As 2022 comes to a close, and after a really hectic three years, these are my 5 astounding truths about your career. And they’re probably the same five truths I would have written three years ago: You’re in charge, don’t waste your time, be ok with failure, be a decent human being, and do work you love.
1. YOU ARE THE CEO OF YOUR CAREER
You manage your day, your time, where you work, and your career. You manage how you do your job, how you sell your services, the way you talk to others, and the way others think of you. The only person who’s seen every performance you’ve ever done is you. The only person who has seen every email you’ve written, and every meeting you’ve been to, is you. The real boss of you is YOU. You are in charge. Never forget it.
2. BEING BUSY ISN’T THE SAME AS BEING PRODUCTIVE
People think being busy is a virtue and something to respect. “So, are you busy?” we ask one another as we bump into a colleague we know in the elevator or at a coffee shop. And the answer is always, “Yes, so busy. I’m crazy busy!” Have you ever heard someone reply, “Ah… no, not really. I’m just cruising along. It’s great.” That’s because if you’re not busy then something must be wrong. Busy people are always rushing. Their busy-ness gives them an elevated sense of importance. They think that’s the way to build their career: look busy. And if you ask them what they’re busy doing they’ll reply, “Oh, you know, emails, meetings, shit like that.”
But being busy is an illusion. They’re rats on a wheel, going nowhere, busy winning the rat race, accomplishing nothing of great importance or purpose. Stop being busy and start being productive. Do stuff that matters. Do stuff that counts. Forget the rest, it’s all a fucking waste of your time and energy.
3. FAILURE ALWAYS HAPPENS BEFORE SUCCESS
If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough. This is the new mantra that drives start-ups and entrepreneurial organisations and progress and just about everything that’s going on in the world. Failing means you’re sticking your neck out, putting your balls on the line, and having a go. And when you do fail you learn from it and move forward… fast. Just like Elon Musk.
4. YOU ARE NOT YOUR RÉSUMÉ
When you die, nobody is going to read out your résumé at your funeral. “His crowning achievement was when he made Global President. His Porsche 991 was a testimony to his success and greatness as a human being. And we especially remember him as a person who had an MBA.”
Because even those who die with amazing résumés — whose lives are synonymous with business and work success, accomplishment and achievement — even their eulogies are about what they did when they weren’t achieving and succeeding, and who they were as human beings. How we cared for others, how courageous we were, how funny we were, how we live on in the minds and hearts of others. That is who you are and I encourage everyone to live their life that way. It’s good for them and its great for you.
5. DON’T WORK FOR THE MONEY
Don’t work for money, it’s never enough. Sure you have to pay your Telstra bills, I get that. But if that’s the reason why you turn up to work every day you’re wasting your life. Everyone wants to be engaged at work. Work at a place in a job you love doing, with people you love doing it with. Do what you do because it’s an expression of who you are, not because it’s a job. And if your dream has always been to be a florist or a hairdresser then stop working at that bank or that law firm, and become a florist or hairdresser instead.
Roll on 2023 (I hope hahahaha).