As much as I love to just dive in and get things done, once in a while I have to stomp on the brakes, slow it down a smidge, and remember the old “Rome wasn’t built in a day” thing.
When I actually do “slow it down,” I’m always fascinated by what’s going on around me and how some folks are living their lives and spending their time. On the surface at least, most seem to be enjoying themselves and doing some pretty cool things.
I see others, though, who seem to be bogged down, slogging from one day to the other without any motivation to perk things up a bit.
It’s easy for me to get reflective at this point in my career. Been there and done it. Had some great successes; had some equally catastrophic disasters. Learned from both extremes.
If you’re just starting out, the question of “How will I spend my life?” can seem overwhelming. You’re more focused on getting through school with minimal damage to your ego and grade point average. You’re hoping against hope that, two minutes after you accept your diploma and shake the college president’s hand, an awesome job opportunity will fall out of the sky and land in your lap.
For those of you who are a little farther along in your career, the question morphs into “What’s next and how do I find it?” You’re focused on moving onward and upward, snagging that great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will validate your existence as a professional.
In both cases, the “end” is really just the beginning. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone in most cases, and there’s no absolute guarantee that whatever you choose as that next great adventure is going to work like you’re planning.
But that’s part of the deal. As I tell my students at Curry College, where I oversee the undergraduate Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses, and Regis College, where I teach part-time in the graduate Organizational and Professional Communication area, nothing is guaranteed in this awesome safari known as “life.”
But you have to be willing to take those chances, to try the unknown, to fall backwards with confidence into the waiting arms of your “buddy.”
This doesn’t work for everyone, and I’m not suggesting you should throw all caution to the winds as you plan for your future. You need to really get a handle on who you are, what you want from your career, and how you are going to achieve what, in your mind, is success.
How do you do this? You talk to people…your parents (yes, they actually do have a clue!); your teachers; your close friends (who actually have a view of you that others don’t…they’ve seen your up days as well as your down days); networking contacts (I’ve talked about this in at least one previous post).
It’s all about preparation…laying the groundwork and getting a handle on available resources that you can draw from. Yes, there’s work involved here, but it’s work that can and will pay off.
Hate to put it like this, but you don’t really have a choice. After all…when all’s said and done, it’s your life…how will you spend it?!?
“We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.” – Charles Franklin Kettering, “Seed for Thought: