Of all the things you can do to make a living, why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you getting up in the morning and doing this particularly work? Sure, you have to pay the bills. But you can pay the bills doing a million other things instead. Why this work?
Do you even know?
If pressed, most will admit that they ended up where they are largely by chance and there wasn’t much of a plan. For others, they knew exactly what they wanted to do and busted their humps to create the career they wanted.
If you ask people who have a lot of achievements, they can tell you exactly why they’re doing what they’re doing. They have an answer because they figured out the ‘why’ and set a goal to create their ideal outcomes. Yes, yes. We’ve all heard anecdotes of the guy who worked his ass off to become a high powered professional only to hate his life and give it all up to juggle chainsaws. Perhaps. But I can assure you from experience, that the vast majority of highly successful professionals do not, for a moment, regret the hard work they put into their careers.
The difference between comparatively more successful people and others can be summarized in 2 points:
1. They know why they want something and set a goal to achieve it.
2. They can delay gratification until they achieve it.
Studies show that kids who can delay gratification are of higher intelligence. This translates to the habit of work first, play after. And this is the paramount habit of anybody with a modicum of success. Being able to delay short-term gratification bodes well for long term goal setting.
However, it’s hard to set a goal if you don’t know why you want that goal. And without a goal, you can’t aim for anything. Even if your goal is to live a zen-‘goal-less’ happy-go-lucky existence, eschewing societal expectations (until you starve and need money to buy a sandwich), you still need to know why you want a life as a hipster.
So why are you doing what you’re doing?
Is this something you wanted to do as a kid?
Is this something you admire others for doing?
Is this something that pays you a lot of money?
Is this something you stumbled across but grew to love?
Is this something you would do if they cut 50% of your earnings?
Is this something you would set-up shop to do on your own?
Is this something that you can’t stop talking about because you want others to feel your passion for the work?
Is this something you want to constantly improve at and be the best at?
If you can’t answer ‘Yes’ to even one, you owe it to yourself to figure stuff out. You spend way too much time working to not be working at something you absolutely love.
You have so much direct control over your career, it’s frightening. If only everybody realized how much power there is in ‘intention’.
I met a business strategist a few months ago. He asked me a question that absolutely floored me with it’s potency. A gentleman by the name of Dan Sullivan first asked this and has written a wonderful book about the implications of the question. Go buy it and read everything he has to say.
“If you looked back three years from now, what needs to have happened in the next three years for you to consider yourself successful?” (Paraphrased)
Think about the question. Then think about why you’re doing what you’re doing. If you cannot reconcile what you’re doing with why you’re doing it, then do something else. A poor economy is a poor excuse to not take control of your career.
Once you know why, each step of the way will become apparent.