Hot and Cold

Did you ever play the game “hot and cold” when you were younger, where someone would hide an object and tell you that you were “hot” when you were close to finding it and “cold” if you were far away?

I met a woman recently who shared with me that she is wanting to make a career move.  When I asked her what she wanted to do, she didn’t have any idea.  She was well educated, had a resume full of excellent experience, and could be flexible enough to work in a variety of fields.  That age old question of “what do you want to be when you grow up” had stumped her big time.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could use the “hot and cold” game to direct us to the right career path?  Finding your hot and cold doesn’t need to be as hard as you think.

To get started, take a look at the things you do well.  Are you good with numbers?  Are you organized? Do you thrive in team environments?  Then, think about what you are passionate about.  Are you motivated to support the less fortunate? Grow a small business? Work with children?

My Dad has his Masters in Economics.  He utilized his education and love of solving problems to have a successful career with major corporations.  Upon his retirement, he switched gears and looked to use his strengths from his business, and merge them with his passion: teaching.  Looking back, my Dad always had a passion for teaching.  He was a soccer coach, scout leader, and avid reader.  He was able to combine what he does well with what he is passionate about to have a second career, and even work in time to engage one of his other passions – travel.

The perfect combination of your “hot and cold” is not always easy to find.  Experimenting with your talents, and testing to see how they can fit into a rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle is the best way to achieve a balance.  There is no set template for finding your perfect job, and sometimes switching things up can make your “cold” feel a lot warmer.

Embrace Your Fear

One of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt and states: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I shared this quote with my 8-year-old daughter a while ago, and asked her what she did that day that scared her. She surprised me when she responded with “I went up and sat by the new girl at lunch.”  Wow!   I was, needless to say, shocked and proud of her for unabashedly going out on a limb and doing something extraordinary.

She then turned the tables on me and asked: “What did you do today that scared you?” That took some thought, because doing scary things not only takes courage, but requires comfort in knowing that failure happens sometimes. If we know that failure could happen more often than success (and many times this is the case) how willing are you to take a risk? Is the reward of getting over a fear worth the feeling you will endure to get there?

Let’s take a step back for a moment. When you think of your fears, many times things like “I’m afraid of heights, flying, spiders and getting stuck in an elevator” come to mind. What I’m talking about is something much more basic. Think about what keeps you from stepping out and doing something great. I would guess that it is fear – even on a small scale.

I’ve worked in a sales environment in some form or another my entire career. A large part of my job involves cold-calling. With cold-calling, you take a risk every time you pick up the phone, walk through the door, or go up to a prospect you haven’t met before. Will they like me? Will they hang up on me? Will they run the other direction? The power in making a successful cold-call, or doing-that-one-thing-that-scares-you, is going into the situation expecting the best to happen – no matter what. I’ve been turned down plenty of times in my life, only to walk away from these so called “failures” with something positive. That failed call might have connected you with someone new, led to something more down the road, or gave that person a positive impression of you even when their answer was “no.” There is nothing better than having people refer you in a positive way, especially when you handle bad news brilliantly.

So, take a deep breath, and get scared today.