Once upon a time, I was the Assistant Designer for Banana Republic evening-wear, swim-wear, active-wear, and intimates. I was part of an International Design Team housed in a gorgeous old warehouse in the garment district of NYC with gothic pillars and floor to ceiling windows and an open limit shopping account. My boss was a fabulous and funny woman from Southern England who had studied fashion design in London and Paris.
I got to sketch her ideas that were then constructed and fit to perfection on a professional model, before they were shown in our Formal Fashion Show Presentation each season. It was rushy, heady work filled with excitement and adrenaline and travel and shopping and fashion. It was the PERFECT job!
For somebody else.
I, frankly, was miserable. I was an odd ball who knew more about 17th Century Period Panniers than poplin, pleats or pin tucks. I was a fashion freak who still secured my shirt into my knickers to keep it tucked in tight. And wore BELTS! I liked them and they liked me, but it was definitely a case of the Chicken being raised by the Duck Family.
Thanks to that company, I was introduced to the land of Personal Development, where I discovered my core strengths and talents revolve around positivity, making the most of a situation, and helping others strategize how to do the same and to reach their full potential.
Soon after identifying what really made me tick, I resigned (much to the surprise of my friends and colleagues and the horror of my family) to go work for a gregarious, raucous, possibly bi-polar theatrical producer. While she was a whole basket of different fruit – including but not limited to, barking orders, throwing magnificent parties, screaming at anyone who uttered the phrase “How are you?”, addictively scouring ebay for vintage Hermès Handbags, and one time actually flicking me in the center of my forehead – the work I was doing was much closer to what was natural, what came easily to me. So while I walked away from a sure-fire fashion career with a steady promotion path and killer benefits, it still felt like the right move.
Now as a National Motivational Speaker, I draw upon those experiences to fully understand my audiences. To know that they might have a great job, but it might not be the right job for them. To encourage them to break out of numbness and embrace a future filled with fire.
Ask yourself… Are YOU in a great job? Is it great for you… or is it great for somebody else?
Do you ever hear your head tell your heart, “It’s ok, we’re safe and comfortable and we get to spend a lot of time on facebook every day! All we have to do is stick it out until we retire in X amount of years! THEN our life will really begin.”
Do you know what I think about THAT type of thinking? W. T. F.
THIS is your life. Right now. Do not waste one more precious moment settling for something that you have to endure until you retire! You get to decide what your future is going to look like.
I know you are scowling at my little picture up there and muttering “Easier said than done, Chirpy!”
I’m not suggesting you quit your job. Yet. But, here are 3 steps that you can take today to get you started on your personal path toward fulfillment.
Step A: What one aspect do you LOVE about your job? What is it you do that makes time disappear while you are working? What is the one part of you job that you always look forward to? Is it organizing all the details? Networking to make connections? Building relationships? Creating the displays? Closing the sale? Working quietly alone on future strategies? Comprehending the power of Social Media?
Think about the ONE thing you love to do most. When you have it clearly identified write what it is in a concise sentence, “I feel the most fulfilled and wholly effective in my job when I have the opportunity to _______.”
Step B: Schedule an appointment with your supervisor. Make it formal and make sure it is in the calendar. In ink. During that meeting you will share the following (rehearsed) script:
- When I have the opportunity to do _______ in my job, I feel fully engaged and motivated. I feel it is one of my core strengths and when I do __________ I feel I am serving the company, client, etc with my fullest potential.
- I would like to please request that you consider using me any time ________ needs to be done.
- Can you suggest some upcoming occasions where I may have the opportunity to do _______.
Step C: When you do get the chance to do your thing, knock it out of the park! Yes, it may mean a few longer hours or it may mean working through lunch or working at home for an hour or two after the kids are asleep, and you wish you were as well. But the time and effort you put in to shine in the area you feel most fulfilled with will pay off in a multitude of ways.
You will be more engaged. More energized. More confident. More effective overall. And THAT will be noticed. Then when it is time to talk about advancements or promotions, you will have a proven track record in the area you feel most alive!
As an added bonus to add fuel to your fire, look for opportunities to do your thing outside of work. At school, your house-of-worship, local non-profit organizations, anyplace where you can spend time doing the thing you love. This will set off a universal chain-reaction, and just may even lead to opportunities you never imagined, like being hired to do exactly what you love to do as your full time job!
Identifying what it is that burns at your core is the best way to ignite a life journey that will sizzle with satisfaction. Please, don’t wait to retire, start living now!