Ever wondered what it's really like to work in a certain career? Sam Reader is on a mission to inform us of what specific careers and hobbies are really like, by sharing insights from experts. He's the founder of The Bear Project, and he's written a blog just for us...get ready to soak up the advice! It's a real good'un!
1) Plan long-term goals
Acknowledge you won’t always be ahead and sacrifices will be made.
The best advice I was ever given was to plan for where I want to be in 3 years.
5 years can be too much and 1 year is too soon. Make small movements towards that 3-year goal.
“The years know much that the days can never know” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t ever be feel disparaged if you haven’t achieved something by a certain age. Don’t compare yourself to your peers, this is your life not theirs. “The race is long and in the end it’s only with yourself.” – Baz Luhrmann
2) You can be successful in anything
Fight to do what you love, even when others can’t see it. And yes, I mean parents and friends too.
Never underestimate how powerful you interests, passions, or even loves, can be. Think, if money were no object, would you still do it? The difference between success and failure is not the ‘what’ but the ‘why’.
I’ve seen people make very successful careers from humble beginnings in all kinds of things. It was why they applied themselves rather than what they applied themselves to that helped them go further where others couldn’t.
Find something you love, settle for nothing less and give it your all.
It’s might feel totally unnatural and you probably think it’s a waste of time. You’re wrong.
I know it’s scary. It’s one of the most unnatural things to do in the UK; we hardly even wish someone good morning on the train!
Get yourself signed up to events, networking meetings & meet-ups around your field of interest. I can promise you, you’ll find people just like yourself and 90% of them will be happy to help you. I met one 70+ year old at an event who eventually became one of the biggest clients our agency has ever had!
With practice it becomes easier and this has been one of the most important ways for me to connect with influential people and learn more about what I’m interested in.
Just bloody go for it! Thank me later.
4) Tell the universe what you want
You risk humiliation by revealing your dreams and ambitions. It’s totally worth it!
You need to market your personal brand. If people don’t know what you stand for, believe in, want to pursue or what you offer, they will NEVER help you.
Whether you’re looking for a new career opportunity, a client, a referral, or just more knowledge in a particular field – ask for it. You’ll be surprised at the positive reactions.
5) Life is about creating yourself
Anything worth creating takes time and investment. Choose wisely and stop thinking you’re on this planet twice.
In order to gain the attention and interest of anyone, you must understand your topic. Read, research, watch, subscribe, study and get involved in. Information has never been more accessible!
The more you understand about the real issues that affect your interests, the better you’ll position yourself as the source of the solution. You’ll also connect with like-minded people who you can learn from, in-turn making it easier to talk to other people!
Don’t allow people to abuse your time
At the beginning, I’d suggest getting involved in things as much as possible. As you get a better knowledge of your area and the people who work in it, be conscious of potential time wasters.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Remember, success is not a one-person job, you are going to have to collaborate to succeed. Choosing who you spend your time with is essential. They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Never forget that.
7) If you say you are going to do something, do it.
If your integrity and character is questioned, you have nothing.
You will meet people who overpromise and under-deliver. Then you will curse their name and advise others to avoid them. I’ve had to refer clients to other agencies in the past, because I knew we’d struggle to deliver.
Relationships are the critical glue to your life; it’s far better to protect them than exploit them. When you say you are going to do something, make sure you can deliver. I’ve learnt this the hard way.
It’s not going to come easily.
The difference between people who enjoy what they do and those who don’t is decision making. “Life” can easily get the better of you and decisions can quickly be made from fear. You’ll most likely mask this by telling yourself it’s practical.
There’s nothing less practical than doing something you don’t enjoy. If you’re good at what you do, you’ll be able to charge a fee for it – no matter what it is. Take a chance – on yourself.
9) Create a balanced life.
You’ll get crazy, and it’s no joke.
You have to create a balance in your life. Don’t block yourself off to the activities that keep you mentally balanced. Mental health is still stigmatised in society, but don’t convince yourself that you won’t experience it. One in four people in the UK experience mental health problems every year.
Family, friends, socialising, travelling and hobbies – whatever it is, do not isolate yourself when following your life goals.
A friend said to me, “What’s the point in having all the success, if you have no one to share it with?” Keep balanced and keep happy.
10) Travel. It’s life changing.
The world’s bigger than you and I. Keep an open mind.
I saved the best until last. People think of travelling as “getting away from it all” but, travel can be a fantastically helpful process for self-development too. The benefits are intangible and hard for the uninitiated to fully appreciate (remember, all the ‘initiated’ started as ‘uninitiated’).
Different cultures, languages, experiences and challenges are the perfect recipe for creativity, expression and perspective.
There is no formula to this life you’re living. All I know is that each day you will be presented with the opportunity to grow – grasp it with both hands.
Sam Reader graduated in 2010 in Marketing Management from Coventry University. He went on to work for a marketing agency. He's spent the last few years exploring well being and passions in the workplace. He's recently founded an amazing website called The Bear Project, allowing you to discover more about careers and hobbies from people with experience.