Leaning Your Career Ladder Against A Different Wall


“Take responsibility for the direction of your life; no one else will.”


There is always a family member, favored teacher, school guidance counselor, or revered colleague with well-intentioned career advice. Often, their advice may conflict with your dreams for a different future than the one they suggest for you. You appreciate their confidence and do not want to suggest they may be mistaken.

What should you do? If this sounds familiar, remember this: you alone are ultimately responsible for your life successes and failures. Therefore, the goal is to lean your career ladder against a wall of your own choosing, not one selected by someone else. Taking such a bold step is not always an easy decision to make, but it is necessary.

“We all have two choices: We can make a living or we can design a life.” Jim Rohn

Once you have settled on the career goal, the life’s purpose that speaks to your passion, find out what you need to do to be successful. Find out how to get from where you are to where you need to be. And, then do those things! Many fail to take this important last step and live lives by default.

Take action without undue regard for failure. The reward is growth through the courage of your convictions.

When you choose to live a life by design, you inevitably encounter resistance. Jack Canfield (Jack Canfield and Pamela Bruner “Tapping Into Success”) notes “when you reach for new levels in your life, your relationships, your career or business and your health, it’s natural to encounter resistance and change. So pat yourself on the back when they show up because it’s usually a sign that you’re playing big.”

Each of us is a unique emotional and psychological being and therefore each of us deals with challenges and social pressures differently. Self-doubts may emerge depending on the source of the resistance to our determination to lean our career ladder against a wall of our own choice.
The test of our resolve to succeed is to develop techniques to allay fear and doubt.

I relied on:

1) A well designed, but flexible, strategic plan,
2) A focused mindset,
3) A determination to succeed, and
4) A willingness to get past the doubters and naysayers.

Canfield and Bruner, in their book, “offer step-by-step instructions and strategies to help allay fears and doubts…and move toward your ultimate success with confidence.”

Never fear the probable loss of old relationships. Value, instead, the rewards from making new friendships, exploring new horizons, and determining that you can do; that you can be someone of your own unique design.

To paraphrase Betsy Myers (“Take The Lead” – Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You), once you’ve experienced the exhilaration of succeeding on your own terms, “good luck trying to follow someone else’s rules ever again.” When you choose the wall to lean your ladder against, the view from the top has a taste different than anything else you may have attempted. It’s just different!

Here’s why. There was no simple formula for your success. You loved the journey as much as you loved mounting the top rung of your ladder. Moreover, you overcame self-doubt, subsisted at times on sheer passion, and now savor the success that came from taking personal responsibility for your life, defining a plan for success, and persevering. You never lost faith in your most valued asset – yourself.




George Alfred Kennedy

Author George Alfred Kennedy

Career strategist, speaker, and mentor. George has the experience to help others decide who they are and what they want to do, and build an action plan to reach their destination.

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