Something I’ve noticed lately is how many people around me are doing jobs they despise. Or, they’re ineffective. OR BOTH.
Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend, and asked how business was going… a natural pivot in our weekly conversation. It occurred to me that I have been hearing the same response from him for years:
“Uh, ok…. you know ups and downs.”
Yeah, I get it. Business IS tough. It’s very tough when you are solely responsible for the outcome of the sale, as well as overseeing the day to day transactional nature of everything. No matter how much you love your job, you are going to have ups and downs. However, there was something a little more apparent in his voice.
It was the sound of resignation. Perhaps it was there for years, and I’d never noticed it, but I did now.….and I didn’t say anything about it to him.
I’ve admittedly struggled with calling friends and business partners out on where their heads are in their business. For many reasons, I suppose, but I also know I never wanted to come across hypocritical. After all, I too have had struggles and didn’t always make timely or wise choices.
This lead me to today. It’s not that I suddenly woke up to this. It’s just that I can’t stand by anymore. I need to put it out there. Here’s what I did to put myself into a far better position, with my own thoughts, my potential, my business, my business partners, my family, my wife, my church, etc. etc. etc. (and not even kind of in that order).
I realized I was at a point that I couldn’t continue to lie to myself about my direction and my passions. I decided to stop doing what I was doing. In fact, I stopped everything. I stopped calling old business relationships, working to continue to “convince” them that I had that secret they needed or a skillset that they could hire. I stopped talking to people about all the different things I could do: real estate, insurance, financial planning, public speaking, drumming (again, etc. etc. etc.). I stopped talking the same way. I stopped hanging out at the same businesses for lunch, which in turn allowed me to stop eating poorly. I stopped sitting on my couch. I stopped watching TV. I stopped playing video games (I miss that one!). I stopped spending so much time on the valueless side of the internet, killing time because I felt like I could afford it. I couldn’t.
I spent the next few weeks and months changing my habits. Slowly, at first. I didn’t want any slapback. I wanted this to be it. This change needed to stick. It couldn’t be temporary. I didn’t want to hear any “I told you so’s” from business people or friends.
Stop where you are right now and consider. Listen to me. Consider if you’re doing what I did: Lying to yourself about the time and energy you’ve put into something, waiting for the payoff. A lie will never pay you, but steal your life away, slowly, one day at a time.
I needed to drop what I was doing and just be. Right here. Right now. Some people call it finding oneself. For me, it involved a lot of personal time reading, biking, praying (you can call it meditating, if you want) and pumping myself up for the inevitable roll back into business and society. I cut out the worst parts of myself, so I could present myself as a new model to the world. I wanted people to see the new me…. that they needed what I had to offer.
There is a difference between sticking to your guns because it’s your passion and convincing yourself to hang on because “it’ll eventually pay off” or it will work out in some mystical, magical way. It won’t.
You know when you meet someone and you just KNOW they are trying too hard to impress you. Yet, somehow you can see that they really truly believe in what they’re doing, but their energy is all wrong? That feeling you get? Yeah, it’s real. When others can sense it, it’s becomes even more real. It’s an alarm sounding out to the world. It’s that negative thing that precedes you as you walk. People can feel you coming and it’s not a good thing.
Quit working to convince yourself that what you’re doing is right for you. If you really analyze it, you’ll know if it’s right for you. Heck, do what I did. Pray about it. I prayed for God to show me my path. I didn’t just pick something. I needed a revolution. I needed to know whatever was going to come to me was FOR me. It wasn’t something I had picked. It was prepared for me.
So, drop what you’re doing and evaluate who you are and where you’re at today. The chances are pretty high you’ll find more dissatisfaction than you think.
Once I was able to release my past stresses, my bitterness and my fears, I was able to step back into the world, in the new role I was being built for. I was ready to roll.
I called all the people that I trusted, and asked them to keep their eyes out for a job or role on a team I could fulfill. I picked 3 professionals and got them my resume. I’d never prepared a resume before, simply because I came from an “on the job” world. I’d never needed one before. I discovered my resume wasn’t very interesting, but it did hold the key to “who I was.” Even though I certainly knew where I came from, it was never made more apparent that the best parts of who I was pointed me towards the world of business development and sales. I’d never thought of working for someone, helping THEM get to the next level of their business. I’d only worked to establish my own world. Now, I was putting it out there that I was willing to work for another. I was willing to humble myself. Again, I was ready to roll, and roll I did. I still am.
Get up. Go out and do it. Every day you waste is a day lost forever. You only get one shot at this thing we call life. One. To quote Todd Beamer, who died on United Flight 93, “let’s roll.” He knew he was probably going to his death, yet he stood up from his seat on that doomed jet and commanded a group of passengers in a struggle that did end in death but bore the marks of heroism. His one shot at life was full of love for his family, yet ended in terror over the fields of Pennsylvania. However, nobody would say his actions were worthless.
They were worth more than can be counted. His command of his life, and the moments on that plane, probably saved 100’s, if not 1000’s, of lives in Washington, D.C. He left a legacy much larger than his family or himself.
Get up and go. You have no excuses. Zero.
Lastly, how did my story end? Today, I am a partner in a hedge fund in San Francisco. It’s a long way from selling shoes and pianos, which I am honored and happy to have done as well. I have found my place, my space, my heart and my purpose. ….and you can too. I pray this for each and every one of you. If reading this today creates pause in your life and forces you to consider where you are and what you’re doing, then I guess I’ve done my job.
So, remember to Stop, Drop, and Roll. If not, you’ll probably end up finding yourself in a Duck and Cover situation.