Out of our three boys, the middle son Sam has always known what he wants.
The bookend sons—Britton and Jack—are more nuanced in their decision making, often factoring in the feelings of others, the context of the situation, or the repercussions of said decision. Sam? Not so much.
A story to illustrate.
When the boys were young and Christy was a stay-at-home mom, the big outing of the week was a trip to the Dollar Tree. If the boys were good all week, Christy reinforced their behavior with worthless trinkets totaling $3.24. (We used left over Mardi Gras beads for two years until the boys caught on to our recycling act.)
A typical visit to the Dollar Tree went something like this. Britton, as the oldest, would walk in front of the shopping cart meandering down every aisle before entertaining a decision. Often, the emotional weight of narrowing his choice to one toy was too much to bear and he would melt down when pressed. To keep the peace, Christy often bought him two toys. Come to think of it, I think he might have been working us.
Jack, the baby, rode in the basket of the shopping cart. He simply looked up at Christy with his big eyes and sweet smile, not caring what his momma picked out—he was just thrilled to be in her presence. The result? Jack was loaded by age five. (Christy is seeing a therapist to minimize her need to be accepted by others.)
Sam rode on the front of the shopping cart facing Christy and Jack—the favorite position of preschoolers going shopping. Once he recognized the first aisle, he hopped off, picked the biggest, shiniest toy he came to and threw it in the shopping cart. He then re-mounted and waited for Britton’s melt down.
When he outgrew the trinkets at the Dollar Tree, but knew his dad was too cheap to upgrade to Target, Sam invented the Money Club. The rules were pretty simple. Everyone had to pay a quarter to get in the club—except moneybags Granbuddy. He was loaded and couldn’t say no to Sam, who by the way, was President. Granbuddy’s fee was a dollar. Did I mention there were zero benefits associated with being a member of the Money Club?
During the holidays, Sam would tear the ten pages of toys out of the Sears Catalog (thank you, Nannan for enabling this habit!) and carry them around from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. Just in case we needed a reminder.
Usually by December 7th or so, Sam would poke a small hole in the top of the pages so he could tote them around like a purse. If we asked what he wanted to Christmas, he would take off his purse and point to the item circled with big red crayon.
Sam has always known what he wanted out of life.
What about you?
A friend of mine, Rick Whitted, recently released a book titled, Outgrow Your Space at Work. It is a well-written guide on how to go about getting a promotion at work, including what motivates you to pursue that next step.
Rick has a nifty assessment tool found here that can provide you with great insight on what influences your desire to move up at work. He defines four themes as reasons for people to seek promotion:
(1) Position – perhaps a prestigious job title or advancement in company leadership.
(2) Pay – long-term stability in income; more incentives or bonus opportunities.
(3) Personal Security – seen as valuable by higher ups; chance to develop skills through opportunities.
(4) Personal Satisfaction – is there meaning in what I do? Am I connected to the people/purpose of my company?
But be warned! This is not a book that simply propels you to the next rung of the corporate ladder. Rick’s thoughtful approach is about making your current job bigger until management takes notice and creates greater opportunities for YOU.
The wisdom in that? A perfect fit. Why chase greener grass that could possibly take you away from your sweet spot? Instead, grow where you are planted. Rick provides nine steps to provide the results necessary and the relationships needed so that you can navigate your career path.
When it came time for Sam to pick a college major, he did so with ease. He actually decided on the college based on the major he wanted. When we asked that Sam research it a little more, he was firm.
“Besides,” he said. “I don’t want to be like Britton.” Britton, true to form, agonized over his major until the eleventh hour—the second semester of his junior year. And as Sam put it, “It was like the Dollar Tree all over again.”
So before you meander down the aisle of your career, let me make the decision easy for you—visit Rick’s website. You’ll be glad you did!