I want to share with you WHY I wrote my book Unsuited: How We Can Reject Conventional Career Advice And Find Empowerment
My outlook on life is very different from than what it used to be. I no longer wake up each morning to a sigh, and a heavy and slow departure from my bed. I no longer dread Sunday nights, the end of a vacation, or take that extra half an hour at lunch when I can get away with it. I now wake up each day engaged and excited, my core values aligned with my goals, which both serve as an anchor for my days work. I once hoped that my workday would go by quickly, so that I could escape to a hobby or entertainment. Now I wish the days would slow down. Now I try to make each day my masterpiece. Now I am pulled by my dreams, not held hostage by my fears. Now I feel like I am doing exactly what I was made to do. Now I feel a sense of control, a sense of participation in my life and a sense of feeling alive. Now I feel free. Now I feel empowered.
How did I make this change? I had re-educate myself. Despite eight years of post-secondary education, and obtaining multiple degrees, I had learned nothing about what would actually bring me fulfillment. I had memorized data. I had gained knowledge. I had refined my abilities to think and reason critically. I had said the right things to the right people at the right time, but I had assumed that fulfillment was a byproduct of achievement. I had assumed that if I just kept achieving that I would find the fulfillment that I was seeking. I had assumed that all I had to do was play the game, but what I found out was that the game never ended, the variables just got more complex and more difficult to understand. I believed that all I had to do was secure the prestigious degrees, land the high paying and secure job and I would find fulfillment, but after obtaining all of these, and playing the game masterfully, I found myself in the darkest moments of depression and personal discouragement.
To find empowerment I had to change my story about the world. I had to accept the fact that I had been chasing achievement to find fulfillment, but that fulfillment wasn’t the real prize of success. I had to admit to myself that I had been operating under a set of assumptions and rules that were incorrect. I had to reject the conventional career wisdom that I spent the first ten years of my adult life refining, yet I also had to accept full personal responsibility for my choices, and realize that I was not a victim, and that I had the power to control the outcome of my life, if I could overcome my fear. For me this meant walking away from a safe and prestigious career to pursue an entrepreneurial path – a world where my reward would come from my ability to provide a unique value to others.
To find empowerment I had to embrace life as experimentation. I had to look at each experience in my life as instructive and educational. I had to re-frame my story about education away from a factory results and outcome based model, to one that was about process and continuation. In so doing I had to overcome my fear of failure and criticism. I had to liberate myself from the chains of consistency, and learn to not be held hostage by my choices of the past. I had to re-educate myself not to be concerned with how I would look to others, how a decision would affect my resume or career trajectory, but find fortitude within to made decisions that aligned with my core values.
To find empowerment I had to re-educate myself to understand that there was risk in every aspect of life, and that everything had a cost, even the career options that were conventionally secure, but that risk was something that I could manage, it was not something to run from. I had a to re-educate myself to understand that if my career goals weren’t aligned with my core values that I would have difficulty finding fulfillment. I had to re-educate myself to embrace the notion that adding real and genuine value to others was far more important than recording notches on my success record, and that adding value would outweigh career distinctions and strategic relationships. Value is the motor that runs today’s interconnected world.
This book is about empowerment and what it takes to arrive at this state. This book is written for people who were like me. People who find themselves far too often discontent with their daily reality – people who wonder if this is all that life will offer. Who look back at their formal educational decisions and wonder how they got to the place where they are right now? Who wonder why they aren’t fulfilled despite doing what was generally accepted. People who believed that the path to fulfillment could be undertaken without significant risk if the game was played correctly. This book is for people who would love a change in their career or their life, but feel stuck, and don’t know the steps to take. It is for people who continue to hypnotize themselves with the false belief that it is too risky to change right now, the timing just isn’t right, or that material comforts can compensate for a lack of day-to-day fulfillment. This book will be a guide for you. It will walk you step by step through a path to empowerment in your career.
This book is also for people who are just starting out in their career. I want you to understand that you can chase a passion, if you give yourself permission. I want you to know that avoiding risk, and taking a conventionally “safe” path is not a badge of prudence that you will be proud to wear one day. It is a massive risk. This path may not lead to your fulfillment at all. You need to know that the world has changed. There are options and choices available to you now that never once existed. It is critical in your life that you obtain, and continue to seek, education. But your education is not limited to the parchments that hang on your wall. The traditional path of securing the degree, landing the high paying job, will not guarantee your fulfillment. But you can be fulfilled, and this book will provide a map to that destination.