Going All Directions At Once…Oh Look, A Squirrel!

February 7, 2013 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

Somewhere downstairs in our dungeon of a basement I have a pull toy I made in college. The design assignment was to design and construct a toy that evoked what we were feeling at the time or how our life was going. At the time I had just entered the University to complete my degree and was torn by many other interests as well. I had chosen graphic design and illustration as my majors because of a life long interest in it. Yet I had other interests as well, music, teaching, and construction to name a few.

So I built a pull toy of a pickup truck. Except mine had four front-ends going four different directions. No matter which of the four pull cords you pulled it wouldn’t go anywhere without dragging. In other words it was a metaphor for how I felt at the time. Eventually I became comfortable with my decision to pursue graphic design and put all my energy into succeeding at that.

Most of us will have several careers over a lifetime When my parents were young, you could graduate high school or not, get a job at a factory or in some industry, work 30 years and retire with a modest income for life. Not so today, most of us, like myself, will have had several careers as well as jobs over their lifetime. I’ve done construction from laborer to superintendent, I’ve sold insurance and grain buildings, and for the past 18 years I’ve been in the advertising field. With each of these careers I hit a wall eventually. They weren’t fun anymore and/or I just wasn’t making any money at them. I lasted the longest in construction but will soon eclipse that with advertising. It’s now a fact of life. Changing careers is a must. It will happen so embrace it.

Going in many directions When you are young it’s normal for you to not know what you want to do with your life. Back in the day your decision was a lifetime decision but not so now. So picking a career that you can live with the rest of your life is not so important anymore. One can explore many opportunities in many fields now to find one that fits at the moment. The problem occurs when you can’t make up your mind in which direction you want to go and you end up going nowhere.

Rule Number 1 Go only in one direction at a time. You’ve heard the story over and over. Young person goes to Hollywood to become a star and ends up waiting tables. It happens to all of us, we start going in one direction and end up in another that’s way off track from our goal. Yet, we have to survive and pay our bills. That leads to the next rule.

Rule Number 2 Once you have a direction to go in don’t take your eye off the goal. It’s easy to get distracted. Think of a bloodhound. How he can’t be thrown off the track no matter what. That’s how we must become to succeed. No distractions, no detours, no time outs. This takes not only discipline, but also planning. How are you going to get there? What’s the cost? What education will I need? Who do I need to know? Without a roadmap to where you’re going, you won’t get there.

Rule Number 3 This brings us to the final rule: What are you willing to sacrifice. Let’s say you’ve decided to become a brain surgeon or rocket scientist. You are older now, in your 40’s. It’s not an impossible goal, it can be done, but what are you willing to sacrifice? Your savings? Your house? Your family? These are things you need to think about before leaping into the deep end of the pool. The more prepared you are the higher the chances are for success.

I could write a book on this topic and maybe I will someday if I don’t get too distracted by all the other stuff rolling around in my head. Today I try to go in one direction at a time and I certainly look before I leap. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. There have been times that the process has paralyzed me, and then there have been times of great success. It’s the successes that you live for. Now go get ‘em, Tiger.


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