“Your career is not going to be one steady march upward to glory”
— Alan Arkin
Baseball legend Casey Stengel once said “the trick to growing up is not growing old”. In other words, we need to resist the pull toward decline by reinvesting in our most important financial asset – our vocation.
As a young man I wanted to be a farmer when I grew up – just like my hero Grandpa Sam. He was responsible for a herd of sheep and enjoyed a simple life. Somewhere along the way I realized I wanted to be my grandpa, not a farmer, and the dream disappeared. I entered the traditional track of college and finding a profession. You might say my career began following, not managing, the herd.
My career was targeted toward a specific destination – a corporate job where I would be admired and make a good living. The destination blinded me to opportunities that did not land on my narrow path, people and learning that would have benefited me in the long run. Finally, a mentor encouraged me to widen my view and enjoy the ride – resulting in greater fulfillment and a new vocation.
The reality is the career you expected years ago is a memory, not your ticket to fulfillment. Refreshing your career is a brief look back and a long look forward.
Three keys to refreshing your career expectations:
Eulogy v. Resume
David Brooks in the Road to Character encourages us to change our question from “what do I want from life” to “what does life want from me?” He asks us to think about what people will hear in your eulogy, not what is on your resume. Our goal should be achievement leading to fulfillment, not just our own but those we encounter along our path.
I have heard others say they have no regrets in life so many times, a reply that begs for deeper reflection. Regrets are real – understand and accept your disappointments. The question to ask – what did you learn from the experience? Reframe your energy to opportunities and move on from the past.
If only. You can’t go back and change things – past decisions are over and done. If your expectations have not been realized one thing needs to change – you. Rebranding is resetting your dreams, updating your skillset, and changing your behavior. Remember, you are admired today and will be remembered tomorrow for how you treat people.
When our computer screen is stuck we hit the Refresh button – it gives us a fresh start. In our professional life we can also refresh by focusing on the journey, managing regrets, and rebranding ourselves. Growing old is certain – growing up is uncertain and your march to glory requires a bold first step.
Have a great week!