Must Work Be Meaningful? To Whom?


I wonder if you’ve ever been advised to find a line of work where you can really find a strong sense of meaning in the work you’ll do? This advice typically is followed up with the promise that finding meaning in the work you’ll do will make whatever you’re doing rewarding; and in it being rewarding and meaningful, you’ll enjoy it  and life in general more.

It’s not bad advice really. There are many people who’d agree, if for no other reason than we spend a lot of our waking hours at work, and as all those hours add up, we’d best all be doing something meaningful to justify the investment of time.

However, the downside of this advice is that there are many people who don’t look to find meaning in the work they do, they just happily go in day in and day to work. Telling such people they’ll be happier searching for work they find real meaning in doing might just result in giving them something to worry or stress about. And who is to say that the meaning you might derive from one job over another would be similarly felt by someone else; say your daughter or son? How many mothers or fathers have hoped that their children would follow in their footsteps and have the same career as themselves, only to have their children choose other lines of work?

If you’re so inclined, you might realize too that people change. The job we found meaning in when we were 20 something might hold that meaning for 5 or so years, and then we suddenly realize one day that it’s been awhile since we really felt it as truly rewarding and meaningful. If this is the case, how do we go about finding a career in our late teens and early 20’s that we’ll find genuinely meaningful for the next 45 or 50 years?

Well, don’t fret about it. First of all it’s highly probable and natural that as you become exposed to different jobs and careers over the course of your life, you’ll find some of those jobs intriguing; perhaps enough to go after them. Changing jobs within our field is something many of us do, changing our field of interest entirely is also something not all that uncommon. It’s called evolution; becoming exposed to something new, finding real interest in it, doing what it takes to qualify yourself and working a plan to one day be in that new role.

Yet, while it’s natural then for many to want to do work that they find meaning in, is there anything wrong with doing work that one doesn’t find meaningful? Do you know anyone who when asked why they do what they do replies, “It’s a pay cheque”? I mean there has to be a number of people who are doing jobs quite competently; but for whom the concept of doing meaningful work isn’t important. And because we are all so very different on this planet, it’s impossible to take a career – any career – as an example of a job that no one finds meaning in.

You might think a Cashier, a Waiter/Waitress, Server etc. might not find any meaning in the work they do; that it’s got to be just a job until a career comes along. You’d be wrong though. There are obviously more people than you’d guess who do find great meaning in these jobs, and what’s more, their not deluding themselves; they see themselves as providing a service to others. Further, they wouldn’t want it any other way. Maybe they could make more income doing other things, but perhaps they don’t take home excessive worries and stresses that go with some jobs you’d tout as more meaningful.

Whose perspective are we talking about here anyhow? Yours or theirs? Projecting our own ideals and values onto others, saying that one job is more meaningful than another is something we should be careful of. When we tell our son or daughter that a Teacher’s job is meaningful; more meaningful than say a Crossing Guards, we transfer our own value system. If they go on to be a Teacher we’re happy. If however, they happily become a Crossing Guard and find meaning and happiness in that role, have we now sent that message that somehow their choice of career is a disappointment to us? Is that what we want or intended to do?

Conversely, if they get ulcers and migraines – growing old before their time – fighting with and climbing over others on the way to some career which robs them of much of their personal time; missing family occasions because of work, will we find it okay to console ourselves by saying, “but the work is meaningful and important.”

Important… maybe that’s it. Could it be that when we say find work that’s meaningful, what we’re really doing is saying, find work that’s important, and then by association you’ll be important too? If that’s the case, what message are we sending if the work isn’t important in our eyes? Do we really mean that they are only important if what they do is important?

So what’s the goal? Find work that is meaningful and if so to whom? Happiness? Sufficient income? Security? Challenge and reward? There are a lot of different values we could and do place on jobs and the people who do them. Something to think about.

 

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2018: It’s Here!


Yesterday was New Year’s Day and today is day 1 of the ‘work’ year. For me personally, there is a huge contrast in the two; yesterday was sitting and reading a book I got for Christmas, snacking more than I should normally do, and generally relaxing. Today, it’s up and at ’em, back to the blog, shower and dress, make breakfast and out the door to work all day.

As the days of 2017 counted down, did you find yourself consciously putting things off until the new year? You know, job searching; updating your résumé, (yet again!) applying for jobs? Well, it’s here and so it’s time to get going. I hope you’re fired with enthusiasm for changes and the hard work it takes to ultimately be successful. I truly hope you have the stamina to put in the necessary effort and sustain it, and of course I really do want you to succeed.

It’s hard at this time of the year for many to get going though; well for very long at least. Here in Canada we’re under a prolonged deep freeze where the temperatures are with wind chills in the minus 20 – minus 30 range. The days are short on sunlight and the snow has been more plentiful than in past years. Staying inside is tempting; reading as I’ve done for pleasure, or perhaps your own Christmas gifts have your attention (or over-attention as the case may be).

While you may have resolved to put more effort into your job search for the new year, please don’t make the mistake of setting yourself up with lofty expectations you’ll likely not meet. Doing so can have the reverse effect upon you, when you falter, have a setback or two and lean towards chucking the thing in once more. Yes, you don’t want to expect yourself to put in a solid 7 or 8 hours straight every day, nose to the grindstone and then when you slip up a bit, chastise yourself for your failings and give up entirely. This can lead to self-deprecation, low self-esteem, depression and despair.

It’s the balance you’re looking for I suggest. You know better than anyone what your effort in 2017 was really like. You know the help you sought out or didn’t, the advice you failed to follow or the shortcuts you thought in your wisdom would do the same things as taking the longer but probably more effective way to get things done. Nobody knows you like you know you!

Yes, balance is the key. So yes, 2018 will require some effort on your part and perhaps more of a commitment to your end goals. This could mean more work, less play for many, or it could mean just shifting your play time without diminishing it. So rather than saying you’ll give up movies, reading for pleasure, playing games entirely or ignoring the lure of your hobbies and interests until you get a job, (because this won’t work), you could just reallocate your time spent doing these things.

Setting aside ‘play time’ will allow you to enjoy it more when it comes anyhow. So if you love heading to the basement to do some woodworking and it takes some time to set things up, do what you love and then more time to clean up after, give yourself an afternoon say twice a week to do so; and ENJOY it guilt-free. After all, you don’t want to feel distracted with guilt doing something you love, which robs you of the very pleasure you find in it.

You may or may not be in a place to turn your love for your hobby into a job (had you thought of that?), or you might not want to – keeping your hobby and your work separate and apart to unwind and keep the fun of what you love doing.

Now when you’re having your, ‘you time’; immersed in what brings you happiness and contentment, don’t overdo it. If you can discipline yourself to getting back to the job search as you intended to, you’ll ultimately be happier with yourself. You don’t want to feel bad after all that you’re shirking your job search time while you’re trying to enjoy reading that book, sewing or whatever it is you enjoy. That feeling of, “I should be looking for work” will rob you of your concentration and you’ll feel distracted.

So what you might do is begin with a schedule. Whether you set up an alert on your phone, write things down on paper or set an alarm clock, do whatever it takes for you to stay on track of your intended schedule – just as you would do if you were employed. Factor in a couple of breaks and lunch, and where possible, get outdoors for some fresh air at some point too. Good for the spirit, the lungs and the body.

As for the job search? Well, how’s it going? Is a change in strategy needed or are you getting close doing what you’re doing? If you want better results than what you ended 2017 with, then maybe you need a different way of going about things. Read a current book on job search techniques, learn something new about your field of interest, take a course, consult with a job search expert or have your résumé reviewed at the least.

2018; this is YOUR year! All the very best wishes for success!

‘Why’ Not ‘What’ The Key To What To Be?


There are all kinds of jobs in this world from the mundane to the adventurous, from the physically straining to the mentally stimulating. Some require stamina to do the same task day after day and some require imagination and innovation to create new possibilities through trial and error. The tools to perform jobs can range from swinging handheld items to operating massive machinery; from a simple pencil to a robotic arm. There are a myriad of jobs out there, be they in cities of stone and glass, forests of green or pastures of gold.

And for every job, there are people best suited to do them. Some of us are physically strong, others the thinkers, the visionaries, recorders of history, we’ve leaders and followers, labourers and intellectuals. When it comes to work, we as a species engage in all kinds of activities, in all kinds of working conditions, be it water, on or under the land, the air or even space.

Often what we do for work is largely determined or influenced by where in the world we are born and then raised, the status of our family, the inclination of those who care for and influence us to expose us to a few or many different kinds of experiences. When we are born, where we are born, to whom we are born; all factor in to the opportunities we have.

There are those of course who will tout that you can be anything you put your mind to, and they may be right – if of course you are born into a society where you have the freedom to choose and the opportunities are there to seize. This freedom to be anything, aspire to be everything we want – limited only by our imagination and our own determination is empowering! Yet, this seemingly limitless potential can also have an unexpected and adverse affect.

With so many choices of what we might do with the time we have, it can be debilitating and paralyzing. After all, what if we get it wrong? What if we choose one career and work towards it only to discover that it doesn’t bring us the fulfillment that we’d hoped. While it makes others happy we know, it doesn’t bring us the satisfaction they promised it would. We believed them when they said we’d find it gratifying and rewarding, but it hasn’t turned out that way. At least we tried it! Or what if we simply arrived at a crossroads having to choose between 2, 3 or 4 possible careers that seemed mutually exclusive – very different indeed – and being unable to commit to one ‘dream’ occupation for fear of turning our back on the others, we’ve simply found ourselves immobilized – and in a flash, years have rolled by and we’re still standing still undecided?

There’s this immense fear we’ll get it wrong. Of course, some would say, “Ah, but what if we get it right?!” We might be amazing in what we do and more importantly even if we’re just an average worker in what we’ve chosen, we could still be extremely happy and satisfied. But would we possibly wonder, “What if I’d chosen that other path in life? What might I have done?”

Of course we aren’t limited to one career.  Think on that… Up until we’re in our late teens, we don’t have to be anything largely but a student – well, again – depending on where we are born in the world. In our early 20’s we begin to ‘be’ something. We who are older know this isn’t a life-long obligation; we’ll change jobs and careers during our life and some of these new choices will be in the same field and at times into a new one. After maybe 40 years of work, we might plan on ceasing to ‘work’ for pay and then work for play. Well, that’s some people’s plan.

Talk with enough people and you’ll find competent, skilled people performing their jobs without the least bit of enthusiasm for the job. Good enough to keep doing what they do, benefitting the companies and the people they work on behalf of, but no longer stimulated and in love with the job. They’ve become comfortable, their income and lives stable, and so they live out their lives.

There are those too who take chances; who quit jobs for fear they’ll become stale in them, who seek fresh challenges, new opportunities, gamble on trends and being out front as frontiers. They need not explore new lands, but they reinvent themselves, never-ceasing to learn and place themselves in the process to seize upon possibilities.

We’re all so different, so uniquely, ‘us’.  What one finds pleasurable, rewarding, stimulating and satisfying might do for another or not. The key is perhaps to find out not what job we want to do, but why it is we want to do it. Toddlers may have it right when they ask incessantly, “Why?”

When we discover the, ‘why’ in why we want to do something, we are closer to discovering the ‘what’. How peculiar it might be if instead of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” which locks us into a single profession, we asked, “What motivates you? What inspires or stimulates you?” These are the what’s that get to the why’s.  Then we might discover there are many jobs that would equally stimulate us by fulfilling our ‘why’s’. That perhaps, is very wise indeed.

The Pressure To Choose


At 8 years old, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

At 13 years old, “You should start thinking about getting a part-time job.”

At 15 years old, “Are you taking College or University level courses in school?”

At 17 years old, “What Universities or Colleges are you looking at going to?”

At 19 years old, “What will that degree or diploma qualify you to be?” Are you sure?”

At 24 years old, “You changed your mind! What are you going to be?”

At 30 years old, “You’re changing careers?  Again? So what’s it going to be now?”

At 36 years old, “I’m sorry things aren’t working out. “What’ll make you happy?”

At 45 years old, “What are you going to do with your life? Such a disappointment.”

At 55 years old, “Had you made better choices, you’d be retired by now.”

At 60 years old, “So what are you going to do with the next 5 years of your life?”

At 65 years old, “It’s a shame really. Such potential and no life savings, poor dear.”

Maybe this sounds familiar in part or in whole. Interesting when you put the sequence of questions together though and look at them in their entirety. Can you spot the questions that are truly asked to seek information and separate them from the questions that really show others expectations and judgements?

When you’re the one asking out of genuine interest, the questions seem innocent enough. Perhaps you’re the grandparent or parent with an inquisitive nature; you want the best for your grandchild or child, and you see the world before them. They can be anything and anyone they choose to be; the possibilities are endless!

However, on the receiving end, you may well remember the angst you felt yourself when the question was turned to you. First of all it’s improbable as a child that you’d even know the majority of jobs that you could find rewarding. You’re limited to considering an occupation based on what you’ve been personally exposed to. As a very young child, many want to be a Doctor, Fire Fighter, Dentist or Teacher because these are within the limits of what they’ve seen or experienced.

By the time high school is underway, your already being told to choose university or college level courses, most often without any real idea of what either experience might be best for you personally. For many, a school official may have reasoned you were bright enough for university or you were intellectually challenged and university would prove far too difficult. Though well-meaning, you were encouraged to take the college level classes, or you were introduced to a trade as a viable alternative because you were good with your hands.

Yes, people feel a lot of pressure and anxiety when feeling they have to pick a career. Even in a job interview, employers often ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Or they might ask, “How does this position fit with your overall career goals?” Ever sat there and realized you have no idea whatsoever? You haven’t thought much beyond just getting this job and you’ve no career goals that come to mind?

Well if you’re fortunate enough to know what it is you want to do and you’re working the plan to get there, I say good for you! Excellent in fact! Well done! With a long-term goal you can get help mapping out the steps along the way you need to take to eventually arrive at your destination of choice. That’s commendable.

However, if you have no long-term goal in mind, or you’re torn between 4 things that you find appealing, you might be thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just decide on something and be normal like everyone else? I’m such a loser!”

Well, you’re not a loser for starters, and no, not everyone else has it figured out. In fact, only a handful of people know what they want to be when they are children and years later emerge in life fully satisfied in the same profession they once only dreamed of. For the majority – the vast majority – as we grow up we meet people in different roles, and the more we see and interact with, the more we have new information to consider.

If you want an answer to that question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, that will be 100% right, tell them, “Older.”

Now depending on who is asking, realize that as parents and grandparents, they care about you. They are naturally curious to hear your thoughts. Even if you have no idea or you’re confused, it’s okay to say exactly that. It’s better than just saying, “I don’t know” and closing the door to your bedroom, shutting them out.

Good advice is to talk with people about their jobs. Gain some experience by doing some various things and pay attention to what you find pleasing and personally rewarding. Equally as valuable, pay attention to what you find unsatisfactory. You don’t have to choose one career and stick with it until you retire. That’s not the only success.

Success could be changing jobs several times over your lifetime, making full use of different skills as you acquire them, leading where you once followed, or taking on a new challenge to stretch yourself. You might head back to school and you might not. There’s no one formula for success.

Be true to yourself. Maybe – just maybe – that’s a good thing to be as you grow up.

Our Choices Spread Jobs Around


Of late, my wife and I have been actively looking at where and how we want to live  from now until retirement and then hopefully long into that next stage. There are a lot of tradespeople and others who will ultimately gain or lose work based on what we decide. Ever thought about that yourself?

So we live in a bungaloft; a home with a main floor, finished basement and a second storey that overlooks the living room on the main floor. Outside we’ve got many floral gardens; 95% of which are filled with perennials; so there’s less work than it looks at this stage as the bulk of the work is done. The folks at garden centres have a lot of our money!

The thing is, we can’t at the moment, decide on what to do between the choices we’ve presented to ourselves. We could:

  1. Stay put and do some renovating to make a really nice home even better
  2. Move to some property with a great view, and a house that ticks off all the things on our ‘dream’ list
  3. Buy a lot and have a home built from scratch just the way we want it
  4. Move to a smaller place; like a condo and buy a recreation vehicle and travel weekends and on our vacations

Now I’m not just sharing our discussions for the purpose of garnering ‘likes’ such as one would on FB. No, I’m sharing because there are a lot of working people who will make money or lose opportunities based on whatever we decide. And who knows; there could be more options yet that come to light.

There’s the RV sales people; and if you’ve not been inside some campers and trailers for years, you should think about taking in such a show. Things have come a long way in comfort and options. Bigger isn’t always better, but it sure is nice to have some comforts when you’re coming in after a day on the trails, white water rafting or having been out doing pretty much anything active. Yes the RV sales people will be happy to know that we’re potentially in the market – again.

Now we’ve moved 8 times if you include the first three years of our marriage where we were in 3 apartments in the first 3 years. 5 different houses representing 10 real estate commissions, 10 lawyer’s fees, 3 home inspectors and way too many people in administrative roles to count giving buyers and sellers approval for this and that. In the last house, we stood and watched it go up right from the foundation. So many builders! There’s the tradespeople; the carpet layer, the hardwood installer, the trim team, the counter top manufacturer’s, the roofers, the framers, the dry waller’s, the landscapers who brought in the armour stone and made the waterfall, the plumbers, electricians, asphalt team, city inspector, gas, hydro, cable and water installers, the people delivering turf. Forgot to mention the heavy equipment operators, window installers and manufacturer’s, and of course all the people who produce and sell all the contents from lighting and bathroom fixtures to painters and HVAC people. Then too there’s the movers who transport all the ‘stuff’ from one house to another. So many people!

That’s a lot of jobs for a lot of people and we’re only one couple. When the housing industry is booming, it’s not hard to see that for every time you pass a new development going up, a lot of people are benefitting from the work created.

And what of that RV? There are owners of campgrounds hoping we’ll be among the many who frequent their sites. There’s the gas station employees and owners who hope we’re on the road, the people who build, sell and install the appliances contained within. Then there’s plumbers, electricians, framers, again. There are folks on automotive assembly lines who work at construction, engine installation, wiring, lighting and depending on the model, even the kitchen sink and toilet!

Then we’ve got to find a place to store the vehicle perhaps, for if we stay put, that new RV can’t stay in the driveway. Nope, by-laws forbid that. So someone makes money storing and maybe winterizing that RV.

I see a lot of Mitchell money going out. Oh, and to pull it unless it’s self-driven? Yep, that’s one of our cars to sell and replace with a vehicle with better towing capacity. I just keep thinking of all the people happy to take my money; our money. Oh well, it is only money. Right? Then again, I’m about 7 years (give or take) from retiring and then the money coming in drops. That bears thinking about.

That we’re in this thought process isn’t the thrust of the piece, but a look at who in the world of work will be affected and receive income/work from our choices. Say, what if we stayed put and just did some traveling of a different sort? Then the people taking our money might be airlines, hotel owners, restauranteurs, theatre owners, valets, RV rental agents, train operators, etc. What about all the souvenir creators and vendors relying on us, the servers, hotel staff, bed and breakfast operators and tour guides? What of the amusement operators – why even the road crews who pave the roads we’ll drive on?

There are a lot of people potentially taking our money. Stay tuned contractors, agents, builders, vendors, assembly line workers, …

What If You Can’t Find Your Passion?


“Follow your dreams, do what makes you come alive; find your passion.” Sound familiar? Maybe somebody said as much in your valedictorian address in high school or college/university. Or perhaps it was your mentor; Aunt May or your granddad. All well intended of course; with your best interests at heart.

You might be familiar with a saying that goes, “Love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life”. The idea being that when you do something or some things that you love doing, you’re not actually working. This is one quote I’ve never really liked for it then implies that work has to be something you don’t love. If you’re working; and especially if you’re working hard at something, you can’t love it. Well, I just don’t see things that way.

Some of the hardest working people I know love what they do. In fact, it is precisely because they love their work so much that they invest themselves and work hard to improve; all because the end products and services they give will better the experience of the consumer. Their work brings them happiness and immense satisfaction and they love it so much they aren’t interested in changing to do something else.

But what of the person – possibly you – who hasn’t found what their passion is? What if you’re talented at something or even several things but the word passionate is just wrong. You might have days where you feel good about your work of course, and your boss is happy with your performance. However, to say you’re truly passionate about your work would be a lie. So you wonder every so often about these people who have apparently found passion in the work they do, and you say to yourself, “I wonder what that’s like; to use such a strong emotional word like ‘passion’ to describe how they go about their work.”

Now you can go to school and take courses to improve your skills on a subject, to expand your knowledge on a topic, to learn a specific trade and if you go far enough you can even get a doctorate and be a professor of something. That is something to be proud of and a significant accomplishment. To become a professor or doctor of something would seemingly make you an expert or at the very least well-versed and informed on a particular topic. Yet, for all that schools share and teach, impart and instruct, teaching passion isn’t in any curriculum.

Can you teach passion is what I’m saying? No, I don’t think you can. You can be passionate about what it is you do but fail miserably in attempting to pass that passion on to others. Oh I’m not saying those around you won’t be inspired by you; for I believe they often are. However, just because you’re passionate about your work doesn’t mean that those coming into contact with you and seeing how you go about what you do will automatically be similarly invested in that passion.

When in fact someone says, “Find your passion!” where do you begin? It can seem like you need to take a few years off and travel to exotic destinations, live in a rain forest, serve the needy in a third world country or scale Mount Everest. On a local and far more accessible scale, maybe that’s why zip-lining, parachuting and taking ax throwing classes are rising in popularity; people are looking to stimulate their emotional passion for something by doing something extreme.

So what of the average person (even saying average seems like a letdown to some of you I know) who has a regular job. The person who pays down their mortgage regularly, buys a car every 5 years and goes in to work 5 days a week, lives a pretty ‘normal’ life in other words? Can one be happy if they do well at their job but the word, ‘passion’ isn’t something they’ve ever used to describe how they feel about their job? Yes of course.

With all the people out their telling you to find your passion, I’d recommend you remember that the only person you need answer to for whether that’s important to you personally is…well…you. If it’s not important that you love your work, you don’t have to. If you don’t love your work it need not mean you hate it. Hate is a strong word. You could be competent but indifferent. So you could like selling but whether it’s clothes, shoes, games, cars or fishing tackle, it doesn’t matter. Equally of interest you might also be good at and enjoy fixing appliances or refinishing furniture.

Yes there are a lot of people in this world doing work they love and many doing work without passion. Of course finding something you love and turning it into your source of full-time work and your source of income might seem like the goal, but there are many who would like to keep their passion and their full-time work separate. After all, the fear of losing your passion for something because it’s become work is a genuine concern.

So if you’ve not found your passion, don’t fret. Yes, and this from someone who loves what he does. It might take you a short time or years to discover passion if ever. You can still be successful, happy and good at many things!

Wanting To Experience A Better Future


If you assume that everybody wants a better future, you’d be surprised to find out that your assumption is wrong. Of course, we’d have to come to an understanding between us about what the term, ‘better’ implies. Does better mean more money, a better job; maybe ‘just’ a job? Does it imply a home to live in, a loving partner, a pet, travel, having children, etc.? Better to you might not be better for others no matter what you name.

For many, building a better future is going to take work; work they’re ready to put in so that one day they can make what others only hope for. These kind of people believe they are the architects of their own future, that nothing worth having is just going to be handed to them. They plan and then put their plans into action by rolling up their sleeves and getting down to business. How bad they want it and how hard they’re ready to work for it will decide how successful they’ll be and how long it will take to realize what they’re after.

Others  believe a better future is worth a $5.00 investment once a week or more. These folks have pinned their future to a lottery; they dream big and invest little; setting aside some of their disposable income on an extremely small chance that luck will favour them. Soon they’ll stand on a stage with an over-sized cheque and life will dramatically change for them with the calling out of some random numbers. Their philosophy is, “you can’t win if you don’t play”, while others believe, “it’s impossible to lose if you don’t play.”

For others, having a better future has nothing at all to do with money or wealth. Their picture of a brighter and better future has to do with improved health; eradicating a disease, overcoming a health scare, getting stronger, changing their weight, having more stamina etc. It might mean new dentures that bring back their smile, learning to walk again or walking pain-free. Hoping and praying perhaps for a cure that comes in their time for what is slowly robbing them of their body and mind.

Some seemingly have it all together from outward appearances. Still searching and wanting a better future however, they may have hopes for reconciliation, patching up past relationships, strained friendships, They may dogged by an inability to let things go, reluctant to put in the effort to bring about the change needed, to choose forgiveness instead of bitterness.

For you though; you my reader – what does a better future mean for you? What does that look like when you picture life ahead?

Maybe you’re one who wants a better, more fulfilling future but has yet to figure out what that future looks like. Perhaps your wish and hope is actually that; to figure it out. Just being able to decide what career or job you’d most like – that alone would be something! Getting past the indecision, wanting to put a plan in action but not being able to because you figure you must have something to be working toward and the not-knowing has you paralyzed, stressed and downright frustrated.

If you’re after a better future; you can go about it in one of two ways I suppose; change nothing and believe that eventually what you’re doing in the present will bring about the result you’re after. The other alternative is that something; or some things (plural) need to change. Most of the time those who believe something has to change start with a shift in their thinking. The mindset, thoughts, ideas and beliefs sometimes have to shift, being willing to try that which hasn’t been tried before. Do this and you embrace a, “Change begins with me” mentality; “Be the change I want to see” philosophy.

So whether it’s finding yourself, finding God, finding a golden ticket in a chocolate bar or finding yourself signing a new car agreement, the decisions you make going forward from today will bring you closer to your goal or leave you further from it.

Is it as simple as that? Does it come down to better decision-making? All the decisions you’ve made up to now have in large part been responsible for where you find yourself now. The food in your cupboards products of your decisions made in the grocery store. The furniture you sit on a result of the decisions you made on what to buy, borrow or claim. The job you have a product of your decision about your education, your choice of employers, your decision to commute or not.

Decisions are often made by others that affect us though. Employers move, expand and contract, lay off and hire, promote and fire. How we react to these things is ultimately our decision to make. Do we rebel and fight, carry the bitterness with us, shake their hand and move on?

Opting for a brighter and better future might be what you’ve decided on for yourself. Determining what that means – for you personally – is entirely up to you. Talking it out is often a good start. Even when you aren’t sure what you’ll end up deciding on, getting your thoughts out and sharing what’s going on in your mind is helpful.

No sage advice this time around. Just a question; If you want a better future, what does it look like?