Today is the last in our guest blogger series from our new Millennial sales managers.
Sara Whyte, another recent graduate shares with us, her unique perspective about success - as told through the eyes of a Millennial.
I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this series and perhaps gained a little insight as to what makes this new Millennial generation tick.
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Success is not the key to happiness... Happiness is the key to success...
From an early age, we are told that we can be anything we want to be.
When a class of first graders is asked what it is that they want to be when they grow up, you will often hear them shout out professions such as firefighter, scientist, doctor, astronaut, and/or professional athlete. They will readily make this pronouncement with such absolute certainty that it leaves very little room for argument.
In reality, however, according to a LinkedIn survey, less than 25% of US professionals earn a living from their childhood dream job or a related field.
Why is this, you may ask?
I suspect that there are several factors that one could cite.
When I was younger my heart was set upon becoming an attorney based on several TV role models depicting a strong woman out to defend right and wrong. However, after completing a high school research project regarding the legal profession and some of the realities of what I might actually be doing, day in and day out, I quickly changed my mind.
My original career choice of becoming a lawyer was made without the benefit of all the information needed to actually make an informed decision (scripted TV shows aside).
Another reason that we may opt for a different career path is that we simply may not possess the required skills or natural talent, no matter how much effort we put into it.
The odds of becoming a professional golfer are micro-slim... and even slimmer for a person suffering from ADHD and needs to practice the same motions for hours on end.
Or perhaps the real reason why the majority of people do not earn a living from their dream job is because they aren’t willing to put in the work and effort it takes to become successful in that profession.
Successfully becoming a medical doctor requires a minimum of 8 years of post high school study (but more likely 10-12 years for a specialty area of practice). The cost of becoming a psychiatrist is 22-24 years of schooling typically accompanied by mountains of student loan debts. One cannot become a psychiatrist without being fully dedicated and committed.
While it’s interesting to learn why professionals do not end up in their dream jobs, I think it’s much more beneficial to look at how the 25% who did realize their dream job set themselves apart and made their dream a reality.
Was it luck, people they knew, and/or outside role models? Perhaps it was a culmination of all of these things. And if it wasn’t luck or the people they knew or saw, how did they become so determined and dedicated?
These smaller questions tend to lead to a bigger question: Are successful people born or made?
Before we can answer this question, however, I believe another question must be answered: What exactly is success?
It is my humble opinion that "success" is completely individual and cannot be defined by a strict code or measured by any tangible scale, be it the size of one’s financial net worth, the number of hours contributed to charitable causes, or their scores on standardized tests.
What I might deem a success, others may not think twice about or vice versa.
Back in high school, my sophomore English teacher asked our class to write a short essay answering a simple question: Where did we hope to be in 10 years.
Most of my fellow classmates wrote about having a family, obtaining college degree followed by a good paying position, or perhaps owning a modest home in a nice neighborhood.
One boy in my class, however, started his essay with the idea of simply "being alive".
At the time, the majority of my classmates, myself included, thought this was absolutely ridiculous. Of course we all wanted to be alive; that was the most basic fundamental requirement for all of our other goals and aspirations. It was a given, not something we would bother writing down.
As he continued reading his essay to us, we soon came to understand was that this particular boy’s father had passed away before ever reaching his 40th birthday, so for him, "being alive" didn’t seem like an obvious assumption.
Instead of seeing "being alive" as a given, something not worth writing down, he saw "being alive" as the most important element to eventually achieving all of the other things he so much wanted to do in his life.
Each day we are bombarded with the media’s version of success, all too often equating success with wealth. For a lot of people, wealth has nothing to do with success.
A woman having fertility issues may think of having a baby as her greatest success. An immigrant coming to America and striving to obtain citizenship through hard work and due process, may define this as a success. Another success could be something as simple as happiness, such as the woman who left her six-figure finance job in New York City to scoop ice cream on the island of St. John in the Caribbean.
Although these are not my particular goals and aspirations, I can fully appreciate that they are all fueled by passion... a passion to raise a family, to have means to a better life, or a passion to simply enjoy life day by day.
Often times success if not simply the completion of a goal or dream.
Having just graduated college earlier this year, success for me might have been when I scored high on a difficult exam. The grade in and of itself wasn’t the success, however if gave me validation that I was mastering the subject matter and increasing my base of knowledge. It gave me the confidence to continue forward in my education and ultimately walking across the stage with a diploma.
My diploma was the end result of years of hard work which lead to many smaller successes (and sometimes failures) along the way.
It’s important to remember however, that success isn’t necessarily about achieving a singular goal, but rather a process that builds upon everything we’ve accomplished in the past. It’s a culmination of decisions, hard work and passion.
Finding success isn’t the end point... it’s a new beginning to yet another journey along the continuous path we call life.
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse, where we hope to help you along your journey.
Regional Sales Manager
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Jim Kalb President
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