Do you want to know the biggest career mistake that MOST people make?
They don’t have a vision. They stumble through life, walking through whatever door opens, without ever knowing where they’re going.
Here’s how to fix that…
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The One Career Mistake Everyone Makes
— transcript —
The number one career mistake that pretty much everybody makes is they don’t have a vision.
This is not universal. There are some exceptions. But, by and large, the people I talked to are stumbling through life.
They go from high school to a degree because somebody tells them, “You’d be good at X.” They stumble through to the degree and then they search for, What job can I get with a history degree? What job can I get with a computer science degree?
Oh, great. There are some jobs.
Go apply. The first person who happens to hire you gives you a job. You jump into that job and your life is pretty much decided like this.
Your life becomes a kind of accidental series of the things you fall into and the doors that open up for you.
And we need doors to open sometimes. That’s OK. It’s not a terrible thing.
But the bottom line is, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to stumble through life and you’re going to look back 10 or 20 or 30 years from now and you’re going to say, where the heck have I come to?
And the thing that I want to challenge you to do at the beginning of your career, and most people don’t do this. Sit down and say to yourself, “What do I want to be true about my life in 10 years, 15 years, 5 years, or whatever?
Set some different kind of incremental places along your career road and say to yourself, what do I want to be true in 10 years?
So maybe you want to be working on an issue that matters to you. Maybe just want to be really wealthy. One of the things that is actually one of my career goals with money is that I actually want to have a money machine that brings in money without me working at it every single hour of every single day. We call this passive income.
Just having that little tweak in the type of work that you want to do, just knowing that my goal is to create a passive income, changes the work that I do.
So, for example, when I work on a website all the time, I don’t see that income right away from it.
But, I know in the long term it’s going to produce income for me. And even now, sometimes when I’m sleeping, I wake up and I’ve got more money in my bank account than I had when I went to bed because the website produces.
People do this with real estate. People do this with the stock market. There are all sorts of different ways to do this.
Figure out what you want to be true about your life. It can be the issues you want to work on. It could be the lifestyle you want to have. It could be the people you want to help.
Maybe you’re the type of person who just wants to help your parents and maybe your parents never had a chance and you want to lift them out of poverty or buy them a house. There’s a story by the motivational speaker, Les Brown, he always talks about how important it was for him to buy his adoptive mother a house as a sign of how much he loved her and all the great things she had done for him.
So start to put that vision together. And the vision is probably not going to be like, “I’m going to work at X job for five years and then this job for five years.” Some people do think like that. I’m not that much of a planner. My brain doesn’t work that way.
But if you know what you want to be true about your life… if you know, I want to be working on immigration, I want to be working engineering roads, I want to be working on foreign policy. If you have things you know you want to be working on, you can put that down (in writing).
If you have the lifestyle you want to live, you can put that down. If you have the type of relationship you want to have with your family, you can put that down and start to put that vision into place.
And then as you’re moving throughout your career, don’t be afraid to adapt it a little bit. That’s OK. But let the vision define the steps you take in your career and you keep your eyes on that, because otherwise, you’re just going to wander. You’re just going to go through any door that opens up and you may or may not be happy with where you end up.
There’s this great line in Alice in Wonderland where Alice is talking to the Cheshire Cat and Alice says to the Cheshire cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way to go from here?”
And the cat says, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
She says, “I don’t much care where then.”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.
“So long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the cat. “If only you walk long enough.”
I love that quote because it is actually wisdom for life. It is the way that most people approach their life, that they’re going somewhere but they don’t really know where.
So don’t be that person.
Set a vision.
Create a vision for your life or your career for everything.
Everything that you want to be true about yourself in the future.
Create the vision, write it down, repeat it to yourself, journal it, write it up on the wall. It doesn’t really matter what you do to keep that vision in front of your face, but keep it in front of your face and start to make life decisions based on things that will take you towards that vision.
And if you do that, it will set you apart from ninety-nine percent of the people out there who make that number one career mistake and don’t set a vision.
Set a vision. It’ll change your life.