“You have to see it to be it.” I recently heard this and it makes sense to me. You see people doing what you want to do, and you work toward making it happen for yourself. I can’t imagine something out of absolutely nothing. I need to see someone doing what I want to do to get me started.
Even more so than, “you have to see it to be it,” you actually have to, “take action to get traction.” You may judge my rhyme, but each of us has been stuck at some point. We’ve seen what we wish we could be doing… but seeing it hasn’t been translated into being it like the saying suggests.
The problem exists when we don’t know the how part. We see what we want to become, but so many of us get stuck because we don’t know how to get there. That’s what happened for me. I wanted more opportunities to speak. But with no speaking experience, the opportunities weren’t exactly knocking on my door.
So, how do you go from where you are to where you want to be? It is both the hardest and the easiest question to answer.
First of all, let’s talk about why it’s hard. There is no direct path from where you are to where you want to be. The days of following a plan end when you finish PT school or residency - there is no longer a list of requirements, list of courses, or boxes that need to be checked.
If we simply look at the people that have what we want, we miss the process of how they got there. Behind every great accomplishment and every Ideal Career is a ton of work that led to that point. The hard part is the fact that there is no set way of how the person got there. She can’t say to you, “Do XYZ and you will get the exact same outcome.”
There is no set path for you to follow to get your Ideal Career, but there are 3 principles that can guide you.
Principle 1: You Have To Take Action To Gain Traction
Now the easy, or rather the simple, part of the “how do you go from where you are” question. You have to take action to gain traction. You have to do something and build on it. You need to surround yourself with the people doing what you want to do and be in that world.
When I assist at a continuing education course, there is always one person that asks me how to get involved. The answer I give is less exciting than hoped. I tell him that I took speaking lessons, audited a bunch of courses, and then showed up and helped at a lot of courses for free. With each experience I got closer and closer to being able to teach a continuing education course myself.
Principle 2: You Invest First, They Invest Later
When people realize you are invested in them, they start to invest in you. That’s how I ended up getting to teach continuing education, not the other way around. I think so many times in our career, we want to be invested in first because it feels good. We want to be paid or have someone lay out exactly what we need to do.
Instead, we just need to show up and give our best no matter the circumstance. I find by helping the people who are doing what I want to do, I learn a lot and more opportunities come my way.
These opportunities typically come from working on projects that have no direct correlation to my ultimate goals.
Principle 3: Small Actions Lead to Big Results
The best part about taking action is that each action leads to many outcomes, not just the desired one. Most of the things I get to do now stem from the relationships I made by showing up.
You don’t need to know how to get where you want to go, you need to start by taking any action and the rest will unfold. I recognize how hard it can be to start and how much of a struggle it can be if you don’t know what you want from your career. I didn’t do it alone and I don’t think you should have to either. This is the reason that Phil and I created the Bulletproof Career Rebellion- to get people moving toward their Ideal Career. We start our next round soon!