Seth Godin wrote a blog post yesterday that struck me deeply. Perhaps it’s because it’s something that I struggle with myself!
Seth’s point is that people often want the great results, but without putting in some of the hard work to get there. They’re willing to do SOME of the hard work, but then want to skip over some key steps.
I see this all the time.
Here’s a personal example: In building my coaching business, I started off doing things I was reasonably comfortable with: sharing my expertise, setting up my website, and making a brochure.
It got me nowhere.
When I joined up with Small Fish, things changed dramatically. Not because Small Fish is well known – I’m currently their only coach in the United States – but because they opened my eyes to doing the hard work that would get results. In my case, it was getting out there and having actual sales conversations with small business owners.
As an introvert, with training as an engineer, having a sales conversation was incredibly difficult. But it gets me clients.
And you know what? I’ve found that there’s parts of it that I can enjoy. I really love learning from people about the challenges they’re facing in their business, and figuring out how coaching might be an asset.
In my previous employment, I always struggled to speak up to people who were at the top of the company – including what’s known as “speaking truth to power.” But when I recognized that this was MY issue to own, and that I had valuable things to say, I started finding avenues to influence key people – even the head of HR for a multi-billion-dollar company.
So here’s my advice to you: Figure out what you’re avoiding in the accomplishment of your goals, and honestly face up to it. Then see if there’s a way that you can start enjoying parts of that activity. Search for other people who can support you in your goal, and measure your progress.
It’s hard work, but at some point you have to buckle down and just do it.
Any advice for me. I worked as a graphic designer/illustrator for a family company for 8 years. I took a break to become a trail builder in Montana. My favorite job of all time, however, the snow came in October.
I skipped the 8th grade, graduated a year early from high school, and then created my own Degree in Instructional Media Design…when the art department didn’t even acknowledge computWem now working for the post office, and have been told to be patient in becoming a career employee… I have been told that the post office is like a slow moving elephant. That I cannot rush things.
I have been there for 4 years, with no hope of a Saturday off for the next 15 years….I do believe I have lost all my senses, self worth, and confidence that I once had. What do I do?
A few thoughts on this, Tawnia.
First, you can treat the Post Office as a fixed entity – because, essentially, it’s impossible to change the nature of an organization like that. If it’s fixed, then that still gives you options:
* Stay and try to be happy with it
* See if there’s any flexibility at all to change your trajectory
If you’re interested in the third, then you might want to read my series on creating your own job out of thin air. Is it possible? I have no idea. But it might give you some possibilities and options.
Second, if you want to head off in a new direction, a new career, that’s certainly a choice you can make. It’ll take time, it’ll cost money, but if you end up being happier and more productive, why not get started? You could even go back to school while you’re working at the P.O. Or look for a different kind of P.O. job that you could move into eventually.
My main advice is to stop thinking about yourself as a victim of circumstances. We all have limits – personal, societal, physical, whatever. Your objective should be to try to do the best with what you’ve been given.