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Don’t Live Small!

Live the life you are capable of living!I have learned that there is more than one reason to look for work that you love. As in my case, I really enjoy my job, but I also know that I was meant for something more. This quote from Nelson Mandela sums up my thoughts in a good way. I am choosing to strive for the life that I am capable of living. That doesn’t mean the life I have is bad, or substandard or negative in any way. There is just a constant motivation to become what I am meant to be.

So Don’t Live Small! Are you living the life you are capable of living? I would love to talk about it. Leave a comment below. Better yet, subscribe and let’s stay in touch. Thanks for reading! I look forward to seeing where God takes you!

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Financial Decisions and Career Choices(2)Our financial decisions have a direct impact on our career choices. Some of those financial decisions are made well before we have a full-time career and they end up having an enormous impact.

Here are some of the ways my financial decisions have affected my career choices. When I attended college back in 1988, I did what many students have done and took on student loans to pay for my education. These loans discouraged me from working on a Master’s Degree because I wasn’t willing to take on additional debt. This decision began to shape my career path very early on. We decided to stay where we were and pay off our school debts. I accepted an entry level position for a good company. It was the best thing I had in front of me at the time.

Another decision I made was to buy a home. Within a few months of graduating from college, my wife and growing family moved into our first home. It was fixer upper in the college town where we lived. We bought it for a very low price, but it also needed a lot of work. For the next 8 years or so, we raised our family and I worked, and worked on our fixer upper home. I continued to perform well and get promoted a couple of times at the good company where I worked, even though it wasn’t the original career path I had imagined for myself.

Throughout this process, we had a good start to our life. We rarely had “extra” but we got by. We had decent credit so if an emergency happened, or we needed money for a project on our home, we would borrow the money. These decisions allowed us to do what we wanted at the time, or take care of an emergency, but they also began to bury us under a mountain of debt.

Are financial decisions the only reason for our career choices? I don’t think so, but they do have a significant impact. College debt, home debt and credit card debt have a way of limiting career options. For us anyway, it felt like the path we were traveling was less about our own choice and more about what we had to do to meet our obligations. As I look back, I am grateful for all that I have learned and I am blessed to have enjoyed a great career working for some great companies. Here are some things that I have learned, and this is how I coach young people today:

Find a way to pay Cash for College. It’s rarely easy, but you will never have as much energy as you have when you are in college. Make it happen. Student debt will be an unshakeable weight that drags you down over time. College debt begins, immediately after graduation, to demand attention and force you down paths that you may not want to take. Here are some ideas.

Postpone Buying a House. While this does not sound like the American Way, a house can tie you down and limit your options. Home ownership can work against you financially and restrict your mobility. Make sure that you are prepared and buy a house when you are ready. Here are some good principles to follow.

Make sure that you have a Financial Reserve. An emergency fund helps you to get through the rough times. Rough times always come. When you are not prepared for them, you begin to accumulate debt. That debt can pile up around you and make you feel stuck. While you can always find a way to change your situation, it is amazing how much time goes by while you just keep “making ends meet.”

So, do financial decisions shape your career choices? Yes they do. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing, but it’s important to know that avoiding debt and making good financial decisions will keep more options open for you.

How have your money decisions affected your career path? I bet you have a story and I would love to hear it. Leave a comment below and let’s start the conversation. I would also love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter as well. Thanks for reading!

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Enslaved by Daily Trivia

Clearly defined goalsI do not claim to be an expert on the topic of goal setting or keeping. In fact, it is one of the hardest things for me to do well. I have learned that my personality contributes to this condition, and I have to work hard to overcome my natural tendencies. Details are a struggle for me, so following through on maintaining goals can be a real challenge.

This quote seems to accurately describe me as well as our culture. We are all very good at performing daily trivia. In fact we have so much trivia competing for our attention that we are probably enslaved more easily than any other generation.

So here are three things that I am doing this year to keep myself on track with my goals:

I have learned that I need to have a morning routine. This year I have developed the habit of exercising early in the morning. To help me do this, I have combined exercise with some of the “daily trivia” that tends to make me waste time. I am a news/talk junkie. When I watch my favorite news shows, I tend to waste close to an hour of my day, and it really hasn’t changed my future. I may be better informed, but I have not moved the needle one bit on my goals. So my solution is to watch video clips from my favorite news shows during my morning exercise routine, and it is really working! It’s going on three months now and it looks like I am developing a good exercise habit. I am more fit, losing inches, and seeing some good results with my quality of life as well.

I have learned that I need motivation. This is normal. We all need to be encouraged to work hard at our goals. It is too easy to become discouraged. It is too easy to become distracted. For me, I read good books that motivate me, and I listen to great podcasts. Zig Ziglar said “Motivation is like bathing. That’s why I recommend it daily!”

I need a visual reminder. For me this is a picture on the desktop of my computer. I found an image of a place where I would love to have a home someday. This is a constant reminder of why I am working hard, and what I hope to accomplish. It reminds me of commitments that I’ve made, and it gives me the daily nudge that I need.

So what works for you? Are you becoming enslaved by daily trivia? It’s easy to do, and you need to find a way to fight it. Let me know what is, or isn’t, working. I would love to talk about it. Leave a comment below. If this post was helpful, subscribe to my blog and let’s stay in touch. Thanks for reading!

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The Recipe for Perpetual Ignorance

_The recipe for perpetual ignorance“The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” ~Elbert Hubbard

If ever there was inspiration for continuous learning and improvement, this is it. A wise person is willing to have his notions challenged. Too many of us think we have everything worked out in our mind and we don’t have to consider something new. [click to continue…]

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The Importance of Purpose

Tree Quote - PurposeDiscovering your purpose is a noble quest, and the importance of purpose should not be ignored. People may go their whole lives working at something that pays, or developing specialized skills, but in the end never seek out their purpose. It may be a simple recognition of how to apply your strengths, or shifting your focus to the correct target, but to ignore this question may be to squander your purpose. You were created with one. When you discover what it is, put it to work!

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6 Job Search Tips from a Successful Engineer

6 Job Search Tips from a Successful EngineerI spoke with an engineer today as he was finishing up a project. I asked for his perspective on jobs in his career field. He was very willing to talk and had some inspiring answers to my questions. His experience is unique since the company he works for is global. He is not from the United States, but has worked both here and abroad. I asked him what he thought was important to keep in mind for someone pursuing a career in engineering. He had a great response. His answers will apply to any career field so [click to continue…]

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Proof of Concept

Low Cost Image  600x336When a great idea for a new business hits you in the middle of the night and you get so excited that you can’t sleep, that is called inspiration. It’s a wonderful feeling of exhilaration and anticipation all rolled into a few wonderful moments. That is until you realize that your idea isn’t all that new. In fact other people have been doing something like this for quite some time. That moment of reality, or self-doubt, that hits you is part of what is called “the Resistance” in the book, Do the Work  by Stephen Pressfield. [click to continue…]

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Do You Know Your Why?

It is so important to know why you do what you do. In this shortened TED talk from Simon Sinek, he explains the rationale behind his book, “Start With Why“. You will find that the concept is powerful and can effect your business, your work, your ministry or your career. Simon was one of the speakers at Leadercast last year, is a best selling author of “Leaders Eat Last“, and has a powerful message in this video that will get your new year off to a great start! So Do You Know Your Why? Please comment below and let me know what you think.

 

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Are You Prepared for Your Next Opportunity?

OpportunityGood things happen to us when we are in motion. We can’t expect new opportunities to just show up. In fact if you don’t change your behavior and position yourself for new opportunities to find you, they may NEVER show up. I am not sure who said it first, but “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” In other words, it’s not luck! Good things happen all the time. [click to continue…]

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A Creative Job Search Strategy

COFFEEMost job search strategies involve searching job postings submitting dozens if not hundreds of resumes and filling out multiple applications in hopes of getting an interview. They also involve joining job boards online and searching for what is currently being advertised. Before you keep going down this path, I suggest that you consider a creative job search strategy that will get you exclusive attention. Here is the strategy in more detail.

Bonus Content: There is a FREE download at the bottom of this post, but if you would like to get it now, click here. [click to continue…]

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