The Road Less Traveled
Success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pockets.
Is this all there is?
Congratulations! I thought I had arrived! I worked diligently to complete multiple college degrees to help land my dream job! I believed that obtaining my Doctorate in Education would land a role in Higher Education that would be remembered as the crowning jewel of my educational and professional experience! I put in countless hours of study and preparation to be qualified for a great opportunity! Then the economy crashed! I found myself unemployed and underemployed! As I moved along in my new journey, I asked myself “Is this all there is?”
Taking Control of My Professional Life
Quickly, I learned that I am responsible for my own success! It was very difficult to create strategic and imaginative answers to the question “What will I be doing in the next 3, 5 and 10 years beyond?” This was a tough order when the economy was sluggish. I discovered that book-learning is very different than learning new skills! It was a scary and often overwhelming time! I also learned that by focusing on college studies and the job that previously held, had made me very vulnerable. Because I was so busy, I had no time to cultivate relationships! Many of my former prime-connections had move away, retired, or just plain vanished into thin air!
I looked around. There were many others in the same predicament! I joined several networking groups and began meeting with people for various reasons: some for comradery, some for support, and some to help create prime-connections towards identifying new career possibilities. I met so many ‘strangers’ who assisted me in my journey towards enlightenment and onward to career prospects. It was a truly humbling experience!
I created an inexpensive business card and began to trade them like baseball cards. These cards were my reward for an excellent networking opportunity and quickly my LinkedIn contacts grew. I began to create prime-connections for my new acquaintances with others I met along the way. Soon, these folks were doing business together and I found great joy connecting and promoting others as they promoted me. These prime-connections provided advice to improve or clarify next steps current role and these same people can provided both leads and opportunities that were quite exciting!
During an entrepreneurial pursuit, it was suggested to list all of the people I know and provide these people’s contact information. Fine. Then I was encouraged to contact them and tell them I was unemployed! Ugh! Lastly, ask them for leads and ask them to connect me with their prime-connections! On my list was someone I hadn’t seen in 10 years. I mustered up all of my courage and she hired me! Three years later, I have a different job, but I continue to create prime-connections everywhere I go as well as to pay it forward to those who are in need. I am much better prepared, more confident and much more skilled than I was when I first lost my job. Indeed, I took a road less traveled, and like Robert Frost said in 1920 in his famous poem The Road Less Traveled, ” I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference!”