Take action. Do something. Make progress. Don't wait for a perfect opportunity or ideal product. Just take action and see what happens and how you feel as you start moving.
Whether you're launching a business or resetting your career, the key is to keep moving forward. I've worked with folks who want to fine-tune a product to death or overanalyze a career move but the answer is really fairly simple. Make a choice, take a step, and see what happens.
To this end, I've felt stuck for some time on some survey data I got from readers almost a year ago.
They said this:
Not knowing what to do, I did nothing. Then, three weeks ago, I decided to put something together. It's not perfect or polished, but it's something. I'm giving it everything I've got and hoping it adds value.
This Wednesday, November 30 at 8pm CST I'll be convening a one-hour webinar to talk through the RESET process. Free. For as many people as want to join. We're calling it "New Year, New Career." Sign up is below.
More than anything, though, I hope you take away from this post this truth:
Nothing happens unless you move. So take action and move.
I have a friend who started his first job out of college three months ago and I can tell it’s sucking his soul.
I saw him recently and he had that look: tired, de-energized, disengaged…generally unenthused about work.
Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily.
Soul-sucking jobs play an important role — they motivate us. In fact, I think everyone should have at least one for a short time.
My advice to him — and you — would be the same…stick it out long enough to feel the burning desire to do something else, then make the leap.
Until you feel that desire, you’ll leap half-heartedly and be at risk to bail when the leaping gets tough.
Every quarter JP Morgan puts out a 100-page financial report chock-full of financial lingo and models, dense economic data, and lots of other...interesting...things. When I learned this from one of my clients, I thought, "Man, I bet there are like 1,000 people in the whole world that actually read that thing."
Imagine my shock when my client then said that he reads it cover to cover. For fun. Because it's super interesting.
I said, "That's not normal."
He laughed and went on to explain it, to which I remarked, "That's still not normal."
And yet, that's a sign of passion! What do you love to engross yourself in because it's interesting? What do you lose track of time reading or studying? What abnormal things do you look forward to?
I talked to another guy the other day who hates being a dentist and would rather be a park ranger.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I LOVE camping. Like, if I retired today I'd go camping every night. I'd probably even work at a National Park at the cash register, just to sustain myself so that my wife and I can camp out and travel from National Park to National Park."
How do you find your passion?
Start by looking for the abnormal things you like to do, then ask yourself "why?" If you want to take it one step further, ask how you could apply your talents and actually make money doing that abnormal thing.
I was sitting in a meeting the other day with a close friend who works in prosthetics and orthotics. Someone mentioned an interaction they had -- totally off topic -- with an amputee who had a 30 ply prosthetic leg. My friend lit up talking about how 3-ply was the standard. Afterward I said, "Man, you know a lot about that stuff."
He said, "Oh yeah, I love this stuff."
So I continued, "What part of the prosthetics world is your jam?"
"Design," he said.
"Are you good at it?" I asked.
"I'd say I'm pretty good at it." (He was being humble).
"And, have you ever made money doing that? Like outside of work?"
"Sure," he said.
I call that convergence...when what you're passionate about, what you're good at, and what you've made money doing all come together. That's also called the foundation of a successful venture.
Figure out your weirdness and do more of it.
What makes the Mona Lisa so interesting? I have no idea, but I’m also not an art aficionado.
However, lots of other people do know what makes her so interesting, and they travel across the globe to see her.
Here’s the thing: she doesn’t know she’s amazing.
She sits in her frame looking out at the people walking by and wondering, “Why do these people stop and stare? What do they see? Is there something behind me? What’s so interesting?”
She doesn’t get it. She doesn't know how awesome she is because of this important principle:
It’s hard to see the picture when you’re in the frame.
Likewise, you might have little-to-no idea what your talents are, but other people do. If I gathered 20 of your closest friends, family, and colleagues into a room and asked them what makes you great, they’d probably identify 5-10 consistent things that make you uniquely you.
But you can't see it.
Herein lies the great paradox of talent: the only person who doesn't seem to know what you do best is YOU. Why? Because talents are natural, innate, and fluid. These talents are so much a part of who you are that you don't work to deploy them. They express naturally in your life and work.
Imagine figuring out these talents, then using them to guide the way you work. What if you could identify what you do best and use that as the foundation for your career and leadership? Better yet, don’t imagine, go do it.
The same way Mona Lisa would finally see her beauty -- have someone hold up a mirror and tell her.
Start by asking the people who would fly across the globe to see you what they see. When have they seen you at your best? What did they see? And why did it have an impact on them?
Uncomfortable? Sure. But not more uncomfortable than not knowing.
And the answer, applied to your work, just may change your whole trajectory.
Hi! I'm Dustin.
I post here once a week on Tuesdays, every week, at 4:59am. You can also sign up below to have these posts magically air-dropped straight to your inbox.