A woman attending a state fair stopped by the tent of a fortune teller. Looking into her crystal ball a frown spread across the medium’s face as she predicted, “The next fifteen years of your life will be filled with disappointment, unhappiness and poverty.”“Then what?” asked the anxious woman. “You’ll grow accustomed too it,” concluded the fortune teller.
One certainty in life is that the future holds unpredictable changes for all of us. However, the most significant benefits are gained by those who have the courage to transform a reluctant or fearful attitude towards change to one of strength and appreciation of the opportunity to find hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.
In June 1941, just two short years after being forced to retire from baseball as the result of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig was appointed by Mayor LaGuardia to assist the New York City Parole Board in working with and encouraging youthful lawbreakers.
Rather than sulking over his “crippled” dreams, Gehrig threw himself into his new job with everything he had or had left. He also kept up a lively interest in research into the disease that had prematurely ended his dream career.
It was a note about the latter from a concerned friend that prompted the following phone call. “I’ve got some good news for you,” Gehrig said. “Looks like the boys in the labs might have come up with a real breakthrough. They’ve got some new serum that they’ve tried on 10 of us who have the same problem. And, you know something? It seems to be working on nine out of ten. How about that?”
Despite trying his best not to ask the obvious question, Gehrig’s friend finally queried, “How about you, Lou?”
“Well, it didn’t work on me, but how about that for an average? Nine out of 10,” responded Gehrig elatedly! “Isn’t that great?”
If you learn nothing else from the quiet greatness of Lou Gehrig, learn this: Change becomes easier when you see it not as the mountain that seems too high, but as a gentle slope.
No matter what our respective situation, change is never easy. It forces us to take risks, become vulnerable and open ourselves to the unknown. So how do you use changing circumstances as a vehicle to discover your dream job or transform the job you already have into your dream job?
Just as Lou Gehrig did when he came to terms with his inevitable death, the key is to change your views on life so you’re always looking for new opportunities and viewing change as positive force. To help you do just, let’s briefly review seven ways to provide motivation for career change from my Love Your Work workbook:
1. Create Tomorrow, Don’t Maintain Yesterday.
Any old ideas that do not support what is most important to you need to be abandoned.
2. See Your Challenges As Opportunities.
Welcome unexpected difficulties as an opportunity to make something better. This process isn’t an easy one but the rewards can be significant.
3. Be Willing To Risk.
Taking risks is about stepping out of your comfort zone to become what you want for yourself.
4. Focus On Success And Opportunities…Not Problems.
When you view problems in the context of the larger vision you have for your life they become less important. Also, take note of the successes you’ve had as you move forward on this change journey so you will feel excited for what you’ve gained and accomplished along the way. By taking small steps with each success, you begin to make fundamental change.
5. Use Resources Wisely.
Again, just like Lou Gehrig utilized his remaining time and energy, let go of any activities that won’t move you toward the outcome you most desire by always questioning how best you can use your resources to maximize each moment of your day.
6. Imagine New Possibilities.
Begin to realize the new and exciting opportunities that lie ahead within your work. By honoring these powerful possibilities that are within your grasp you’ll quickly see that everything has a way of supporting, cooperating and assisting you in reaching your new objectives.
7. Take Action Today For What You Want Tomorrow.
Taking action is the best motivation for career change. It’s about embracing the concepts of discipline, motivation and perseverance. When you’re taking action you’re steps should be specific, achievable, realistic and timely.
Remember, every step you take to change now, is a step closer to becoming able to experience what Lou Gehrig truly meant during his “Farewell To Baseball” address when he said: “For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”