A couple of weeks ago I spied a client sitting with her husband and child at an outdoor table under a sun-filled azure sky. Happiness flooded her face. She was taking a lunch break on one of the three days she works from home. She had found a new job with minimal commuting that uses her past experience, is focused on her passions and allows her to work independently with little supervision. Lovely.
Her previous job was filled with success and she was comfortable. She could have continued to stay with it but a growing restiveness led her to explore other possibilities. The challenge of a new job was appealing because she knew that one of the secrets to thriving is continual learning. Sarah also knew that when she decided to return to school.
Sarah already had a BA and MFA from two of the finest schools in the country when I met her but she had discovered that a degree is not a career plan; it’s just one piece of the puzzle. So here she was – credentialed and miserable. We worked together for a long time. Occasionally Sarah got stopped for short periods of time but she managed to stay with the process and finally was able to clarify that she wanted to blend art, science and education. With no exact job title to describe this work, she knew she was on the right track when she found people who were doing what she wanted to do. She compared her background to theirs and became convinced she needed more education. Another degree? Yes. In August she begins a Masters’ program in Design. She’s excited and considers the financial investment in her education worth it because she will reap the benefits for the rest of her life.
After applying for school, Sarah took two more giant steps: she got married and bought a house. And, she landed a great summer job. When we take steps in one area of our life, it often leads to momentum in others.
The 3 C’s
Both of these clients used what I think of as the 3 C’s of thriving at work (and in our lives): clarity, commitment and courage. In this highly competitive job market, it’s not enough to go for a job, any job. If you do that, you’ll present yourself as a weak candidate. To land work that’s a great fit, get clear about what you want and about what you have to offer. Clarity will focus your job search and give you enthusiasm in the interview process. Then make a commitment to your dream, including the lifestyle you yearn for, and take steps that are consistent with this commitment. Third, draw on your courage – the courage to change, take some risk, and stick with it, no matter what.
Here’s what I see: clarity begets clarity, commitment begets commitment, and courage begets courage. Your whole life will enlarge when you take a stand for what you want, go for it, and stick with it.
PS Have you read my new book? You can order it from Amazon.com in a print or Kindle version: Thrive: The Entrepreneurial Path to a Great Life. Need an inspiring program for your company or assocation? I can lead a mini-workshop based on the book – 2 hours or less in length. Here’s what a past participant wrote: “I just wanted to tell you your presentation was honest, insightful and hilarious. I got a lot out of it, as did the other participants.”