When it comes to your career, play BIG or go home

When it comes to your career, play BIG or go home

I recently completed a course that reminded me how most people dabble their way through life, sweating the small stuff, worrying and obsessing about little things.

“Shit, that’s me!”, I realised. All the time and energy I spend on crummy stuff. Stressing about paying the bills. Getting shitty in the morning traffic. Worrying if my invoice will be paid today or tomorrow. Complaining if the sun doesn’t shine, and I can’t go to the beach. Petty family arguments about whose turn it is to stack the dishwasher. And on and on it goes.

It’s like I was majoring in minor things. My dreams seemed to be shrouded in frustrations and the aggravation of daily life. I had lost that sense of purpose, certainty, and the winner’s edge. In other words, I was playing a crummy game, and getting crummy outcomes for my life and myself.

And so the course was a wake up call for me – once again. And over the summer break I reflected a little on where I am in my life, what lies ahead, and what do I want to lie ahead. And this is where I got to …

I’m 54. That means I’ve got about another 20 years of “work” ahead of me. Not that that’s a problem in any way, since my work is an important expression of who I am. But another 20 years!! Wow, that’s like a whole lifetime. Turn your mind back to where you were 20 years ago, what you were doing, and what you have done and achieved since. It’s a whole career. I have another whole career just waiting, right in front of me. And I need to grab it by the proverbial balls!

There’s a thing called The Niagara Syndrome, and it works like this. Life is like a river, and most people jump on the river of life without really deciding where they want to end up. Especially people who are at “the end of their career”. So they get caught up in the current, and when they get to forks in the river they just go with the flow. They remain in this state of going with the flow until one day the sound of the raging water awakens them, and they discover they’re five feet from Niagara Falls in a tiny boat with no oars. At this point they shout out, “Oh heck!” But it’s too late, and they are going to fall. Not me!

My ‘Brand Me’ sign has always been “Do epic shit”. It’s what I stand for, and what you can expect to get from me when [if] you work with me. It’s my way of saying, “I’m here to play BIG. I’m not into crummy stuff.” And that is something I have recommitted myself to as I start my next career.

It’s often said we each have seven careers in a lifetime. Perhaps it’s more like three. No matter. Every time you do begin something new – a new career, a new year, a new project, a new relationship, a new home – it’s your opportunity to shake the dust, stop dabbling, take charge, and recommit yourself.

More reading:

Brand you: How would you sum up your life in just 6 words?
Personal branding: Are your words leading to feeble or powerful outcomes?
Don’t get caught up in the career game


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