What a Baby Seal Teaches Us About Career Success

I saw a great little video on Huffington Post the other day that had some interesting career success implications.  It was of a baby seal being released into the wild after it was rehabilitated at the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre in British Columbia.  It had washed up on shore and was dehydrated.  You can see the video at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/10/baby-seal-released-in-wild-video_n_860046.html?utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%20Brief&utm_campaign=daily_brief.

At first, the little fellow seems confused.  “They’re letting me out of this cage?  I felt safe here.  But wait a minute, that’s the ocean.  That’s where I’m supposed to be.  I better get going before they put me back in that cage.”

Not only do I think the video is pretty cool, I think there is some common sense career advice here.  Just like the baby seal, do what you are meant to do.  Follow your purpose.  Tweet 3 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Think of your purpose as your personal mission; why you are on this earth.”

The seal’s purpose is instinctual.  You may have to work at discovering yours.  Regardless make sure that you live your life on purpose.

For our purposes here, I define the phrase “your life purpose” as follows…

  • Your reason for existing.
  • Your passion.
  • Why you are on this earth.

Your life purpose isn’t always easy to discover.

If you’re young and still trying to figure out your purpose, don’t worry.  It takes time.  That’s why I always tell people to be open to new ideas and thoughts, as you never know what career success ideas you might pick up.

If you’d told me when I was in high school that my life purpose would be to help others succeed, I would have laughed.  It took several courses in college and a year of service as a VISTA Volunteer for me to figure it out.  That’s when I began my career in the human development field.

Your purpose needs to come from deep inside you.  It is unlikely to change over the long run.  It is you.  I’ve had lots of different jobs in lots of companies and have been self-employed for over 20 years.  Through all the changes, one thing has remained constant – my desire and passion for helping others create the life and career success they want and deserve.  In my heart of hearts, I know that I am on this earth to help others navigate the ambiguities of life in order to reach their career success goals.  That’s my purpose. 

The seal knew his purpose was to bein the wild in the ocean.  He took off to fulfill it as soon as he realized he wasn’t going to be put back in to the cage.

Here is how I define my purpose in life…

To help others achieve the life and career success they want and deserve by applying their common sense.

It hasn’t changed since I was 23 or 24 years old.  My purpose reflects who I am and why I get up every morning.  It’s what’s right for me.  I feel satisfied when I’m pursuing it.  It has brought me the career success I enjoy today.

What’s right for you?  What is your passion?  What is your reason for living?  Why are you on this earth?  What is your purpose?

If you can’t answer these questions with a great deal of certainty, you need to do some work.  Think about them.  Think about the times when you have been most happy and fulfilled.  These memories will give you some very good clues as to what you should be doing with your life.  If you can’t see yourself running towards this purpose – just like the seal ran to the ocean – maybe it’s not the right purpose for you.

Ask yourself a simple question at the end of every day.  “Did the things I did today support my life’s purpose?”

If you answer, “yes,” you’ve had a successful day.  If you answer “no,” think about what you can do the next day to get back to living your purpose and creating your life and career success.

Create a clear and vivid mental image of what your purpose means to you.  Live your life’s purpose every day.  If you haven’t clarified your purpose in life, this is a good time to start.  Once you get clear on your purpose, live it every day in all your actions and you’ll become a life and career success.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Define your clarity of purpose in this life.  It’s your reason for living, why you are on this earth.  Unless something changes radically in your life your purpose is unlikely to change over the long run.  You may be like that seal who ran for the ocean as soon as he realized he was free to do so.  You’ll know your purpose instinctually.  Or you might have to search for it.  As a young guy I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.  I just knew I didn’t want a life in the little steel town where I grew up.  I had to search for my purpose, and when I found it – helping others create the life and career success they want and deserve – I threw myself into living it wholeheartedly.  If you know your purpose, pursue it passionately.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  When you do, pursue it passionately.

That’s the common sense career advice I found watching the baby seal get released into the wild.  What do you think?  Am I crazy, or do I have a good career success point here?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I appreciate you and I value you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of common sense career advice explaining each of the tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.

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