Tell me if this has ever happened to you: You know something in your heart to be true, yet you are unable to put it into words and then… ‘Boom!’ You read something someone has written and it articulates your own thoughts beautifully.
This is how I felt when I read this from entrepreneur Paul Jarvis:
Wanting a successful career is kind of myopic. Any career will have its highs and lows, times when you feel on top of the world and times when you feel like giving up.
Successful seems to imply there are no downs to the ups. Successful seems to imply that you actually figure sh*t out and it stays figured out.
Anyone who says they’ve figured it out is lying or has completely given up. Neither seems “successful”.
I care more about longevity than success. Longevity implies that at least some things are working, at least some of the time, with enough momentum for the good bits to outlast the bad bits. Longevity means not that what I’ve figured out will stay figured out but that I won’t ever stop trying to figure sh*t out.
I must admit, at one time, I was myopic. I think that most of us journey from a sort of tunnel vision into a more expansive and different outlook on life as we age and gain experience. This only happens though…if we maintain awareness. If we are on auto pilot, moving through life, and numbing our minds to possibility, then unfortunately, we won’t ever get to experience the longevity that Paul talks about.
There is no end – except when we die and I am of course speaking of what I know for sure on this side off the fence. Life is meant to challenge and stretch us. Learning takes place when we put in effort, fail, try again, do something differently, approach things from a different angle.
We chase after certainty and security but both are elusive.
I always felt that things should be linear and straightforward. If you do this, then this will happen, you will receive this and then you will be set for life! Hahahahahaha.
Life is messy and that’s not a bad thing. It keeps us attentive. It is a constant journey of exploration and learning – taking on new challenges – and experiencing massive defeat – only to rise again on another day and conquer the very thing that trumped you the day before!
So what can you do? How can you keep your music playing without losing faith?
- You need to start thinking for yourself. What do I mean? You need to constantly be sifting through information and determine whether what you’re reading/hearing makes sense to you. Don’t be eager to take someone’s word. Analyze it. See if it makes sense. Examine how you feel. Our bodies tell us when something seems “off”. If it’s not right for us we will know. Be courageous enough to leave stuff on the table if it doesn’t feel right. This pertains to careers, projects, relationships, investments….EVERYTHING.
- You need to tap into and release your full potential. You know you’ve got potential untapped! What are you waiting for? Ask yourself this: “What would my life be like if I could have total certainty?” How much could you do if only you didn’t let uncertainty hamper your efforts? What would you do? How much faster could you take action? How much faster would you reach your goals? How much more could you earn? What could you really accomplish? How many lives could you impact/change? You “do life” in a thoroughly unique way. There is a consistent pattern to the way you function. You live out that pattern again and again throughout your life. That pattern describes your giftedness in action. Without knowing what that is you’ll continue having a number of false starts and keep hitting that brick wall.
- Whatever you do, you need to ALWAYS do your best. I know this sounds simple, and you may claim that you’re doing this already, but you’re not. And I know this because I don’t always do my best either. I actually have to remind myself with post-it notes on my computer to do my best on those projects that I don’t feel like doing or not in the mood to do. This is real life. We don’t always FEEL to do stuff but have to. How you do your work is your signature. There’s a saying “How you do anything is how you do EVERYTHING!” Doing your best requires discipline and focused attention. At the end of any task you can feel good about yourself WAY before someone compliments you on a job well done.
If you focus on these three things, you will lead a successful life on your terms. This prescription is transformative. Don’t take it lightly.