Find Success by Going Your Own Way

Did you watch the NCAA men’s basketball championship game last night?  As you know from reading yesterday’s post, I was solidly in the Butler camp.  They lost 61 – 59 to Duke, but they can hold their heads high.   It was one of the best NCAA championship games I’ve ever seen.

Many people thought Butler coach Brad Stevens was a little nuts for giving up a good, well paying job with Eli Lilly to sign on as a volunteer assistant coach at Butler several years ago.  Yet there he was last night, coaching in college basketball’s biggest game, and coming within two points of winning it.  He figured out his purpose in life, followed his passion and he is a career success in the field he chose.

Brad Steven’s success reminds me of Alexandra Levit’s column in the most recent Wall Street Journal Sunday call “Go Your Own Way.”  Ms. Levit made a great point about the problems that come up when you don’t clarify your personal definition on success…

First, you must determine if you are indeed stuck in a career because of what others think.  Did you, for instance, become a physician because your parents had that dream for you since you were born?  Did you go to business school and pursue finance because you want to have more money than your neighbors?  People who give more weight to external beliefs than their own often lack confidence.

 She quotes cartoonist, Hugh McLeod, who she says, “has built a career on ignoring everybody.”  Mr. McLeod says, “Avoid people who are constantly negative about your career choice, even if they are your best friends.  Instead, seek out people who inspire you and share your point of view.”

Brad Stevens had to ignore the advice I’m sure he got from his friends at Eli Lilly.  Instead, he sought out like minded people, basketball junkies, who thought his decision was pretty cool.  As a career success coach, I advise my clients to not only clarify their purpose in life, but also to surround themselves with positive people who will support them in their quest for career success.  Mr. McLeod, the cartoonist, suggests the same. 

There will always be nay sayers in your life.  People who tell you that they have only your best interests at heart who advise you to stay safe, stick to what you’re doing – especially if it comes with a good pay check — even if you’re miserable.  The first words out of my mother’s mouth when I told her that I had resigned from a good job with a very large company to start my own career success coach business were, “Oh my God, no!” 

My mother loved me, but she was worried I would fail in business on my own.  Truth be told, I was too.  But my passion for my purpose was greater than my fear.  I created a support system by finding a new set of friends; independent professionals like me.  These folks thought it was great that I had the courage to go out on my own.  Remember though, years before I made the jump from a corporate employee to a small businessman, I had decided that my life’s purpose was to work independently helping people achieve the career success they want and deserve.  Brad Stevens always knew in his heart of hearts that he was meant to be a basketball coach.  I always knew in my heart of hearts that I was meant to be an independent career success coach.

Natalie Costanza-Chavez writes a spiritually oriented column in the Denver Post called “Grace Notes.”  On Sunday her column was titled “Your Dreams Don’t Die.”  She told the story of a man who described his unfilled dreams to her…

Finally he said to me – and I remember how he turned up his palms at that moment, the tips of his fingers rounded to make his empty hands like a cup.  “Who am I to try such a thing?  How dare I?”  For a moment I thought I’d cry.  My response to him: “How dare you not?”

Ms. Costanza-Chavez, a poet and spiritual writer, Ms. Levit, a Wall Street Journal columnist, and me a career success coach, are kindred spirits.  We all believe that there is something great in all of us.  We all believe that you have to be courageous enough to find it, and commit to it.  We all believe that you cannot truly be a life and career success until you clarify your purpose and direction in life, and then pursue it passionately.

Ms. Costanza-Chavez does a great job of explaining how your clarity of purpose and direction will guide you as you go on your way to career success…

When you are ready, you will feel something inside you move slightly, even though you are standing perfectly still.  And then you will know it’s time to step lightly toward the door.  What waits there is an old friend by now.  What waits there is familiar and yours.  You reach for it, take you arm around its shoulders and draw it nearer.

Wow!  I got goose bumps just typing those words.  That’s the power of clarity of purpose and direction.  Ask, Natalie Costanza-Chavez, Alexandra Levit or me.  Better yet, ask Brad Stevens.  Even though his team lost last night, he is a winner in the career success game.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people clarify their purpose and direction in life.  They listen to the voice inside them that tells them what they are destined to do.  They don’t let the views of well meaning others decide who they are and what they are meant to do.  They risk security to gain fulfillment.  Last night, Brad Stevens coached in the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game.  He dared to follow his heart and his passion.  Even thought he lost to Duke, the young men on the Butler basketball team are better for it.  Basketball fans are better for it.  We’re all better for it.  He is a role model to all of us.  Are you going your own way?  If so, great.  If not, why not?  Take it from a career success coach.  Success begins with a clear sense of purpose and direction.  Your purpose and direction will give you the confidence to create the life and career success you want and deserve.

That’s my take on going your own way, and not letting your dreams die.  What’s yours?  Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  And, don’t forget that the NCAA women’s basketball championship game is on ESPN tonight.  It should be a great one – UConn vs. Stanford.  UConn hasn’t lost all year.  They won their semi final game by 20.  Stanford has lost once – to UConn.  As always, thanks for reading.


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