By Craig Kitch
When I was a kid, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I knew the things I enjoyed and I knew what I was good at. But somewhere along the way I lost that dream. Looking back, I realize that it was conditioned out of me. Well-meaning people who loved me and cared about me nudged me in more sensible directions and I conformed to their wishes.
Remember when you were in school? You brought home a report card with varying grades. Lets say you made an “A” in History and a “D” in Arithmetic. What was the response from your teachers and parents? You were told to “work harder on your arithmetic”. Now when it comes to school, that is clearly the appropriate response. The fact is we will not do well in society if we cannot balance a checkbook, read instructions or any number of other necessary skills. However, that system conditions us during the first 18 years of our life to be constantly working on the things we are not so good at doing. Additionally, our parents want to see us in secure jobs with benefits (no matter what the task is or how well it fits our natural skills and personality) and so they influence our job search after school as well.
Aristotle said, “Where your greatest talents and the world’s greatest needs cross, there lies your vocation.” You should end each week saying, ” I can’t believe they pay me to do this!” Unfortunately, most people say they would quit their current job if they won the lottery. Chances are you won’t win the lottery, but the truth is you CAN earn a living doing something you love. Your work should not only provide for your financial needs, but should also reward you inwardly.
BE ENCOURAGED. If this sounds like the situation you are in, you can do something about it. Here are five basic steps you can take to move into a career you will be passionate about.
- Determine what you really want to do. I recommend getting away for a few hours or even a day to a place where you are undisturbed. Now daydream. As possibilities arise, write them down. Do not judge them at this point. Simply write down everything that comes to mind. You my end up with a list of 15 or 20 ideas, that’s okay. You may end up with a list of 3 ideas, which is okay as well.
- Eliminate the unreasonable. Begin to scratch off the ideas that you don’t really have the natural ability to do (you may want some feedback from a spouse or close friend for this). As an example, I would love to be a Rock Star with incredible sex appeal. The problem is that I am a middle aged, balding, overweight guy that cannot sing or play an instrument. So, Rock Star gets cut from the list. As you pare down your list, you will begin to see a pattern form. You will end up with a handful of career interests that you would enjoy and they will most likely share some of the same functions that you have a natural ability to do.
- Make a plan. Set some specific goals to methodically move you toward your dream. How long this takes depends on where you are now and where you want to go. If you decide you want to be a physician, you will have some schooling ahead of you. If you simply want to transfer your management skills from one industry to another, you may be able to make that happen pretty quickly. Whatever your desire, you will have a much greater hold on success by writing down a specific plan and then following it.
- Visualize your dream daily. Most people fail to step out in faith and make the necessary sacrifices to realize their dream because they can’t really see their dream coming true. Spend a couple of minutes every morning and every evening seeing yourself living your dream. Visualize your success, your happiness and excitement in working at what you are truly passionate about. Visualizing the end goal and seeing yourself progressing towards it will help you get through the potholes of life as you move toward your dream.
- Stay focused. This is simply the most important and the most difficult of all the steps. Most people that fail do so because they lose focus. I will admit that I get sidetracked myself and I have put some systems in place to keep me focused. I have checklists that I follow and a wonderful wife who is not afraid to ask me what I accomplished towards my goal today. Whatever your method, make sure you get up every day and stay on track as you move towards your dream.
YOU CAN DO IT! As I write this, I am aware that a number of people will disconnect somewhere along the way because they think they have missed their chance, not gained enough experience or some other self-disqualifier. WRONG! You are not too young. You are not too old. You are not too short, too tall, too skinny or too fat. You are standing in the perfect place to begin. Bill Gates dropped out of college his junior year to start a company that has revolutionized the world. Colonel Sanders didn’t get the right fried chicken formula until he was 66 years old. Grandma Moses (arguably one of America’s most renowned painters) did not start painting until she was 74 and her paintings did not become popular until she was in her 80’s.
I love the old Chinese proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now”. So what are you waiting for? You can do whatever you want to do. Don’t waste this wonderful blessing to become everything you were meant to be. Whether it takes you 6 months or 6 years to reach your dream, it won’t happen if you don’t get started. By the way, the journey is not bad either.
Craig Kitch works with managers to reduce conflict and improve communication so that everyone can stay focused on their jobs. He began his professional life as a broadcaster, where he learned the power of the spoken word. He took those skills with him into the hospitality industry where he had a very successful career for over 20 years. Working in management, Craig developed the skills necessary to pull teams of people together and lead them to accomplish ambitious goals. He eventually became a “turn around specialist”, using those skills to remedy problematic properties.
Today Craig runs his own business, Kitch and Associates, and is dedicated to improving the lives of managers. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Nashville Hotel and Lodging Association and he is President of the National Speakers Association for the State of Tennessee.
For more information go to www.CraigKitch.com or call 615-378-0120.
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