I've come the conclusion that to be successful - really successful - you've got to love what you do.
Not like it okay. Not do it because you know how. Not do it because you've invested so much time and energy into it. I mean LOVE it! The kind of love that makes you want to get up in the morning and get going.
Because your work has meaning, significance, and fulfillment. If these aren't words that describe what you do day-in and day-out, then perhaps this year is the time to make a change, to step up to your big, bodacious moment - or BoMo as I call it.
How satisfied are you with your career on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely satisfied?
That's the question I kept asking myself during my ten and a half years at AOL during the 1990s. Year after year my answer was a 7, 8, or higher. The vast majority of time I felt passionate about what I was doing; I believed my contribution truly mattered.
When my score dipped I asked myself serious questions as to why. Was my current role not longer interesting? Did I like the people I worked with everyday? Did I feel I was being fairly compensated?
Several times this process helped me pinpoint changes I needed to make to get back on track. But when my rating was below 6 and stayed that way, I knew it wasn't about making adjustments. It was about facing the fact that it was my time to go. My BoMo was at hand.
I still remember the scene. I was in my manager's office after being away for several weeks attending grad school. He caught me up on what had happened while I was gone that I needed my attention. I listened and took notes, all the while waiting to find out whether he was moving to another department, which would open his position and give me a last shot at the promotion I wanted.
I sat there with a strange mix of calm and anxiousness. I had already determined that if my boss was staying then I was going to plan my exit. After 75 minutes, no word. So I casually, but deliberately, asked him how plans were working out for him.
He quickly told me they weren't and that he was staying. And, quietly, resolutely, to myself I had my BoMo. I was leaving. I had to find the next thing that would give me the internal satisfaction that made a career worthwhile.
You see, I knew that when I loved my job then I could do my best work and create the career satisfaction I desired, along with a good paycheck. The sad fact is that most Americans hate their jobs. Its pure drudgery and they're just in it to pay the bills.
It doesn't have to be this way. Especially in these challenging times of economic and global unrest, it's so easy to forget that we live in an unprecedented country. There's no other nation on earth where I can carve out a career that suits me, whether I'm a man or a woman. For this, I am grateful.
Po Bronson, author of "What Should I Do with My Life?" says that answering that question "isn't just a productivity issue, it's a moral imperative. It's how we hold ourselves accountable to the opportunity we're given.
Most of us are blessed with the ultimate privilege: We get to be true to our individual nature. Our economy is so vast that we don't have to grind it out forever in jobs we hate. For the most part, we get to choose."
So, how satisfied are you with your career on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely satisfied? If your answer is 6 or below, what needs to change for your career to be a 10? Will you spend another year hating your job or will make a change so that you're loving your life?
Finding what you love takes time and takes courage. It took me several years to find my new passion and it's required that I venture into unknown territory. But, it's been worth every ounce of effort.
I'm not the first person to go through this journey and I won't be the last. Perhaps you're next!
Mary Foley, author of "Bodacious! Career: Outrageous Success for Working Women", inspires people to take charge of their lives and grow their careers and business. Tired of seeing so many people weary from jobs they hate, Mary created "6 Steps to Win the Job You Really Want" , which draws from her ten years at AOL forging her personal career, hiring hundreds of people, training managers how to interview, and being co-owner of a human resources research and consulting firm. To find out more, check out www.new-job-search.com
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