By Valerie Young
I admit it. I’ve watched more than a few episodes of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? So, imagine my excitement when the answer to my prayers arrived in my e-mail. In just 90 days, I was told, I could make $50,000 without doing any hard work or leaving the comfort of home. Lunging for my calculator, I figured out that if I follow this simple success plan every day for one year, I could take in a whopping $20 million dollars! The heck with Meredith, I’m heading straight for Easy Street!
So maybe you’re not naive enough to fall for these get-rich-quick scams. But admit it: the offer intrigued you. Whether looking to lose 20 pounds or switch careers, the promise of a quick-and-easy solution is enticing.
Take Stu, for Example
Stu phoned to say he wanted to get into voice-over work, but didn’t know where to begin. I knew enough to explain his need to practice, make a demo tape, and then shop it around to different studios. After a long pause, Stu said, “Gee, that sounds hard. Isn’t there an easier way?” Jokingly, I suggested he lounge by the phone until a client randomly selects his name from the phone book. Stu liked this idea much better.
Some people do get discovered, hit the lottery, or strike it rich on a game show. If you apply the same kind of thinking to your career dreams, though, your odds of success will likely be less than terrific. Consider these three perspective-shifting antidotes to the Fast-and-Easy-Career-Change Syndrome.
1. Snap out of it.
Yes, making any kind of change is easier said then done. Maybe, though, we need to rethink our views on effort. According to Carlos Castaneda, “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same.” When you think about it, it takes the same amount of energy to go after your dream career as it does to stress out and groan about your lousy job.
2. Stop waiting for a miracle.
Too many people waste time daydreaming about being rescued by “Mr. Job.” The career equivalent of waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right, this kind of passive approach is sure to disappoint. Face it: The only person who’s going to liberate you from job jail is you! If you want to live happily ever after, take a proactive lesson from Jonathan Winters. “I couldn’t wait for success,” he reportedly said, “so I went ahead without it.”
3. Accentuate the positive.
Stop dwelling on how much work it takes to cultivate the soil and plant the seeds. Focus on the bounty your efforts will yield. In an essay “Sacrifice or Stepping Stone?” from her newsletter Winning Ways, author Barbara Winter reminds us of something essential. “Giving up something in the present in order to have something greater in the future,” she says, “is actually a wise pay-off.”
So, jumpstart the process by listing everything you have to gain by changing your course, get positively motivated, and shoot for the jackpot!