Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Be a doer.

I have yet to meet a person who has a hard time coming up with things they'd like to do, be, own, master, learn, etc. However, we all know more than a handful of people who are constantly talking about these desires without taking any action to get them closer to those goals. Our world is not without wanters, it is without doers.

Growing up one of my least favorite conversations with my Dad would start with, 'who do you want to be'? He would proceed to drill me about the type of person I desire to be. My future career path. What does my life look like five years down the road? Ten? Twenty?

After all, my Dad's job is essentially to take incredibly talented, hardworking athletes and make them better. He pushes even the Marvin Harrisons and the Reggie Waynes of the athletic world to achieve. So, for a living he motivates, tweaks, and pushes. This is a skill he also used/uses in parenting the three of us girls.

He always finished this conversation however, with a concept I've come to appreciate. That is he would always follow the drills about who I want to be with this loaded question, 'Now what are you doing to get there'? Ah ha. This is where wanters move over to join the ranks of the doers. What are YOU doing to get where you want to be? This question places a great deal of the responsibility for your success on the rightful owner, you.

Now don't get me wrong, this is an incredibly frustrating line of questioning. Especially when I was 16 and I felt like I shouldn't be expected to know what I wanted my 40-year-old-life to look like. After all, wasn't high school enough to handle at one time? I dreaded those conversations like you wouldn't believe and have only recently since being out on my own, come to appreciate what those questions lead me to do. A. take responsibility and realize that ultimately - nothing is handed to you & B. if you're not thinking about your future than your present isn't purposeful.

There is much value in living in the present. However, don't let enjoying today keep you from seeing tomorrow. The work you are doing now should be propelling you towards the future that you desire. Are you with me?

I tell my friends and students who haven't entered the working world yet that when you consider your major in college, the internships you take, and your post-graduation job make sure that you're building a life, not just a career. If you want to get married and have lots of kids and be a stay-at-home-mom (as many of my girlfriends do) then pick a career that will allow you to contribute to your family should you need too, without working full time. If you want to travel the world than either pick a job that will take you around the world, or a career that will enable you financially, to do so on your own.

Often you see 20-somethings floundering about in the their careers thinking they 'just need a job' but the truth is you should interview your future employers as much or more than they interview you. You do not want to be the employee who's ever bouncing from job to job and the quality of your work will suffer if you take a job just for the money. My disclaimer to my previous statement though, is that you sometimes you do what you must to survive. For some, that will mean working just for the money at a given point in time. It happens. But as much as you can control it, always be working towards the future you want.

A close friend of mine recently made some life changes that may have seemed on the surface to be taking a step back career wise. Her goal is to make it to New York City as a writer however, and what could be perceived as a 'step back' was really a step towards where she wants to be long-term. She could have continued in the direction she was headed and worked her way up within the company she was currently with but it wasn't going to lead her where she wanted to go.

Your twenties are for bold moves. Going after you want whole heartedly and not being afraid to fall on your face a few times in the process. More than likely, you won't. If you do, use it as motivation. In the roughest patch of my life I kept my eye on the prize and used what I was unhappy with in my life to fuel my fire to achieve what I wanted. That is ultimately how I ended up in Tampa, back where I wanted to be.

Even when you get what you want, keep the attitude of forward thinking. When you land the job you desire or you make it to the city you want to live in, that doesn't mean you don't have to be considering your next move. Being content doesn't mean being stagnant!..

Who do you want to be? Now tell me, what are you doing to get there?


Also if you haven't already, please watch the video of my Daddy from my previous entry.


Helen said...

What a lovely post! And so true! I made a decision a long time ago that I wanted a job where I would wake up every morning excited to go to work. So I picked the degree that I enjoyed the most, the work I liked doing and I keep trying new things and finding new things that I'm excited about and enjoy.

I don't have a concrete iea of where I will be in 5 years, but I know if I make sure I love what I do I'll end up ok.

After all, your work shouldn't be what keeps you from the rest of your life over evenings and weekends, it's what you do for most of your time, so to do something you don't enjoy is soul-crushing and silly.

That's just my opinion though!

Becca Christensen said...


You are fab. I already heart you girl.

I couldn't agree with you more. You have to love what you do or every moment of everyday will feel like work. I don't want that for my own life or for the lives of my friends.

Truthfully with 23 years of pushing from my Dad I still don't know what the next 5 years will look like for me either...but I'm excited about where I am and where I'm headed. I'm starting a new job in 2 weeks that I'm thrilled about.

Thanks for reading. : ]