Category Archives: follow my dreams

SerenDestiny #67: People Can’t Jump on your Bandwagon – If It’s Parked in the Garage

bandwagon_sized

“If you don’t go, you’ll never know.” – Robert De Niro

Many of us operate with the opposite of Robert De Niro’s insight.

If we don’t know; we don’t go.

The problem with that?

By definition, with any new venture, we DON’T KNOW what we’re doing.

If we use “knowing what we’re doing” as a prerequisite for moving forward … we never move forward.

Yikes.

That’s where GTS comes in.

What’s GTS?

Let me explain.

A year after my son Andrew graduated from VA Tech with a business degree, we were having dinner.

Andrew had “lucked out” and found a job as an executive recruiter. He was the envy of his college buddies because he was working in a classy downtown building, making good money and working for a respected, well-connected industry icon who was arranging for him to do neat things like work at events with President Obama and Tony Bennett. Not the normal career trajectory.

Yet, as I looked into Andrew’s eyes that night, there was no spark.

In fact, he used a word I’d never heard him use before. Exhausted.

I asked, “So, are you going down to VA Tech this weekend to see the game?”

“Nah. By the time I’d drive down there, I’d only have a few hours and then I’d have to turn around and come back. I just don’t have the energy. I’m exhausted.”

Exhausted?!? How could that be? How was it that this formerly energetic 20-something was burned out?

I asked, “Andrew, what’s up?”

He said, “Mom, I want to quit. I know I should be grateful for this job, and I am, but sitting at a computer all day researching job openings and making cold calls is not what I was born to do.”

“What do you want to do?”

Andrew immediately became more animated. “I want to start a non-profit.”

I have to admit, this conservative person I didn’t even know existed popped up and almost caused me to blurt out, “Non-profit?! Do you know how many non-profits are going out of business these days because donations have dried up? How are you going to pay bills? What about health insurance?”

Thank heaven a wiser voice prevailed. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this exactly what 20-somethings ought to be doing at this stage of their life? Andrew’s 23. If he doesn’t go for what he wants now, he may never get a chance to later. Good for him for wanting to do work he’s proud of. I should be supporting him, not shutting him down.”

So, I said, “Andrew, you’ve always been resourceful. If you apply yourself, I know you can pull this off.”

You may be thinking, “But how could Andrew pull this off? He’d never run a non-profit before.”

That’s true … and that’s where GTS comes in.

GTS stands for Google that … stuff. (As you can imagine, Millennials sometimes substitute another word for stuff.)

Andrew thanked his boss for giving him that job opportunity right out of college – and then promptly got online and Googled “How can I start a non-profit?”

Up came dozens of resources – all telling Andrew exactly what steps he needed to take to get a license, find a team and get funding.

In the course of one year, Andrew recruited a team of 20 (!) interns and found a collaborative work space at the Affinity Lab in Washington DC.

It was the ideal environment to get other people on his bandwagon. Someone a couple desks over would ask, “Andrew, what are you working on today?”

Andrew would say, “I’m applying for a grant” and they would say, “Oh, I did that last year. You can borrow the proposal I filled out and use it as a template.”

Andrew never had to go it alone as he was surrounded by others who shared his vision and had his back … and front.

The result?

Dreams for Kids – DC – http://dreamsforkids.org/blankman/dc/ – has sponsored dozens of adaptive athletic programs for kids and gotten them off the sidelines and into the games of life. They have sponsored Extreme Recess clinics with the Washington Nationals baseball players, Capitals hockey players, Wizard and Mystic basketball players and United soccer players.

Dreams for Kids – DC has made a positive difference for thousands of young people through their Dream Leader programs in local schools and through their annual Holiday for Hope program at Howard University.

All because Andrew didn’t quit before he started because he “didn’t know what he was doing.”

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few years interviewing people about their SerenDestiny – a life where the light is on in your eyes because you’re doing what you love most and do best – it’s that PEOPLE CAN’T JUMP ON YOUR BANDWAGON – IF ITS PARKED IN THE GARAGE.

What do you want to do? What would put the light on in your eyes?

Are you hesitating because you don’t know what to do?

Remember – you don’t have to know to go.

Get online right now. Phrase what you want to do as a question and put it into your favorite search engine. GTS your dream goal – and up will come dozens of resources to help you on your way.

Whether you want to write a book, become a ballroom dancer or launch your own business … those online resources will tell you how to take your first steps.

Do you want this year to be your best ever? Do you want the light on in your eyes?

Don’t wait, initiate.

GTS what you want to do. And then get your bandwagon out of the garage and get moving.

Advertisements

SerenDestiny #64: We Don’t FIND our Calling – We CREATE It

“I’ve had a good life; and the reason is I stayed busy doing the things that mattered to me.” – Sandra Day O’Connor

People talk about “finding” their calling … as if it exists out there somewhere, intact, and all they have to do is look long enough and EUREAKA, there it will be, hiding behind a tree.

I think our calling, as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor points out, more often EMERGES from doing and pursuing things that matter to us.

That’s certainly been the case with me.

I am doing work I didn’t even know existed when I went to college. I didn’t get a degree in this and I never answered a newspaper ad featuring this as a job description.

The career I love so much is an accumulation of instinctive steps I took along the way. There was no map. I just did my best to honor The Three I’s – Instincts, Interests and Integrity.

I believe the Three I’s are our “Calling Compass.”

When you don’t know what to do, check in with your Three I’s and they’ll point you in the right direction.

When I speak at conventions, people often come up afterwards and say, “It looks like you really love what you do. How can I do what you do?”

Here’s how I got started, and how you can too.

Years ago, I was reading The Washington Post and noticed the word “concentration” was used six times on the front page of the sports section.

Tennis player Chrissie Evert said her ability to concentrate was why she’d been able to ignore the planes flying overhead and win the U.S. Open.

A golfer who’d just lost a tournament by missing a short putt on the last hole said he’d been distracted by the clicking cameras of nearby photographers.

A baseball team had lost its last 7 games. Their manager blamed their slump on his team thinking ahead to the playoffs instead of focusing on that day’s game.

I was intrigued. I thought, “We all wish we could concentrate better – but no one ever teaches us how. I’ve never seen any books on this topic. I’ve never heard any speakers on this topic.”

I decided to research how we could improve our ability to concentrate. I interviewed athletes, artists, executives and entrepreneurs and asked them:

1. How did you learn how to concentrate?
2. What do you do to stay focused despite distractions and interruptions?
3. How do to focus when you don’t feel like it – and how do you regain your concentration if you lose it?
4. Do you have any special techniques you use to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your attention span?”

Based on the insights and action steps I collected and developed; I offered a public program for Open University on HOW TO CONCENTRATE BETTER – ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.

At the end of that workshop, 16 people came up to ask if I would share my techniques with their organization. That one workshop launched a speaking career that has taken me around the world and given me many blessed opportunities to do work I love that matters. It resulted in a book called ConZentrate that Stephen Covey highly recommended as, “Fascinating, thought-provoking and movtivating.”

http://www.amazon.com/ConZentrate-Attention–When-Pressures-Distractions-Priorities/dp/0312270100/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349029034&sr=8-1&keywords=conzentrate+-+sam+horn

How about you? Do you want more meaningful work? Are you looking for the perfect job or dream career? Just ask yourself,

1. What do I find intriguing?
2. What is something that calls to me that is in alignment with my Three I’s?
3. What is a problem or need that has caught my attention and caused me to think, ‘Somebody should DO something about that?”

YOU’RE AS MUCH A SOMEBODY AS ANYBODY. WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT?

Who knows? Deciding to research, write and speak about an intriguing topic could be the first step to your SerenDestiny.

Choosing to pursue an opportunity that is alignment with your Three I’s could help you create your calling.

Solving a problem that concerns you could result in a life where the light is on in your eyes.

Remember, you don’t FIND your calling – you CREATE it – by honoring your Three I’s and by getting busy doing and pursuing what matters.

Have you created your calling? Would you please take a few minutes to share the story of how you got started?

Who knows? It could be just the inspiration someone needs to kick-start their calling.