Don’t follow your passion, follow your effort

I really cannot remember a time in my childhood where I thought to myself: I am really good at this. It seems like I was mediocre at everything.

My sister on the other was pretty good at whatever she wanted to do. She knew from when she was 5 that she wanted to be a doctor. She was first chair in band and played varsity basketball. I was never in competition with her and was always here #1 fan, but I also looked at her and compared myself. Why is she good at that? What am I naturally gifted at?

I have always been happy for her. I NEVER wanted to be a doctor. I do not like blood, hospital, crazy hours and studying science forever. So I was always glad that she choose that field, because we need smart people like her that are going to do the hard work that I really am not made to do.

I was never “naturally” talented at one thing. I was mediocre or above mediocre at a lot of things. The saxophone. Basketball. Math. And I grew up Texas. Texas is not mediocre and the parents expect big things from their children. This theme stayed with me all the way through college and beyond. I felt like I was still looking for that magic recipe that would make my life have purpose and meaning.

What am I supposed to be doing? Am I on the right path? Am I naturally talented at this job? That is the only way I am going to be successful right? Wrong.

One of my favorite shows ever is Dirty Jobs. People do the craziest and strangest things for money. But they love it and they were great at their jobs. I really see myself in those people.

I currently work in the tech field. I do not love my work. But I do have an “aptitude” for it. And I am good at it. Why am I good at it though? Because I spent hours and hours doing it and learning.

We put too much emphasis on our own ability. We are inside our head too much. We think if something doesn’t come easily then it is not worth pursuing.

Follow your gut.

There is a great American Dad episode about listening to your gut gone wrong and I suggest you stop reading and go watch it right now. But there is some truth to: following your gut.

I believe in God and I think sometimes he speaks to us and tells us what not to do. You know when something doesn’t feel right. I have been on plenty of bad dates, where my brain was screaming: get the hell out of there. You are not built do everything. But you are also capable of doing many different things.

Follow your effort.

Today, I am a project manager. No one starts out as a project manager. It takes time to learn a company, process, product etc. You become a project manager when you learn about your subject, shadow another person and then put in your 10,000 hours of work.

I have had a million retail jobs. Mainly because I came out of college after the recession of 2008 and companies didn’t want to hire me. I learned how to do so many different things. Today, I am a project manager for a software company. I am great with technology. I can learn it quickly and easily it does not frustrate the hell out me, most of the time.

But it is still a grind.

Develop your people skills

One of the greatest take away’s from having different jobs is that you learn about people. Whatever you do for work you will have to deal with people. You will have a boss or employees and most important: customers. You need to be able to communicate effectively.

When are able to communicate, you can eliminate a lot of headaches. You can tell me people straight up that you do not know something. Or that you are not finished with something, but you are working on them. You can collaborate with people that are better than you. You can inspire people to be better and accomplish things they did not know they could.

Continuing learning

I am great at learning new systems, processes, skills etc. But thankfully there is always more to learn. If you are going to be successful you need to be able to evolve. Technology is changing every industry. If you cannot learn new system you will be left behind.

Read. Your thoughts are not original. You are not alone. If you want to know how to do something, read a book or an article. There is so much free information out there you can learn about any topic. You can also find a community of people interested in the same ideas as you. There are so many different platforms and communities to be a part of. Keep up your skills by reading about your industry, niche or interests.

Be Persistent

There are tons of people out there that have natural talent, but go nowhere in life. Because they do not have a good work ethic. Putting in effort is also about not giving up. Even when you are in a slump or not feeling it. Pushing through and continuing to make progress is essential to long term success.

If something is not working, do not be afraid to make a change. Life is too short. There are so many opportunities out if you are willing to put yourself out there and work hard.

Don’t give up. The world needs all kinds of people, skills and jobs. Even if you hate your job or boss or industry make, you can make it better.

Your effort is so important. It builds so many different skills and disciplines.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment. I read them all.

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