Some of my best ideas have hit me when I’m walking the dog, playing golf or driving a few hundred miles in my car. My worst moments are when I sit in front of the computer at 9 a.m. Monday and I tell myself, “OK, it’s time to write a good column.” Creativity doesn’t follow a schedule. It happens when it happens, and you need to pay attention or else you’ll miss some great opportunities.
For me, I find Sunday morning as one of those moments when I do my best thinking. I wake up more relaxed and my mind wanders to topics I enjoy. Whether it’s walking the dog or driving to your favorite restaurant, reserve some time to search your soul and imagine the possibilities.
I’ve often said that managing a career is similar to making good business decisions, but there’s another side to this process that shouldn’t be ignored. Put your adult responsibilities away for a moment and consider what path you would pursue if you were graduating from high school today. This may feel like a silly exercise, but it could be one of those “aha” moments that changes your life. If you’re going to work hard to put a roof over your head, why not think big and strive for something that makes you feel good.
There are no guarantees you will actually find that perfect job, but climbing the corporate ladder is not necessarily the best definition of success. One of my personal goals is to avoid the feeling of “I wish I would have ... ” If I try and fail, I can accept that outcome. A majority of successful people will tell you they have tried and failed dozens of times before they finally reached their goal.
Julia Childs was 50 when she launched her career as a celebrity chef.
Harland Sanders, better know as Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952.
Anna Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, began her painting career at the age of 78. In 2006 one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.
Maybe it’s time to focus on what you do best. Pursuing your dreams doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit your current job or risk all of your savings. Working part-time at something you enjoy or returning to night school to learn a new skill can create the potential to follow your dreams.
My goal is to change your paradigm. One day next week let’s bury the excuses that have stopped you in the past. Describe the first step(s) that can get you started. If being a celebrity chief is your goal, then start by self-publishing your favorite recipes. If you have an idea for a new product it’s time to build that first prototype and share your idea with friends. There are thousands of volunteer opportunities that can put you in touch with a network of professionals in just about any career you can imagine. There are lots of people willing to support you, but you have to take that first step and ask for help.
The day and time are irrelevant, but the decision to take that the first step is the most difficult part of the journey. Taking the risk and making the commitment aren’t easy. The reality is you might not succeed, but never having to say “I wish I would have ... ” is a victory in my book.
Bill Kaminski is president of Stone Associates Training. He is an HR consultant with 35 years of experience in the employment field, teaching managers the art of hiring great employees. Bill is also an adjunct instructor at Keuka College. You can contact Bill with questions, suggestions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.