Unless you are fortunate enough to have parents who’ve worked hard, have been smart with their money, and built wealth which they’ve passed on to you, eventually you’ll have to figure out how to feed yourself, put a roof over your head and clothes on your back. The earlier the better to figure out what you want to do to earn money. It is never too late to find the career that is the best one for you.

When I was in high school, one of my father’s favorite phrases was, “There is a road out there. It runs two ways. When you are 18 hit it.”  Not a warm and fuzzy story, but one that prepared me for the real world.  It was then that I realized I would have to create my own financial safety net.

“Nature gave men two ends – one to sit on, and one to think with. Ever since then man’s success or failure has been dependent on the one he used most.” – George R. Kirkpatrick

Start figuring out your career interests and your Vision Plan by asking yourself the following.

  • What do I like to do? (What things did you enjoy doing when you were a kid? What do you gravitate towards now? What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?)
  • What am I good at?
  • What can I get paid well to do?

If you can find a career that combines the answers to all three of these questions you are well on your way to a rewarding, lucrative career.  You won’t just have a job making ends meet; you’ll thrive doing something you love.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right.  To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires….courage.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here are some nuggets:

  • Ask, don’t wait to be asked. When trying to figure out what you really want to do, talk to people who you find interesting and successful in their own careers. Better yet, ask someone you hold in high esteem to be your mentor. They will be thrilled to share their experiences and if you listen carefully, you’ll gain wisdom and avoid going down a wrong path.  You’ll also avoid some of the pitfalls they encountered along their path.
  • Read the book Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.  At the heart of the book is the internet based Strengths Finder, an online personal assessment questionnaire which will outline the user’s strengths. The authors advocate focusing on building your strengths rather than focusing on overcoming your weaknesses. The theory behind the book is that each adult individual possesses a certain number of fixed universal personal character attributes, defined by the authors as “Personal Themes” which in combination affect the individual’s tendency to develop certain skills more easily and excel in certain fields while failing in others.  The Gallup group claims to have distilled the theory into practice by interviewing 1.7 million professionals from varying fields, have quantified the different “Personal Themes” of the subjects, and have come up with 34 distinct attributes.

I chose to get degree in Accounting. I felt it would provide a more stable career by offering the flexibility to transfer between industries in the event whatever industry I was in fell into crisis. Get into a career doing what you love to do and not solely because it mitigates you from the fear of downside risk. If you are especially gifted in a particular area, the risk may be worth it.

There will be tough seasons during the life of your career, but don’t give up moving towards your ultimate dream work. One of the Partners in the CPA firm I worked for after graduating from college gave me some good life advice.  He said, “You’ll never get anywhere in life working 8 to 5.”

You can read more in my book, YOUR ULTIMATE LIFE VISION, a Handbook for Life, available on Amazon.com.