During this time of year, my social media feeds get flooded with new years resolution advice. Everywhere I look, there's another tip or life hack. Although I've read hundreds, I'm always curious to see if someone has stumbled upon an idea that will trump the rest.
Last week, I came across one that really made me think.
Highlighted on LinkedIn's Idea of the Day was a quote from Flywheel Sports CEO Sarah Robb O'Hagan. In an article that O'Hagen published, she shared her five best pieces of advice to make 2018 your most extreme (best) year yet.
Although each one of her five thoughts was relevant, number three stood out: "Practice patience in finding your passion." As opposed to 'try this' or 'do that,' (the typical format for these types of posts) O'Hagen's advice was the opposite -- be patient.
O'Hagen explains that the process of finding your passion takes time. "Practice patience in the new year; just because you aren't where you want to be right now, doesn't mean you're not well on your way to getting there."
This was tough advice to swallow. As a millennial, I grew up in a time of "Hot n' Ready" pizzas, two-day free shipping, and on-demand movies. Waiting is not something that I'm good at. Especially in today's world where instant gratification is becoming more and more of a realistic expectation.
Similarly, I believed that finding my dream career would be the same -- a quick process without trials and tribulations. Boy was I wrong.
Eight years and four jobs later, I can now say that I'm on a path towards meaningful work. The crazy thing -- it's in an area that I would have never imagined. Looking back, all those nights of feeling lost sucked, but now it's amazing to see how everything became a part of a master plan that led me to where I am today. (I picture Dory from Finding Nemo saying, "Just keep swimming.")
This "lottery" view of the world, was one of the biggest lessons that I had to learn. By lottery, I mean investing a dollar's worth of time, energy and effort and receiving a million dollar payout.
It doesn't work that way -- unless you're willing to bet your career on 175 million to 1 odds.
So, how do you practice patience when you're not patient? Here are a few thoughts that help me stay focused on the big picture.
1. Buy into an end goal.
Patience isn't easy -- it requires determination and a level of commitment that supersedes all distractions. Think about what an Olympian goes through. It takes years of training, sacrifice, dietary regulations and rigorous exercise. But, because they buy into the end goal of winning gold and representing their country, they can endure the many sacrifices. As each day passes, those decisions become easier and easier. They become a part of their DNA. Eventually, they manifest themselves in the form of an Olympian.
"... you aren't where you want to be right now, but that doesn't mean you're not well on your way to getting there."
2. Live for the line not the dot.
Put things in perspective and don't make issues bigger than they really are.
Your presentation didn't go well. You dropped the ball on a project. You got passed up for a promotion. It hurts, but it's insignificant when you consider the length of your career (the line). Don't let the little setbacks define the rest of your success (the dots). I played football growing up. One thing that I learned as a quarterback was to have a short memory. You will make mistakes -- learn and move on.
"Tough times don't last, tough people do." - Gregory Peck
3. Develop a mindset of training, not trying.
Long-term success requires daily physical and emotional training. It requires systematic "baby steps" to get yourself in shape. By dedicating yourself to routines geared towards accomplishing your goal, you'll inadvertently create healthy habits. Examples for me would be regular reading, asking for feedback, and getting involved in projects outside of my comfort zone.
Finding meaningful work that your passionate about is no different.
4. Build momentum through small accomplishments.
Tackling a huge task all at once is overwhelming and often leads to a loss of motivation at the first sight of an obstacle. If we break tasks down into smaller chunks, we can accomplish our aspirations in succession and build momentum through each triumph.
It may take longer, but the chances of you following through skyrockets.
5. Have a passion for a purpose.
You'd be surprised how much easier being patient would be if you were truly passionate about your goals. Take time to develop goals centered around your passions and then sit back and watch as each accomplishment leads you closer and closer to a successful, purpose-driven career.
If not these, then find another source of motivation. "A moment of patience in a moment of doubt can save a million moments of regret." -- Unknown