What Am I Going To Do When I Grow Up?

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What is the power of like?

Well, any guesses on the number one reason why people get hired?   I’ve been part of countless hire situations and the conversations about hiring always begins on things like degrees, experience, and skills.  But, it ends on like.

It’s not that degrees, experience, and skills aren’t important.  They are.  They put you in the pipeline as a qualified applicant.  The thing that will move you to “you’re hired” is the degree to which you are perceived as a “good fit” for the organization.

There always comes a moment in the hire process when the manager, recruiter, committee, or whomever is making the decision…and they decide who they like.  It can happen as they talk through the process or it can happen because they know the person who referred the candidate or because the candidate was already known by the company, but even when that’s not the case, there is moment when someone finally says, “I really liked her” or “He really connected with those on the team.”  It’s the moment when of all the candidates it could be, there is one that really is the one you can imagine sitting next to… imagine giving the keys or password to… imagine letting loose with clients … or even just sitting in a meeting and not wanting to smack!  🙂

And, ultimately, that is the candidate who will get the job…. and that is a very good thing.   Liking those we work with is really key to productivity, profit, and tapping potential.   Not liking those we work with is costly, draining, and rife with turf wars.  Not liking can destroy departments and whole organizations from the inside out.   None of us need more of that!

So, recognize and celebrate the power of like!  It not only will drive your career but also enrich your life.


From:  Howatt, W. A., (2008).  Leadership vs. management.  Kentville, Nova Scotia: Howatt HR Consulting Inc.

1.      “Create constancy and purpose on an on-going basis so everyone knows why and what they are doing.

2.      Teach all to adapt to change, and work to keep ahead of change, because change needs to happen to ensure quality.

3.      Stop micro managing quality; instead, build quality self-assessment into the process and company culture.

4.      Build on long term relationships vs. going with the lowest priced person.

5.      Commit to daily improvement, with an understanding that this is an on-going process that never ends.

6.      Institute job training and on-going professional development.

7.      Offer leadership development; do not assume promotions make leaders.

8.      Remove all fear from the organization.

9.      Remove and break down any barriers between groups within the company.

10. Eliminate targets from the workforce; they need to be driven by the employees, not management.

11. Eliminate numerical goals for production; instead, work on developing methods for improving production and quality.

12. Eliminate barriers that removed workmanship pride.

13. Institute a program of company-wide self improvement and development.

14. Develop company-wide action plans that involve every employee, with the goal of creating a company-wide transformation to quality.

These are the fourteen critical factors that W. Edwards Deming created (professionally accepted philosopher and process developer) (Howatt, 2008, p.14).”

From: Riffenbary, J. (2007). No excuse! incorporating core values, accountability, and balance into our life and career. Possibility Press.

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out to another is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas, your dreams, before the crowd, is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try is to risk failure. But risks need to be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love…live. Chained by his beliefs, he is a slave; he has forfeited freedom. Only a person who risks is free. – Edwin Land (Riffenbary, 2007, p. 18).

What if education happens every time we learn?

Consider for a moment: what is the difference between a degree and education?

So, how could it be helpful to shift the focus from  degree completion to learning?

How could this shift in perspective make the practice of learning far more purposeful and passionate?

For you, what is the value of a degree? Where is the value of a degree? When is the reward or success of a degree?

What do you think?  What would it mean to know?

So, what IS the value of a degree? Does it guarantee an educated person? Does it ensure meaningful employment? Any employment? What about success? or happiness?

A lot of people hyper-focus on the completion of the degree.   Often we feel we “have to” complete the degree so we can get on with our lives.  When we do that, we work from the standpoint that education is something we must “get through.”  This deeply affects the quality of our education because if we aren’t engaged, it reduces our ability to articulate our knowledge and transfer our skills to new situations.   This impacts our satisfaction, our happiness, our success…

So, what motivates you?  what is graduation about for you?  …and how are you on planning your career?

For me, I got a flat tire. Yes. that’s right. I am celebrating a flat tire.

I am grateful because, even through it went flat on 270 in the middle lane after hitting road debris, I am safe. I pulled over successfully and had my cell phone so I could call for roadside assistance.

I am grateful because a state worker stopped and made sure I was ok.

I am grateful because I got my email read while waiting for the assistance to show up. Even though my spare tire was also flat and so the first truck they sent out couldn’t help me and we called a tow truck that took 45 minutes to show up, it was great because I had my wireless and got work done.

I am grateful because even though I missed a college fair I was going to in Newark, I got to spend time while my tire was being replaced updating a brochure I’m making on workshops and presentations for college-bound students.

So, it’s possible to have a great day no matter what happens if we choose to see the benefits of what happens.

Choose to have a wonderful day!

What does it mean to have purpose?  to be ON PURPOSE?

A lot of people will start naming goals, like graduate from college or get a job.   Those are goals.  So, what is the relationship between goals and purpose?  Well, goals are defined, tangible accomplishments.   Purpose is the reason why.  Purpose is the reason for the goal.

So, why did you choose these goals?  perhaps the honest answer is that you didn’t choose the goals.  perhaps the goals were given to you, expected of you, and you thought you had no other choice but to pick up the goals and slug through, racing to the finish line, hoping that it will provide happiness.

Consider the following questions:

  • What do you want most out of life?
  • What would you like to see happen in the world?
  • What makes you special?
  • What would you like to accomplish right now?

Make a list of at least 3-5 items in each area and circle the elment that is most important to you or provides the others.  Take those 4 elements and make it a sentence.

I will (Take the circled item from List 4) , using my (Take the circled item from List 3), to accomplish (Take the circled item from List 2 , and in doing so, also achieve (Take the circled item from List 1) .

Read this out loud to yourself and let it settle in.

How does it feel to know your purpose?  How does it feel to know it is YOUR purpose?

Keep in mind this a draft and you can continue to polish it up.  So, what if you can choose to put it somewhere you can see it on a daily basis?  What if you could put it on your screen saver?  put it in your journal?  put it on your mirror?  make it a creative collage?

Evelyn Van Til

Practicing Purpose with Passion!