Monday, December 3rd, 2012
* The winner of the copy of Delivering Happiness was Christine Bouck
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
- Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
There are some adventures you can never see coming. They sneak up on you and all of a sudden you realize how lucky you really are to be on the journey.
Look back on your career and where it’s taken you and who you met along the way. It’s usually quite astonishing.
From the quirky guy with the weird mustache who says “um” too much to the old lady who won’t stop smiling. From the hotel with lumpy beds to the hotel with a view and the most glorious bed that you’ve ever slept on and wish you could take home with you.
You are living a once in a lifetime career.
Is it perfect?
But still amazing.
Too often we get caught up in worrying about what is wrong with our careers when we need to be looking at all the wonder right in front of us.
We complain about our co-workers, too much travel or that we don’t make enough money.
Sometimes it’s hard to see all the positives and we need to really take the time to appreciate all the amazing adventures we’ve been able to create.
I recently was invited to visit the Downtown Project in Las Vegas by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. This happened because I met Tony at the SxSW conference in Austin, TX. He and I share a common passion, happiness. His book and business, Delivering Happiness, are an inspiration to me.
While hanging out with him he asked me what I thought was the most surprising happiness research that I came across. I wanted to seem really smart and instead of telling him that I thought Daniel Gilbert’s book Stumbling Happiness (his wonderful TED talk) was really surprising, it basically explains that we are terrible at predicting what makes us happy, I told him that I thought that enjoying the present moment was much harder than anyone tells you, explains or teaches.
At first I kicked myself for saying this because I thought I was saying this to look really smart, which I was, but then I began to see why I actually said this. My own, enjoying the present moment, struggles are very real indeed. I really wasn’t that surprised by Daniel’s book because every time I had a great moment then tried to recreate it I always felt disappointed.
I was also invited to do the presentation, Unlock Your Career Superpowers, while I was there. 10 people showed up. One lady came up to me after I was done and said, “You were awesome, really awesome. Thank you so much.”
It made my day.
What I struggle with is enjoying the moment I’m presently in to its fullest. There was this split second thought of disappointment, wishing more people attended, but then I realized I was so lucky to be able to help 10 people improve their career.
As I looked back on how I was invited to Vegas, get a chance to meet and hang so many amazing people like the founders of Romotive (the company that turns an iPhone into a robot), Jenn Lim, the CEO of Delivering Happiness and her crew, people from MIT, Harvard and so many other amazing people, I saw why I should never take anything for granted.
I realized that I was doing a lot of cool things with my career. I started thinking about how average my mind was compared to some of the brainiacs I met on my trip. I couldn’t construct and code a robot, but I realized they probably don’t have a lot of my superpowers either.
You don’t need a Harvard degree to have a great career. I’m telling you this because you have superpowers that can take you to great places if you do a few things.
1. Put Yourself Out There
The only reason I was invited out to Vegas was because I put myself out there. I emailed Tony Hsieh and asked him how I could be more help to Delivering Happiness. He responded by inviting me to Las Vegas for a visit
The connections you make in your career are the friendships that will take you to great places and meet amazing people. Don’t be afraid to email someone you met years ago just to see what is up. You never know what can happen.
2. Be Yourself
Sometimes the hardest part is just being you. Yes, you really want to impress people, but you have to let them connect with the real you. The people who you allow to know the real you will give you a greater chance of creating an authentic friendship that could help your career.
If you don’t allow people to connect with the real you, you won’t make the right type of connections.
Let go of trying to impress and the people you are meant to have lasting friendships will like you and want to help you. It’s these people that make for an amazing career.
3. Stay Connected
This is the hardest part. You get busy in your life and career. You forget about people you met last month let alone last year.
You have to be diligent. If you feel a kinship for someone don’t let this friendship fall away. Check in with them every few months. See what they are up to and if you can be of help in any way. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how this deepens your friendship.
You career will take you to amazing places and introduce you to amazing people. Never take this lightly.
You are on a fantastic career adventure if you choose to look at it this way.
What is the greatest adventure that your career has given you?
* Remember to answer this question in the comments below for a chance to win the book Delivering Happiness.