Crossing the Threshold

There’s nothing more stomach-churning, stress-building, and nerve-wrecking than the feeling that I just might get what I want.   You know that moment when you’re a kid and people ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and in your childlike innocence you actually tell them?  What younger you doesn’t realize is how much pressure is involved in making that happen!  Sure most of us are going to change our minds a bazillion times, but when you lock in and you know that’s it (like my becoming a writer) there has to be that commitment, leap of faith, hat being tossed into the ring, moment when you’re all in because if you’re not then you might (and probably will) regret it for the rest of your natural life.

                You might be thinking I’m being a tad melodramatic.  Perhaps you’re right; however, this is your WHOLE LIFE we’re talking about here!  Anytime I think I’m exaggerating this notion I just remember all the people who’ve succeeded and get to be what they wanted, not just someone doing a job because they have to, and I remind myself how much I want to be one of those people who get to wake up every morning and go to work with a smile not knowing what will happen but confident that despite the hard times the commute and the effort spent on the job are worth it.  Ah the joy of not being a drifter!

He must be Forty!

                I’m 36 actually, but this soapbox I’m on has been under my arm for decades, and it’s finally under my feet.  Why can’t we have the job we’ve always wanted?  Why can’t everyone have a job they’d be happy to go to everyday!  Lots of people have them—I believe that everyone on this planet is allowed to have the job they’ve dreamed of; one that would make them happy.  It doesn’t matter that you are 40, 50, 100, 30, or 10!  If you want the job—do what it takes to get there.

(1) Learn about the job

(2) Ask the experts

(3) Try it out as a hobby or (for those of us with a 3-6 month emergency fund) give it the 30-day challenge!

Writers and Rockstars

                What’s that you say Captain Downer?  Not everyone can have their dream job or a lot of important jobs won’t get done?  The reason you think that is because so many of us have a narrow vision as to what a dream job is!  Can it be someone’s dream-job to a corporate IT?  Yes: if they like working on computers and don’t mind interacting with other people on a regular basis.  What about collecting garbage?  Can that be someone’s dream-job? Sure!  Those types of jobs make the world go ‘round.  Someone can have a job that falls into the ‘yuck’ category for most others and love every minute of it.  If no one on Earth wants a job like that than how does anyone know who ‘Mike Rowe’ is?

All in all…

                When comes to our life, which we only get one of this side of Heaven, each moment must be lived with intent and purpose because it keeps moving forward, and there are no do-overs.  You can’t go back and un-make a mistake or try a different decision which erases the first one.

                When I was 16 I was taking all sorts of marketing classes in HS.  I took so many that I figured there might be something to this marketing stuff and I might give it a chance as a future career.  However, I also had the bad habit of sabotaging myself—as I still occasionally do; when the teacher told me he used his ace marketing students to fill jobs around town he asked me if I was interested.  I said sure and he told me to report to an accounting firm in my hometown who needed someone to mow their lawn.  I chickened out; I never went; never had a job is HS.  But what if I had taken it?  What career path would I be on?  Would my personality have been different?  Maybe I’d have become more focused; more intentional.   I think about this a lot, as you can tell.

                Still, there’s no use crying over spilt milk.  The point to this story is that we have to make sure we don’t waste the opportunities that we are presented, and NO that does not mean you should pull a YES MAN with your life.  Make the choices that make sense to you, that put you on the path you’ve always wanted your career to be on.  You don’t have to get rich, just provide for your family and anyone else depending on you.  You don’t have to be a millionaire—it’s okay to smell like fried food if that makes you feel successful and satisfied.

                Make the choice you want to make instead of drifting along and waiting for life, or chance, or another person to make it for you.

Carpe Diem all you want, but don’t lose your head in the process.

Don’t leave your dream job up to an online quiz–make the choice; make the plan!

                Guess what!  Career tests online aren’t the best judge of what career you should have!  I know this is one of those “uh-duh” sentences, but how many times have we all sat in front of our computer after a frustrating day or week and filled one of those out?  While those tests are designed to provide answers they data they are using are how you feel at a particular moment on a particular day.  Considering, when we take them, we’re usually frustrated—not exactly the best possible data.

                If we were to take them with a clear mind on a relaxing day where everything seems wonderful we might get a career that we would truly consider.  Of course, in those moments, we start to tell ourselves it’s too late: that we’ve missed the boat because we’re too old, or deeply entrenched in our current career.  After all, what responsible adult quits his job when he has family and obligations?

A Dream Job is a Wish your Heart Makes

                Truth is: it’s totally possible!  As long as you handle your career change intelligently and carefully you can make the switch.

                Here’s a list of things to consider before quitting your current job and launching into a more rewarding line of work.

                (1)  There is such a thing as too many choices.

                                Sure, “Sky’s the limit” sounds very positive, but if you don’t narrow your focus to the things that you actually enjoy and feel like you could reasonably handle with some success then too many choices will bog you down and you will be too afraid to start.

                (2)  When you narrow your focus think about how to get started.

                                Jumping all in isn’t always the best plan.  In fact, it’s hardly ever the best plan.  Taking the plunge into a career you don’t understand is a sure fire way to crash and burn.  Instead ease into the your new job/career a bit more slowly.  Find a way to experience the job (either volunteer work, interview someone in that line of work, etc.) before you decide to quit the job that funds your life.  This will help you decide if you can actually make this job workable for the rest of your life.

                (3) Just before you get started think back on your current career. 

How do you act and react at in your current position?  How do you feel about your

boss? Co-workers? Clients?  If there are ill-feelings that can be traced back to perceived (or imagined) attitudes that you have you may want to examine those, find ways to deal with them and adjust your work personality.  In other words: if there are issues you’re having at work that can be traced back to you, the last thing you want to do is bring them into your new job.


                (4) Last, but not least: have a safety net!

                                The last thing anyone of us would want to happen is for our new career and potential dream job to not pan out.  However, it could happen and we need to be ready for that.  Having an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses  is an absolute must if you’re going to pursue your dream job.  FYI: an emergency fund is not 3-6 months of income; it’s the amount of money you need to keep your family clothed, fed, housed, transportable, and to keep the lights, water, and heat on.

                When you are ready to jump in to that new career, here’s a helpful link from one of my favorite blogs to give a good foundation in your new job:

What Dave, Jon, Mike, Stan, Martha, Thom, Joani, and John Taught me that Jesus wanted me to know.

I thought I’d list a few of my favorite books that have inspired and motivated me in the last seven months.

This list is a selection of what helped me change the way I’ve thought about my career path, about who I am and who I can become.  They’ve changed the way I think, each in their own way.

The most influential book in my entire life is the Bible.  It has the answers for everything that confuses and perplexes us.  It can turn our hearts and our lives around so that we have a clearer connection to the real purpose for our life straight from the one who designed us.

As for the books that I have been reading in the past six months: it all started with a book my youth pastor gave me a long time ago but I just got around to reading (sorry it took so long Jeff!).

                                Be all you can be by John Maxwell.  This book reminded me that my life isn’t just about what I want but about being steadfast in living out the specific purpose for what I was designed.  It also reminded me that my life isn’t just about surviving but living with purpose and intent!

Shortly after my wife and I signed up for Financial Peace University and Dave Ramsey told us all about how to handle money God’s way.  With things getting better financially the freedom from those concerns really began to open my eyes to the will of God in my life.

The next book for me was Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which taught me how to live my life intentionally following God’s plan and choosing to be involved instead of waiting for something to happen.

However, I still had some stuff to work out emotionally—holdovers from my “wonder years”.  To get rid of my defeatist attitude and be able to apply what I was learning from The Bible and these other books I read: Life without Fear by Mike Fehlauer-here I learned that the fear in my life is largely from an unthankful heart; God has never failed me by Stan Toler and Martha Bolton—here I was reminded that God isn’t going to get tired or tired of me, but wants me to achieve what’s best for me—and who knows better than The One who knows everything?

Another great book is Thom & Joani Schulz book Why nobody learns much of anything at church: and how to fix it where I learned to take my own spiritual education more seriously.

The last one I want to mention is Quitter by Jon Acuff.  This book taught me that I can have the job I’ve always dreamed of, but reminded me that I don’t get it from wishful thinking. I actually have to—GASP—work for it!

So now I’m wondering what all you other book junkies have been inspired by in your quest to reach your dream job and finally be the YOU that you were created to be.  Feel free to comment and share below!