Passion vs Paycheck

Given current economic conditions, it’s no surprise that many people are considering returning to college or a change in careers. AsPassion vs Paycheck some who has spent the past 13 plus years in higher education, I naturally endorse this strategy of looking to return to school or wanting to go into a career you are passionate about. The issue becomes the inability to focus on the right things to achieve ones ultimate goals, doing what they are passionate about. Here are some steps to take to help ensure you chase your Passion not just a Paycheck.

  1. The first thing to do is spend more time thinking about your interests than you do thinking about money. That sounds counter-intuitive  but returning to college or changing your job has to be about more than chasing a paycheck. It’s been said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. So finding and following your passion is time well spent.
  2. If you are not sure where your passion would take you let alone what it may be, then sit down with pen and paper and make a list: things you like to do in your free time, different talents or skills that come easily to you, people whom you admire, subject areas and classes you enjoyed while growing up, topics you relish reading about and people you prefer to be around. The answers you provide to these questions will sharpen your focus. 
  3. After you have identified a career path that not only uses some of your strengths but one that also engages you in the type of activity and thinking that you most enjoy, meet and interview people currently working in that field. In some cases, they may let you shadow someone in their office. As you evaluate your options, consider both the positive and the less attractive aspects of the desired industry. For instance, if you like helping people, you might be inclined toward healthcare; but think about how you will respond to sick or sad people on a daily basis.
  4. It’s important to determine what you are willing to sacrifice in order to do what you are passionate about. So ask yourself: can I devote the time and energy necessary to be a successful?  Will I set priorities, budget my time and money and impose discipline in my life? Once you have decided what you are willing to sacrifice, time to create your plan.
  5. Don’t let any opportunity slip away where you don’t set goals for yourself. This is especially true as you are looking to make changes in your career future. Your goals should lead you down a path where you are following your passion. The longer you chase a paycheck, the less time you have to do what you really want. Money is important and needs to always be a apart of your formula for success but don’t to get caught up making it the only focus.

As you stay focused and determined, you will achieve the success you truly dream of. It will not be easy and the reality is, it shouldn’t be. You want to feel rewarded and accomplished. This can happen with greater peace, happiness and joy as you are allowing yourself to do what you feel you can do best and are most passionate about.

Now, go make something great happen!

The Stress to Impress

The Stress to Impress

 If you haven’t noticed, we live in a stressful world. No matter what your current situation might be, stress is no doubt something that influences you in some way. The world continues to try and control so much of what we do, who we are and where we go. Because of that we find ourselves trying to impress others. Maybe its your friends, family, teachers, neighbors, community, co-workers or boss.

As a leader, you cannot afford to lead with the only goal in mind of impressing. If you do, you will create unnecessary stress that can often lead to failure. I am not saying that you don’t want to impress your boss or your team but you have to understand how and why you want to impress them. The problem is that there is often a selfish type of feel that comes when one is trying to impress. Although we try hard to convince ourselves we are trying to impress the other person, at the end of the day we are really just trying to impress ourselves because we are looking for acceptance and validation.

It is important that we find ways to have others see that we are of value and that we can achieve results. This will often lead to impressing others but we need to be sure we are properly defining what our goals are. A good leader has the ability to know how to define these goals and what will happen when they achieve their goals. If your boss is impressed, what a great added benefit. If your team is impressed and it leads them to wanting to work harder to achieve their goals, nice. The key is that you are leading for the right reasons. Selfish leaders have a very short shelf life.

It is important to remember this concept of stressing to impress outside of the office as well. There is a statement I have heard many times and it goes like this, “trying to keep with the Jones’s.” The significance of this statement is saying that people often see their neighbor come home with a new boat so they go buy a boat. Then that same neighbor comes home with new snowmobiles so they go buy snowmobiles. They are not really concerned if they can afford this stuff, they are just trying to keep so they can continue to impress others. We see this phenomenon with teenagers and the pressures they endure daily at school. We see this with our family, friends almost any part of our life. What ultimately happens is that the stress of trying to impress leads to some unpleasant outcomes. I have seen this happen many times to people who I am close with. One thing I do know, it never has a happy ending.

As a leader you should not try and keep up with others just to try and impress others, including your boss. It is just too stressful to keep up and you will become very ineffective. What you need to do is be sure you continue to build your strengths and control your weaknesses, leaders that can do that are impressive in my eyes.

Learn to manage your stress to impress and you will achieve great things, inside and outside the office.

 Heroes don’t stress but often impress.

Perspiration, not Perception Leads to Inspiration

Perspiration, not Perception Leads to Inspiration

There is something energizing by listening to an inspired speaker or leader. As he or she stands at the front of the room sharing inspirational stories, presenting a new vision or providing ways to help improve our lives we listen, take notes and imagine the possibilities. We may even start to think things like “wow, they are so good”, “I wish I could inspire people like that”, “I wonder how they got to be like that”. Then as you watch that person when the lights are off and they are no longer on stage they don’t really do anything. In fact, they are not inspiring at all when it comes to their actions. It is almost as if they live two completely different worlds. When this happens, and unfortunately, it happens quite often, the impacts can not only be uninspiring, but negative and frustrating.

The truth, actions are what ultimately inspire others to action. Sure, inspiring leaders must have the ability to communicate in ways that give others chills and cause them to have a desire to do better. However, when we see our leaders taking action and doing the things they ask others to do is when true inspiration can take place. Here are ways to help ensure you are Inspiring through Perspiration not just Perception:

1. Don’t just help others set goals, help them achieve them.
2. Be sure that those you lead see you taking action, not just hear you talk about it.
3. Communicate where you need to go then roll up your sleeves and lead the way.
4. Be consistent and genuine so there is no reason to question your authenticity as an inspiring leader.

The reality is that it not only takes hard work to rise up the management and leadership ranks, it takes even more hard work when you are a manager and leader. There are have many inspiring leaders who have shown through example what it takes to achieve success. There have also been many “perceived” inspiring leaders only to come and find out that their words overshadow their actions.

Some of the best bosses I have had were the ones who could inspire through word and action. It didn’t mean that they stayed at work the longest or worked every weekend, it meant they knew what needed to be done and were humble enough to help make it happen. They would make calls, visit customers, stuff envelopes, run reports and vacuum classrooms. Through their perspiration they created inspiration and thus I had a positive perception of them.

One last thing, there is something very empowering when we are taking action. A great leader gets energized when they know what needs to be done.  An inspiring leader stays energized by actually doing the things to achieve desired outcomes. We all love the feeling of success and when we are working smart and putting in the effort necessary to achieve our goals, we feel invigorated and that is very important. It is impossible to push a boulder up a hill by simply saying it needs to be done. When you start to push, others will see your effort and put their efforts towards helping you move that boulder up the hill. Once you have reached the top, you can’t help but feel energized while at the same time feeling tired. You achieved your goal and inspired others to help along the way. I have to warn you, this type of leading is very addictive.

We can all inspire, we just need to be willing to perspire.

Go out and be a hero. Inspire through action.