Career Success Elusive? No Complaints, Please

If you have yet to capture the career success you dream of, stop to think before you complain about that. This is not to suggest that you are a complainer or that you complain without reason. However, please bear with me, because I do have a point I want to get across here.

No one would describe me as a sports fan, and because I tend not to follow sports events closely, I often miss some amazing stories. When someone brings that kind of story to my attention, as Tim Mushey did in a recent blog post (Sell-Lead-Succeed), I appreciate it. If you haven’t heard about an ex-football pro named O.J. Brigance, you might want to check out a video about his inspiring story.

Career Success versus Life Success

Sometimes career success and life success go hand-in-hand. If that’s your situation, consider yourself extremely fortunate. If it’s not, think about O.J. Brigance and other people who refuse to let even major setbacks–including life-threatening ones–define who they are and what they can or can’t do. I have to admit, I’m not sure how I would handle the situation O.J. got handed in 2007. Any challenges I’ve had in recent years seem to pale in comparison. In 2007 he was told he could expect to live 3-5 years, if he were lucky. Well, it’s now 2012, and he’s still around and kicking (metaphorically speaking, anyway).

So, in the space of maybe a few minutes, he went from career success as an NFL player to a man facing what amounted to a death sentence. Would I have fought back as well as he has? Would you? It has definitely given me something to think about, the next time I’m tempted to complain about something I haven’t achieved that I’d hoped to–whether it’s more business success or something else.

Different Kinds of Career Success

As I’ve commented before, we don’t all define success the same way or take the same approach to achieving it. From what I saw and heard in O.J.’s video, he has redefined what he might once have considered career success (although I gather he was a pretty great guy to begin with). He continues to not only “show up” each day but to inspire and motivate players and others affiliated with his former team to achieve goals they might not have thought possible. At the very least, they would probably be ashamed to fail in reaching a goal if they knew they could have made a stronger effort toward it. Instead of focusing on the fact that he can’t walk, talk, use his hands…he keeps on trucking.

So maybe it’s time for us to redefine what our career success–and our life success–should and can look like. You might still think, “I want to earn at least $100K–or $500K–or…$XXXX next year.” Hey, most of us can relate to a goal like that! But if that’s as far as you take it, you probably don’t want someone like O.J. looking over your shoulder, LOL. And you shouldn’t complain if you don’t reach it. Set career goals and life goals that really make a difference; then see how you do.

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