Someone on Quora asked:
How can I make something of my life?
I am 19 years old and feel like I am going no where in life. Since I left Sixth Form/College in 2013, I have done nothing productive with my life. Everyone I went to school with has a job, progressing through life, picking up skills and confidence as they earn money building something for themselves no matter how small it may be, yet I have not gone onto pursue a career.
I am 47 and feel the same way sometimes.
I am going to suggest a number of things that help/have helped me get out of my many ruts in life.
One, bring excellence and intent to everything you do, even if it's “chilling.” Do it with a purpose. Find a why inside of that that lights you up. “Chill” with a friend to make that person's life better. You might find you like chilling. Chill with an elderly person. Get curious about that person's life. Ask them to share their own experiences. Chill to learn. You might find that a lot of people have been stuck and have felt like you do now. Some have made a life out of chilling. Others have found that chilling has its place, but that they were much happier when they were used to a purpose they believed in.
Two, take any damned job, but bring excellence to it. If you are waiting tables, consider what you can do to make every customer's experience memorable. You'll develop an art in being with people, and that can be re-purposed to any other profession in life.
Three, make an inventory of everything you've ever done, and how these things, especially the positive ones made you feel. You might find that your best time was playing with dogs. You could walk them, learn to train them, bring up guide dogs, become a dog handler for the police, or decide you want to be their doctor. Read the Art of Work, by Jeff Goins. He goes into this.
Four, write down ten ideas a day. It's tough, but it turns you into an idea machine. You'll start noticing connections that you never saw before, your ideas will start having sex, and you might come up with the next internet craze, or just work that you love. For this one the credit goes to James Altucher. Follow him on-line. He's been in holes you might have trouble imagining.
Five, just get good at something. Maybe you've always thought it was neat to juggle. Pick up three tennis balls and start. (Maybe you have to start with one; that's okay too). You might find yourself with a juggling gig with your service dog (who also juggles) at old age homes.
Six, and I can't stress this enough, Get Enough Sleep and Get Some Exercise every day, even if it's a ten minute walk.
Seven, reach out to your people and ask them how you can make a difference in their lives.
Eight, Gratitude. Make a list of three things you are grateful for every day, and then reach out and thank someone.
I could go on forever, but if you take any decent part of this on, You'll be Flying in no time.
Dr. Ben Adkins of Fearless Social runs a call every December, “the Better Life Sequence,” to help people look forward and powerfully create their coming year. As he was sending around the replay for the 2016 call, he accidentally linked the 2015 call as well. I think he must have done this just for me.
The point of that call: You Must Have a “Why.” And money just doesn't cut it, especially for people trying to go it on their own. You have to address that Why in five areas: Family, Faith, Health, Work andHobbies. For each of these you should set three goals. For each goal, you must state why.
In Ben's words:
Something in your life is keeping you from being who you want to be.
That you don’t have what you want is not because you lack information.
It’s probably not a lack of action either.
What’s missing is organization, focus & planning.
We are not built to be good at these things.
Because we don’t know what makes us happy. We spin our wheels at all sorts of stuff not connected to what makes us happy. When we understand what makes us happy, we can actually set up our lives to create and achieve those things. We get the opportunity to make sure that we are honoring the things that make us happy, and scheduling those. When we do that, we actually wake up and know what needs to get done each day, and we are excited to do it because we know where it's going.
So here are mine:
Visit with three of my cousins: Because I miss them and I want to be more connected to my family.
Outing with Sharleen once a week: Because a relationship is either growing or dying, and we have a lot more fun when we are growing ours.
Outing with family at least once a month: Because they are growing up too fast and if we don’t make the moments now, we will miss them.
Landmark: Connect with humanity’s good side, time with Sharleen
Altucher Podcasts: Remind me of bigness of people and what we can create
Political Activism: Remind me there is another conversation, and that all change starts with just one person.
200 lbs. (91 kg.): Feel Good about myself; believe I can; be faster
Sugar, smoke and Coffee free: Live longer, be thinner, no headaches, indicator that I’m excited about life.
Politics: Being connected makes me feel better
10k a month: Know that I can; Generate Belief in Myself
Help five people build their business: Validate that I can; make a difference
Buy three new pieces of Real Estate: Because I love to build stuff
Politics: Because I want to rock the world and turn this into my profession at some point.
Finish Alfred’s Book 2, Guitar Book 1, Accordion Book 2, Mandolin 1: Bring Music into the World, get good at something, demonstrate that a little work consistently, over a long time will make something much better.
Build our House: I like to create and build.
The idea behind all this is that if you know your Why, and you focus on that, relentlessly, you will generate abundance. So what about all the crap you have to do that you don't want to. Well not doing that is another great reason Why. This suggests two more list that you should make. And they answer the question “What is the stuff I hate to do?” and “To what do I need to say no?”
The idea here is that when you know how to manage your own affairs, and you have your life organized, you can also organize so that someone else take over the items you don't want to waste your time on. For me, the things I least like to do are laundry, cleaning dishes, shopping, dealing with my accountant, and throwing stuff out. But worse are the things I don't mind - or even like - doing, but that add no value, like getting lost in technical matters only to find I've spent the whole day on low value items. To these, I must say no, or at least settle on the simplest solution, like using page-builders or systems rather than spending a lot of time learning to code web pages, which I'll never do at a professional level anyway.
It's a powerful exercise, and one I highly recommend you complete as soon as possible. For some of you, this will be easy, and the next steps will be obvious. For others, like me, this will require a shift in the way things are done. For me, it'll take something to break this down into winnable weekly and daily chunks. Harder will be saying no to the things that distract (like e-mail, facebook, and the next thing I just have to know about or try.)
And if you don't have a regular job or schedule with a built in accountablity system, and you want to win, you'll need an alternate structure. This could be a coach, or a regular check-in with someone else. You just need to look at your promises this week, and if they are not in alignment with what you said you want, adjust your course.
This is the Domain I had the most trouble with. Here's Dr. Ben's take:
This is not about any particular deity.
It's about your connection with the universe. It's about what gets you locked in and centered and believes there is something more to this world than just what's going on inside your own head.
What's going on inside of you that makes you believe that there's more to this world than what is going on just inside of your own head.
What is it about the world that is bigger than me?
or if you are familiar with Landmark, the question is what possibility for being would call you powerfully into action?
So I wish you a Happy 2016. If you'd like any help creating it, here's the button:
Imagine this. You buy a car for $2000. You spend a little money and fix it up. You name it even. 'Ben,' it's a manly car. A year later, right after you replace the alternator for $300, it gets crushed by a semi.
Vinnie's towing service shows up. You casually say "But I loved Ben. That's its name." Vinnie says to you, "You know it was falling apart anyway. But for 25 grand, we can fix 'Ben' up for you. 2003 Ford Focus, good car. Sport package. Nice. That's a really pretty red."
You call your best friend, "Should I fix Ben?" There's a deafening silence on the other end of the line. "Really, it had such nice seats, leather, heated, and I drove it to California, and back."
And your friend answers, "And you had it in the shop six times, and it just failed inspection, and you could literally buy ten of them for $25,000."
"But Ben was the ZTS, in candy apple red, custom paint." We can all (I hope) see the insanity in this, until we change Ben from a car to a person.
I had a woman call me last week. Her Ben has a nice family. They liked to eat the same things. At one point in time, he felt really good. Now, it's been a little more than a year. Ben's become abusive. He ridicules her, says he can find another, suggests he'll always stay young because he is well-used, and even comments that he has violent tendencies. Their dates are dollar coffees, and weekends at his house. On one weekend, this woman was so afraid of physical abuse, she locked herself in a bedroom, and then escaped the house when her Ben went to take a shower. He won't kiss her. He lies. He makes fun of her. But now and then, he hints that he could marry her. If only she would share with him where she lives, then he could trust her.
Her excuse, "But I fell in love with him." Well I call bullshit on this. I am not saying he doesn't have a good side, but she doesn't love what this has turned into. She loves an image of a man that he has proven himself not to be. But since she's got a few grand in and some nice moments to reflect on, she somehow holds on to the idea that there might be something to salvage here. There might be, but at what cost.
At some point in time, a person's just got to get that putting any more into a dysfunctional relationship is just a really bad investment. Her experience right now is not one of being loved or celebrated. It's worry, and ridicule, and sometimes fear. I suggested to her that if we turned the timeline around, she wouldn't say she loved him. If she saw the ugly first, and then the nice, there would be no question. So it's time to take stock.
She was really taken in by a certain face he displayed. She calls this "fell in love." She's now discovered it's only part of the picture. The whole picture isn't that pretty. Seeing it for the first time today, she never would buy it. That being the case, the only healthy course is to step out, no matter what the good points may have been. And as she moves forward to set notice the signs that she overlooked here.
She can do this. We all can, but it takes a shift in how we look at things. "I fell in love" means nothing if there isn't love or respect present. And if there isn't, maybe it's best to say "I fell in love with something about him. I liked that. But it's not enough, and it isn't worth another minute of my life to try to turn this toad into a prince."
I wrote this as the lead in to a live event. You can use it now as a lead in to call me.
I'm excited about your job search. I know that when done right, you'll have the kind of work that makes you want to show up. You'll be making the difference you want to make in the world and you'll be happier. It's that simple.
So to get you started, here's an outline of how you will land your Dream Job. Following that is a short assignment. When you've done that, call me, and we'll get you on to the next step.
Sometimes our biggest enemy is ourselves. There's work you can do to get over this, but it's beyond the scope of this article.
But more than this, define who this lets you be and how this is consistent with your view of the world.
It's like this: I can say, “Hey, I'm a coach. Do you need any coaching?” you'll be like “Uh, yeah, that's nice.” But if I say, “I help people hack the job-seeking process to find their Dream Job at the pay that they are worth,” you'll ask how. And when I add value, you will see a way forward with me.
The advantages: I'm excited when I talk about this because I see the impact I make. I give you a perspective you haven't had before. You get what I can do for you. And you get to walk away with an action to take that wasn't there before.
You get to see me excited about what I want to do. And people, they really prefer working with happy, excited folk.
You paint a picture of how you fit in the organization of your potential employer, and show him that to on-board you is a no-brainer. You're already on board. You are what he needs (because you are applying to people who do the exact work you want). You've already given him ideas about what you can provide, and maybe even some he's never thought of.
So these are some the questions you'll want to start with:
The key here is to dig into your current network (it's a lot bigger than you think) and start to find the people who do exactly the kind of work you want.
You talk to them. You talk to the people you know who know them. Think again to my example above. If I ask you who do you know that might work need a programmer. Meh. If I say I really love the programming work around getting a prototype operational, and I am really good at troubleshooting so that we can iterate quickly, you will automatically think about the kinds of companies that build prototypes, and the people you know there.
You'll still have to work for the introductions, but it won't be as hard.
Now, you might also find that because you are so interested, excited, and ambitious that the folks you talk to will start thinking about what similar work they have in their organization. (“What I really need is a droid who understands the binary language of moisture evaporators.” “Evaporators! Sir, my first job was programming binary load lifters, very similar to your evaporators in most respects.”). In some cases, you might also find that you can enroll people or businesses in creating a role for you where they are sadly lacking.
You do your research. Look into the companies that have the kind of work you want to do. Spend some time finding who the key players are, and what their pain points are.
Then you use your network to reach out to these people and interview them about the work you'd like to do. And once you've determined their pain points, you'll come up with ideas to help ease their pain. Then you are already the solution to their problem.
For instance, I also help people and companies design their websites and e-mail campaigns to drive business. When I see a site that isn't well designed to deliver, I can reach out and offer a handful of suggestions to improve customer engagement.
You become the solution. Maybe they've even thought about your solution (if you do your research right, you would know this as well) and are just too overwhelmed to implement. Here comes the implementation ready to go. Instead of having to figure it out, they'll see you already have, or at least have a plan to, and they can delegate to you.
If it's not clear yet, the job-seeking model I am setting up here puts you in the driver's seat.
A lot of us are used to scouring job boards looking for something we could do. What we miss is that the job board is most employers last resort. In fact, most jobs are never posted. And this makes sense. If someone has a job he wants filled, he's going to start by asking the people he knows and knows he can work with. After that, he'll extend his search to people one or two degrees away from him. Only then will he post a job. At this point, it's an effort for him. When he gets a stack of resumes, what he wants to do is discard most of them, interview a handful, and choose the closest fit. Even then, he doesn't relish the idea of training a new person, and taking away even more time from his other work.
So instead of waiting for an opening, and hoping you hear about it when something that you might be able to do comes along, and then placing your resume in a stack with similar candidates, you are going to create the opportunities yourself.
It may seem like a bigger effort up front, but the chances of finding the job that is the best fit for you, and the employer finding someone he knows will do the job, go up exponentially.
Make a list of the things you've done. I don't just want skills here. You want to get into the habit of telling your story. Now notice which ones you want to tell me more about. Maybe you are a programmer. So are lots of people. Maybe you had a great time programming binary load lifters. What lit you up about this work? What difference did you make? What result did you produce? What do the things you enjoyed have in common? Is there a theme?
Don't limit this to work. Just make a list and see what starts showing up. With a little bit of effort, you'll start connecting the things you like to things you can do. You might even become a bit excited about it.
If you are clear that a certain job is right for you, or you find yourself particularly interested in a certain line of work, reach out to your network (even if it's only a facebook post) and ask your people who they know that do this work.
You want to be in the driver's seat in your job search. This sends strong signals to your potential employer: that you want to do the job, that you know you are a fit for the organization, and that you are ready to hit the ground running. Your role is to make your potential employer's life easier and add value to his department and the organization. In other words, don't reach out to someone to ask questions that you can answer with a web search. Come in knowing as much as you can about the organization, and with a clear picture of the value you can add.
And if you want any suppert, schedule a call: