2010 Career Challenge: B = Become

Ever had a quote change your life? I’ve had three.

Here’s the first: “Want it and you’ll never have it. Become it and it’s yours.” I have to admit that it took a while before this one really clicked. About nine years in the workforce to be exact. I’ve spent (that is, wasted) a lot of time wanting to be a lot of things in my career… a more sophisticated executive, an author, teacher, expert, you name it.

I spent a full year trying (unsuccessfully) to find an agent for my book before I finally said, “Screw it. I’m going to write the damn thing anyway.” And once I started writing, something happened.

I started to see myself as an author and my pride in the work swelled exponentially. So I kept on writing – and being disciplined about it – because that’s what authors do. As you might expect, when I shifted my self-perception from “would-be” to “current” author, I found an agent.  

Which brings me to Quote #2: “The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his mind.” When I stumbled upon this James Truslow Adams quote a few years ago, it reminded me that success isn’t always about who has the most talent. More often than not, it’s about who believes in themselves the most. It’s a mental game where confidence and positivity win.  

Today, I try very hard to block negative thought patterns entirely. If something goes wrong at work, my immediate response is not, “Who’s responsible?” but “How can we fix it?” If I’m disappointed because things aren’t happening quickly enough in my career, I replace the pessimistic notions with a positive action item I could get to work on instead. Worrying isn’t going to help me accomplish my goals, but being productive will. Make sense? This one doesn’t come natural, but I’m proof that it will come with concentration and practice over time.

Finally, Quote #3 is my favorite because it’s really a summation of the other two: “We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions, whereas others judge us by our actions.”  I confess I don’t know who said that, but I wish I had. So today, if you’re spinning your wheels dreaming about what you’re going to do or going to become in 2010, stop dreaming and start doing. Create a vision of your best possible self and become that person right now. What are you waiting for?

Note: This is Part 2 in a series called the “2010 Career Challenge: Becoming a Rock Star from A to Z” by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg, co-authors of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job.

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