The Lies We Believe About Career

racehorse-419742_1280When it comes to life, most of us have pretty good idea of what we want.  Most would say a healthy and happy marriage, family and friends, the freedom to enjoy travel and hobbies, financial independence and the opportunity for meaningful work or service.

The world has promised us all those things but there is one condition. We first have to claw, scratch, and put our time in 8 to 10 hours a day for 20 to 30 years.  We’ll give you a few weeks a year to do what you want and after that, it’s all yours!

So when we are young, we enter “The Rat Race,”  hopeful and energetic, willing to lay it all on the line to get noticed. Sometimes we even stay late and work through lunch thinking that maybe we’ll get those things we want even sooner.

After a few years, we realize it isn’t unfolding the way we thought it would. But hey, maybe it’s just this particular job.  So we look for a new one.  Our excitement is revived and we are hopeful again.  Until we realize once again, something isn’t right. I have a great job that I should be grateful for but it’s the last place I want to go every day. Most folks who work for large companies and don’t like their job, see the following 3 options.

Option 1: Grit your teeth, tolerate your uninspiring job, keep your mouth shut, play by the rules of the system and if you play your cards right, slowly get promoted over a 30 year period and retire in your 60’s.

Option 2: When your job starts to suck, find a new one and continue this cycle every few years while holding out hope that your dream job is waiting for you right around the corner.

Option 3: Quit your job, roll the dice on your entrepreneurial dream and hope you don’t end up homeless.

  • Option 1 seems to provide the most security, that is if your company doesn’t lay you off or fire you. A piece of your soul may die in the process but hey, at least you’ll have about ten years at the end of your life to do what you want.
  • Although option 2 offers a bit more variety, jumping from job to job could reflect poorly on your resume and you may miss out on some of the internal opportunities offered to those that have put their time in.
  • Option 3 sounds fun but not fun enough to face starvation, humiliation and performing your own medical care.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!!?????? This is NOT all that life has to offer?!!!!! Don’t Buy it!!!! There are many more options!!!!

This is what you need to know:

1. Your Default Way of Thinking Is Limited: There are the possibilities in your head and there are the actual possibilities.  You have to get out of your own head and start dreaming bigger.  What we believe about ourselves, what others have said about us, what our parents have done and what our friends are doing; all help shape what we think is possible. You’re selling yourself short if you let your thinking rest where it is.  Kick the lid off of your worldview and start thinking bigger.

2. We Were Taught to Believe in Limited Options: You might disagree, after all,  the American dream communicated to us since kindergarden was, “You can be anyone you want to be.” It’s the land of opportunity.” Okay, sounds great, so what’s the process?

Go to school 8-10 hours per day from the time you’re 5 years old until age 18, get good grades, get into a good college, pick a major that fits you, complete your education and the job you were made for will be waiting for you. That is how you get what you want in life.school-375976_1280

Wait a minute. That sounds more like one way to get what you want.  What about travel? Skilled trades like plumbing, electrical and carpentry? Entrepreneurship? Art? Music? Self Discovery? Faith? Apprenticeship? Exploration? The list of things that don’t fit well in this model goes on and on. Our system is one way, not the only way. Think outside the box. Create your own box.  Heck, create your own octagon.

3. Become a Happy Lifelong Learner: For many of us, school has become a form of punishment or a necessary means to an end. Some of us have grown to despise reading, growth and development. It’s been associated with getting answers correct or not getting them correct.  After thousands of hours in a classroom, by the time we’re done with school, we’re relieved to be done with learning.  Instead of learning being a source of excitement, opportunity and wonder; it’s become an unwelcome obligation.  We need to emotionally step out of the classroom and start seeing learning for what it really is, nourishment for our mind, soul and spirit.

4. Dream Like Crazy:  So you’re starting to dream bigger than ever before, great, write these dreams down and add to them as your thinking expands. Think about the life you want. Where would you live, what does your house look like, who do you spend time with, what do you drive, who are you serving, how much free time do you have? How much are you giving away to those in need? How are you using your gifts to change the world?

5. Start Like a Baby: If your baby couldn’t walk at 10 months, how long would you give them before you buy them wheelchair and give up? 13 months? 15 months? The answer is, “as long as it takes!” So how long would you give yourself to live the life you’ve always wanted? As long as it takes! Just because a baby can’t walk, you don’t give up and tell them to do the more responsible thing.”Well, I guess it’s not going to work out, your mother and I decided that you should continue crawling and ride in the stroller when necessary.”

When it’s time for your baby to learn to walk, I haven’t seen any parent say, “Since you’re sick of crawling, from now on, all you can do is walk. If you don’t figure it out, you’ll have to go back to crawling permanently.” This may sound ridiculous, but so many of us treat our careers this way. We give ourselves a limited amount of time to figure out our dream and if it doesn’t work out, we give it up and choose the sensible option. If crawling is our job that pays the bills and walking is our dream job, remember that you still have to crawl while you’re learning how to walk.  Hold onto the job you have and keep building and learning and growing toward the career and life you were made for. Don’t give it up!!! Don’t let your dream die, just because it isn’t working right now. Steadily work toward becoming the person who can have the life and career you’ve always wanted. 

For feedback on your dream and how to create a plan to make it a reality, give me a call on my cellphone: (716) 713-2957 My dream job is to help others live the life they’ve always wanted.

6 Ways to Detox Your Schedule

Untitled design (1)If you’re like me, every once in a while, your life gets filled up with too much stuff.  You’re overbooked, stressed out, tired and the joy you once had in your life is hard to find.  You know you need a break but there’s no end in sight.  Here are 6 things you can do to get a hold of your schedule and start living again.

1. Eliminate Mindless Activities – It isn’t just TV that is mindless.  It could mean flipping through your Facebook feed, watching pointless YouTube videos, playing video games or checking to see how many people liked your last Instagram photo. What have these things offered you? How have they enriched your life? If these activities are a regular pat of your day, I’m willing to bet you often feel half dead, lethargic, uninspired, maybe even frustrated with all the time you’ve wasted.  These activities are enticing when we’re tired because they provide entertainment with very little effort.  With little effort comes little reward. If you continue these behaviors, stop wondering why you’re unhappy and feel lethargic all the time.

2. “Age Quod Agis” – To this day, I can hear my father’s voice echo this Latin phrase. It means, “Do what you’re doing.” In other words, don’t give in to distraction. Focus on the task at hand. Don’t try to have a phone conversation, while reading an email and making a sandwich.  A study done by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London found that multitasking with electronic media caused a more significant decrease in IQ than smoking marijuana or missing an entire night of sleep. Unless you want to perform like a “pot head,” focus on what you’re doing and stop trying to multi-task. You would get things done more quickly and the quality of your work will dramatically increase.

3. Print Out a Schedule – Sound a little old school? It may be, but it works. There is power in writing things down.  I use a very basic document to plan out my life and my business. Click here to print it out.

Planning out your life in advance helps create more margin in your life. It also gives you time to prepare for the weeks and months ahead. Own your schedule, don’t let it own you.

4. Get Up Early and Go to Bed Early – You’ve heard the sayings. “Early bird gets the worm.” Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” It’s true. I get more accomplished between 5:30 AM and 9:30 AM than any other time of the day. It’s quiet and there are fewer distractions. There is something empowering about being up working toward something meaningful, while most others are sleeping. You don’t have to be a “morning person” to make this work.  The first 30 years of my life, I slept in as long as I possibly could, except on Christmas morning. Don’t hide behind the fact that you’re a night owl.  Anyone can develop the habit of getting up early.

If you want to get up early and get enough rest, you’ll have to go to bed earlier. It means you’ll have to give up those precious hours of 9 PM to midnight where absolutely nothing productive happens.

2 Week Challenge: Try getting up at 5:30 AM and going to bed at 9:30 PM every weekday for 2 weeks.  You might be amazed at how beautiful it is to watch the sunrise and how much you accomplish.

5. Find Active Ways to Rest – Have you ever come home after a long hard day, flopped down on the couch and watched 3 hours of TV and felt invigorated? It’s virtually impossible. It might be relieving to shut off your brain and body and not have to face life, but how do you feel after? The things you think are helping you rest may be making you even more tired.

When you’re burned out from staring at a computer screen or sitting in an office all day, the last thing you need, is to stare at another screen for a few hours. It’s time to get outside and do something. I love mountain-biking, kayaking, hiking, running or any activity that allows me to enjoy the outdoors and be active. The crazy thing is, after I’m done, I feel great! I have more energy, I want to eat better and I even sleep better.

Action: Create a list of 10 activities that you love and will keep your body moving. Choose at least 5 per week. Here is my list for this week:IMG_2632

6. Quit Something that Isn’t Life Giving – It’s time to take an honest look at how you spend your time and why. What in your life are you continuing to do, simply because you think you should? Is it an organization or club that has no direction? Are you in a friendship or relationship that you know is going nowhere? Do you eat a breakfast sandwich and a latte everyday because it’s convenient? Do you mow the lawn every Saturday for 4 hours and need to hire someone? Pick a life-sucking obligation and quit it. I’m giving you permission. Make more room for the important stuff.

A Reminder Regarding Change: When you make significant change in life, it usually feels uncomfortable at first. Don’t let the discomfort sway you from doing the right thing. The strain may come from the pressure of others or your own guilt. The change may challenge the way you were brought up. People around you may feel threatened. Regardless of where it’s coming from, it will show up. Ask yourself, “Am I harming myself or others,” and if not, “Does this make me better?” If yes, then stare the discomfort right in the face and go for it!

Want to talk about how to get your life back? Email me at michael@mcgreevyleadership.com