According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average worker will make more career changes in a life time – three to five times. So when you make the change – and statistics say you will – how do you formulate a strategy to create your dream job? First, you must find an example of someone who is living and doing the work you dream, a model who is doing what you want. A model gives you clear instruction and guidance. A model teaches you the best practices he/she learned from experience and wisdom. This advice from your models makes the process easier. It allows you to see someone who has walked the path before you, who can share your excitement and understand your concerns. They offer a shining example that success is possible.
As you think back over your life, do you remember your favorite sports coach, school teacher, work mentor or family member – e.g. an uncle or cousin? All of them did something that stayed with you for a lifetime. That special feeling might be difficult to articulate, but deep down you know it was exactly what you most wanted and needed. You will never forget the wisdom, care and concern they showed for you. This strong bond with your model teacher stays with you forever. Some of our strongest and fondest memories are from interactions with our model teacher.
The time a model and student spend together involves connecting, sharing, loving and learning. Models have a way in which they touch us, change us, reach us, see us, care for and love us. We yearn for this type of connection throughout our lives. Through a common interest in a certain topic, bridges are built and new understanding develops. A shared experience is richer because of the added depth of another perspective.
Even the corporate world is waking up to the need for models. I just read that 59% of Fortune 500 companies include mentoring as part of the growth and development of their employees. Most corporations have added mentoring because they are having difficulty keeping employees due to high turnover. Mentoring has helped influence employees to stay due to the close relationships established in the mentoring relationship.
Think of one person in your life who has made a difference, who has challenged you to become all that you are meant to be. Who is this person for you? How has this individual touched you, helped you recognize your full potential? Have you told this person that you appreciate the gift she/he has given you? Let today be the day you call that special someone to show your appreciation. And if you can’t think of anyone who has done this for you, describe the type of person who could and then go out and find them.
I was inspired to write this article because of my own relationship with one of my model teachers and a book that deeply moved me. The book, by Mitch Albom, is called Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. If you want to give a gift to yourself – allow yourself to be touched by this simple man with a large heart and many lessons learned in life.
Mitch said the following at the end of the book, “Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. Sometimes it is only in your head. Sometimes it is right alongside their beds.”
Your objective is to find individuals who have accomplished their goals. Once you identify them, emulate their success. There are models in all fields. For example, a career coach with the right experience can enhance your efficiency and effectiveness. Or, if you want to start your own company, find an entrepreneur who has started two or more companies and ask them to be your mentor. Bring people into your life who are pursuing what they love because they know the path towards finding their heart’s desire.
The way to find your models is to read books, magazines, everything that describes how the experts made it. You can learn from other’s biographies. Thus, they can become your models through understanding and learning what they went through.
As you contemplate more career changes in a lifetime, identify someone who matches your criteria and ask him/her to be your mentor. Write or phone the person directly and begin the relationship now. Dave Thomas said, “People need role models at every step of their lives… not just when they are kids. Don’t expect a role model to come along all by him or herself. There are classy people out there who want to help. Instead of waiting for somebody to take you under their wing, go out there and find a good wing to climb under.