. Some parents give their kids at some point the freedom to make their own choices and with that, the consequences of those decisions in order to prepare them for bigger decisions later in life. Other parents do everything for their kids and make all the decisions, which can ill-prepare those same kids as adults later on who haven’t developed those decision-making skills and the responsibility for the consequences that follow.

Conflict can happen when family members put pressure on a young adult to, “do something with your life”, and comments like, “you should have figured things out by now” made to a 21-year-old are really value judgement statements. These can be detrimental because they come across as negative assessments of the person. You haven’t figured out at 21 what you should be doing for the next 40 years therefore you are a failure; a disappointment, somehow faulty.

The same kind of feelings – not measuring up in some way – can occur when a person compares themselves to friends or other family members. “Why can’t you be more like Brenda? Brenda has a great job, she’s a real go-getter, and I hear she’s expecting!” Or the classic, “Why can’t you be more like your big brother?” Ouch. The only thing that might be worse is if you are being compared to a younger not older sibling.

In trying to please everyone you may please no one, and that can lead to poor self-esteem. If the people closest to us who know us best all see us as a disappointment and underperforming, then maybe it’s true; we are. That leap in thought is dangerous and wrong.

Your life is, well…YOUR life. I’ve always thought the role of parents is to help their children when they are young develop some life skills. In teaching their children as they grow with small decisions and consequences, exploring choices etc., they then can consider themselves to have done a good job of parenting if the children can then go out into the world and continue to take responsibility for their own choices. Certainly most parents want their children to succeed, but being successful can have many meanings.

So are you living your life or the life someone else wants for you? Are you in University or College because it was determined by someone else that you would pursue a certain career? If you enter school for one career but learn about others are you free to switch your major and go after a different degree leading to a different career or job? Would you parents approve if you announced you were going to be an Electrician instead of a Nurse?

There is in my opinion, too much pressure on young adults to have the next 30 or 40 years all mapped out. Your early years as an adult is a great time to experience many jobs, learn about work you didn’t even know existed, dream a little, try things; some that will work out and some that won’t. Even jobs that you thought you’d enjoy but find out you don’t are still valuable experiences. I really think any work you do be it paid or volunteer will at some point down your road pay off and give you a richer appreciation or understanding later in life, and that makes it useful.

Sure it’s good to talk with people: parents, guidance counsellors, career advisors, friends, teachers etc. All the advice and suggestions you’ll get could be helpful. In the end however, finding your own way – whether it’s by design or accident is still your way and it’s perfectly okay.

Trial and error, falling and getting back up, falling again, rising again, getting hired, maybe fired, rejected and accepted; that’s the journey. And if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.