If you are waiting for your ship to come in, then you might want to send a few out…
Otis Redding said it best, “Sittin’ on the dock of the bay, wastin’ time!”
Nothing, I repeat nothing, ever happens until you take action. So, why are people so stubborn when it comes to the action vs. reaction theory? Well, my personal option is that they believe they are different. Try this:
- Pour a glass of water.
- Stick your finger in the water.
- Quickly pull your finger out.
If it leaves a hole in the water, you are unique.
Now that we know that doesn’t work, how about a more productive theory? I love my job! Why? Because I work very hard at it. I know it doesn’t look like I am working hard, because I am asked daily how I got into this business. What most folks want to know is how can I make money playing? There are two answers to this question: 1) the answer I give and 2) the answer I don’t. The answer I give is that after years of teaching, I found that speaking was not that much different. The real answer is that after years of teaching and mastering the craft of story telling, I ventured out into speaking. Now the two answers sound similar, but there is a marked difference. The story I give makes it sound like a transition–and it was! The story I don’t tell is that there was a transition that made me step outside my comfort zone, take a chance, pay my dues, and became a ten-year, overnight success.
People see what they want to see. If I had a ten dollar bill for every person who has told me, “You know, I think I could do what you do!” Well, let’s just say I’d get a head start on my retirement. Just like anyone who wants to live their dream, first you have to deal with the nightmare of failure. Standing out there on stage with no safety net, no back up, the endless travel, the Groundhog Day hotel rooms… Well, I think you get it. Just as success has no boundaries, failure will show you every boundary known to man. I’d like to point out that in the last 23 years, I have had countless conversations with individuals who were sincerely interested in paying their dues, but did not posses the skills, and I have had folks who had the skills, but did not want to pay the dues. Please don’t jump on the first ship that comes your way–especially if it’s the Titanic!
When I was a child, I idolized country music singers. I learned every song! But I can’t sing. I wanted to be a Johnny Cash, but I had the skill set of Jerry Clower. Every job you will ever hold should be looked at as preparation for where you want to be next.
And here are some tips to help you find your dream ship:
1. Determine where you bloom best. As Abraham Lincoln says, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Before thinking about how to get ahead, figure out where your head and interests are taking you. If you’re not certain yet, don’t be afraid to experi-job. It takes most people a few tries to figure out what they’re good at.
2. Be selective in your pur-suits (try stuff on to see if it fits). Don’t waste time doing jobs that don’t contribute much to your larger goal. Pick something that has greater impact, more responsibility, and a steeper learning curve. Try to figure out how to make a career out of something that’s fun. It’s one sure way to love what you do.
3. Work at a startup, start your own business, or a non- profit at least once. At startups and non-profits, you can have a huge impact and play multiple different roles at once. Building something from the ground up will give you experience you can’t get from anything else. Your position will also accelerate faster, whether you move to another company or rise in your current company. You’ll also meet get-it-done people who will stretch you.
4. Choose challenging growth over boredom-driven growth. When your challenges exceed your skills, you feel anxiety. But when your skills exceed your challenges, you feel boredom. In order to stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone, we need to seek challenges that are beyond our current skill set.
5. Use the “Buffett Formula.” (I’m not talking about Jimmy). Warren Buffett sits in his office and reads all day. He estimates that he spends 80% of his work day reading and thinking. This will help you become a learning machine. (Just don’t think too much and get paralysis by analysis.)
6. Pick peoples brains—talk to someone who is a master at what you want to do. Take them out on a coffee date and learn as much as you can about the decisions they make. If you can, try to get them to become your mentor. Don’t waste their time. Do it if it applies.
That’s why our team has developed so many DVDs and books to help you send out your ships everyday. Sooner—not later—your ship will come ashore.