Remember Tee-ball? It was mostly about having fun. You could hit the ball three whole feet, run the wrong direction, and still get plenty of high fives—and a shiny trophy at the end of the season.
Compare that to professional baseball. In the big leagues, nobody cares that your dad is one of the coaches, that you skinned-up your knee, or that the kid playing first base called you a name.
It’s perform…or else. Get a hit, or get booed. Help us win, or look for a new job.
On the other hand, excel and you get to remain in an exclusive group: the 780 men who comprise Major League Baseball’s active rosters (30 teams with 26 players each). And you get to earn an average of $4.22 million a year!
Make no mistake—major leaguers are talented. But they also worked their tails off to make it to the bigs. They were the ultimate “go-getters,” pursuing their dream with relentless passion. They didn’t just “get” opportunities handed to them. They took an active role in creating their own opportunities.
The same principle is at work in the business world.
Want to be an employee at one of Fortune magazine’s “Best Companies to Work For”—e.g., Cisco Systems, Hilton, American Express, etc.? Want to start your own successful $50 million business?
Hey, nobody is ever going to hand that to you. You’ll have to create that opportunity. To do that, you’ll need to remember that the secret to getting the career you love depends on your head, your heart, and your hands.
What do I mean? I mean you’ll find your greatest opportunities when you:
- Learn to think creatively. You don’t necessarily have to create something altogether new. Brainstorm an innovative way to improve an existing product, process, or service. By using your head, you can make a huge difference for your customers and/or bosses. They’ll gladly pay you for ideas that enhance lives—or boost their bottom line.
- Learn to care deeply. Comedian George Burns quipped, “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” It’s a funny joke, but it’s not funny when you’re trying to fake sincerity on the job. So, quit trying. If your heart isn’t in what you are selling, promoting, and spending your days doing—do something else!
Success in business means caring deeply about your clients, obsessing over their success. If you own a company, nobody else has to care like you do—it isn’t their life. But you have to care—from the heart. And you can’t fake that—not to your customers and least of all to yourself.
- Learn to serve enthusiastically. Who are the people you serve? Sometimes they’re easy to spot. If you’re a realtor, it’s the happy home seller or buyer. If you’re a doctor, it’s the relieved patient. If you sell cars, it’s the harried mom who will chauffeur her kids all over creation in that new SUV.
But sometimes the beneficiaries of your efforts are not so obvious. You’re an engineer at a plant that manufacturers machine screws. You sit in an office by yourself most days writing computer code. Or you’re a consultant for the paper industry.
Whatever the case, never forget that whatever you do, somewhere out there is a person being helped by what you do. You’re not just helping an impersonal corporation turn a profit.
When you can make that connection between “what I do” and “how my efforts are making life better for someone else” it gives your work new significance, value, purpose, and even joy.
Is all this rather idealistic? Sure.
But only the idealistic have heads, hearts, and hands capable of creating the opportunity to “play in the big leagues.”
Speaking of opportunities, I’m guessing you have a portfolio that you hope will afford you lots of opportunities to enjoy retirement. What’s your plan for turning those “nest egg” assets into monthly living expenses once you stop drawing a paycheck? Do you have a plan like that?
And, if you do, does that plan align with your “financial personality”? If not, I’ve got a free gift for you. Email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you a link to take the RISA® (Retirement Income Style Awareness®) Profile. There’s no charge. It only takes about 15 minutes, and it can save you years of worry.
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