desire = I want to find my calling & be happy
problem = too many options, how to pick?
1 solution = be open to ideal job
problem with that = too vague, no definitive opportunity, confusion
solution = 3 things to avoid bright light syndrome
Seeking passion inhibits presence
“What’s your ideal job?” If you’re like so many others out there, this simple question haunts you.
You have a unique set of skills, and, you’d love to leverage those skills to find new, better opportunities.
But you also want to stay fluid, open to new possibilities as they arise.
At the same time, you also feel that answering this simple question unfairly puts you in a box. You’re worried that you might be passed over for a great new opportunity because it wasn’t what you already answered as your “ideal job.”
You might get angry at the person asking. Why would they even ask? Why do they want to know? There’s a million jobs out there — how do I pick just ONE? Are they TRYING to box me in?
But there’s a huge problem with staying fluid. If you can’t convey your ONE thing, your one DEFINITIVE contribution, you’ll be forgotten and left behind.
If you aren’t boxed in, you’ll be written off
Managers don’t hire for limitless possibilities. They hire to meet a defined and urgent need.
It’s why entrepreneurs work so hard to nail their elevator pitch. You have 60 seconds (or likely less) to be remembered.
If you try to pack too much in, you’ll confuse your target audience.
That might sound limiting, but it’s not.
Having ONE THING sets you apart
Everyone has limitless possibilities. Possibilities send you to the back of the line. Having a single, well-crafted contribution dissolves all your competition.
Picture this. You tell a friend you’re starting to refinish furniture. A week later, your friend meets makes a contact at a trade show who in a private conversation, says, “My partner and I just bought an old cabinet that we would LOVE to fix up.”
Voila… You just landed your first project.
And if your friend hadn’t put you in the “Refinishes Furniture” box, you’d still be trying to get off the ground.
Clarifying your ONE THING can be difficult. I’ve seen a ton of people dabble in one area, then switch direction into another, and another, and so on, endlessly chasing the next thing.
This phenomenon is what I call “Bright Light Syndrome”. And it’s keeping you stagnant, as you jump from one “big idea” to the next without ever actually reaching the end.
Here are 3 ways you can get past Bright Light Syndrome and start realizing your true calling.
Step 1: Begin from where you are, today.
It is great to dream. Opportunities arrive, however, where your wants intersect your skills.
You want to keep the end in mind, but expect to start at the beginning. Often, it is not just our first job that “introduces us to the broom,” as Andrew Carnegie famously put it.
Start with the skills you have today. Figure out how to leverage those skills and pivot into the direction you want to be heading.
Step 2: “Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble” – Sir Henry Royce
Be proud of the skills and experience you’ve built, even if they are not directly in line with your next move.
President Andrew Johnson often spoke of his career as a tailor before he entered politics. “My garments never ripped or gave way,” he would say. And in response to a heckler: “When I used to be a tailor, I had the reputation of being a good one, and making close fits, always punctual with my customers, and always did good work.”
Your character and foundation of experience speaks to your future. Don’t ignore it.
Step 3: Each project matters, treat it as such.
Instead of working to get promoted, focus on your current project.
Take care in everything you do. The results will speak volumes of your capabilities and skill. You’ll find that opportunities and fulfillment will follow.
Ryan Holliday says, An artist is given many different canvases and commissions in their lifetime, and what matters is that they treat each one as a priority.”