A tall, white-haired fella stopped, smiled, and pointed at the center seat to my left. As I looked up at him—way up—I decided Tall Man was my inverse. I’m 5’ 6” and he had to be 6’ 5”.
Someone else may have offered this gent the roomier seat. However, with a 4-hour flight on the horizon, I decided to maintain ownership of my exit-row, aisle spot. Selfish me.
Tall Man signaled me to stay put and then stepped over me with ease. Moments later, the “Why were you in NYC?” conversation began …
I had presented “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” to 40 executives at a large credit union. Tall Man (I never did get his name) was an airline captain, caught between flights, catching a ride home to Colorado.
It wasn’t long before I determined that Tall Man hadn’t “worked” for years. How’d I know? Because he exclaimed this: “At 64, I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else. I don’t know what I’ll do when I have to retire.”
“Have” to retire? Huh. Sadly, most would say, “I can’t wait to retire.”
I knew then that Tall Man was special because he doesn’t dread Mondays, pine for Hump Day, or live for Fridays. When Tall Man flies he’s not really working, because Tall Man has a career and not a job.
Tall Man is a blessed man.
Do you have a career? Or a job? If you’re not sure, here are 5 questions people who with careers say “YES! to:
1. Am I doing what I was designed to do?
I was not created for an 8-5 desk job, though I tried it for 5 years. Never diagnosed with ADHD, I probably suffer with it. More accurately, my wife of 35 years has suffered—from my hyperactive, high-energy persona. Poor Karen!
I require a profession where I am out and about, set my own schedule, and can be “the boss of me.” At 27, I found all of that selling management training. I love to persuade, coach, teach, counsel, and advise—and my middle name is “tenacity.” Simply put, I was made to sell training.
2. Do I experience emotional wins when I succeed?
I’ve always compared closing sales to the victories I did NOT experience on the wrestling mat. When an executive signs a contract, it feels like my hand is being raised in the championship match! But just setting the first appointment with that executive weeks or months earlier caused me to feel like I’d won the quarterfinals. People with careers feel the rush, day in, day out. Do you?
3. Is time flying by?
There are clock watchers and there are calendar watchers. Does time stand still when you’re at work or do you often wonder, How did I get to be xx years old!? For people with careers, the years are cruising by at breakneck speed. I bet that Tall Man—who flies the friendly skies—would agree that time has flown by, too.
4. Do I add value to the world?
A drug dealer could answer our first three questions YES! but that drug dealer isn’t contributing to our world. One month into my career selling training, a client said, “John, I was going to quit my job, but because of the training you sold us, I’m staying put. Now I know what I’m doing as a manager and I’m loving it!” I knew then that my efforts were making a positive difference. Pretty cool.
5. Am I learning?
As it’s written in Outstanding!, we can “only coast in one direction.” People with careers report there’s always more to learn and they are always learning. For them, learning means being challenged and being challenged is A-OK with them!
So, do you have a career or a job? Which question above means the most to you right now? Comment below!
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Additional QBQ! blogs about “careers”:
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