Mindset Shifts You Need To Follow Your Career Dreams
Today’s episode we’re going to train your brain with some thoughts on mindset shift. In episode 17, we talked about creativity and the importance of making this a part of your career and your life. I want you to hold onto those ideas of creativity as we begin to formulate the picture of your dream job. I want you to let go of those preconceived notions of what you’ve been told to do now that you’ve finished university. As we’ve been doing all of the seasons, today we’re going to bring one of the wonderful speakers from the summer’s “I Graduated…Now What?” Conference to join the party.
Need a break from reading articles? Want to just listen instead? Below is a transcript of Episode 18 of my podcast, Stand Up & Stand Out. If you’d prefer to listen, head over to our website or find us wherever the cool kids hang out that do podcasts!
This guy makes me smile and laugh anytime we are together. And I love when he shares his incredible stories from his greatest odyssey. But before we bring on Charlie Bell, I’ll give you a sneak peek into day three of our conference about training your brain, or maybe you retrain your brain. It’s a really important next step in your journey. For years, you’ve been told what to do. Gradually you’ve gotten slivers of controlled independence, but you really haven’t had yet to make all the decisions. Don’t worry. Don’t worry, breathe, we learned from Darwin, put our hands up, we’re in a safe space. We aren’t asking you to make all the decisions today.
We’re going to give you tools for how to begin exploring your passion, to think of yourself and briefly search within to find the things that are going to bring you harmony. Today is about more than a career. It’s about living your best life. And that’s more than a hashtag for your Instagram posts. It’s a state of mind and truly being able to define that holistically, personally, professionally, and what your best life looks like is critical to achieving it. Creating harmony between your worlds is what can be a reality in this post pandemic era before us. I’ve done a lot of crazy endurance events in my time. In 2019, I ran the Chicago Marathon, which was my seventh marathon. I’ve also completed several ultra-marathons, and triathlons of all different lengths.
I braved a few tough mudders, it was 45 degrees, I ended up fully bruised and nearly with hypothermia. I have cycled over 200 miles in the Seattle to Portland bike ride, and lots of other things that my friends and family all think are completely and totally nuts. So I stopped telling them about it until I did it.
But our first speaker’s adventure tops all of that. When I learned about Charlie Bell, I knew I had to bring him in to share his story with you guys. And now you will see how far you may have to go to find your harmony.
Charlie Bell: Thank you Nikki, and thank you viewers out there in the virtual world. Thanks for showing up. And, technically called the speaker, but I’d much rather be a listener, but I’ll do my best for the next few minutes to help you along.
But even, even before I give you a little more thorough introduction of what I have to talk about, I have to say that the most important thing that can happen in the next 45 minutes is not for you to listen to what I have to say, but for you to think about your answer to this question, now you’re probably saying, okay, this is some sort of a gimmick. This guy really wants you to listen to him. And the reality is that no, if you think very thoughtfully, carefully, creatively, really look inside your heart about the answer to the question that I’m going to pose, and you do that for the next 30, 45 minutes. And you shut out every single thing that I have to say. When I leave your screen and go off into my own life and you go off into your own lives, I will actually feel like I’ve done something important today. And I hope you will too. The question I’m going to ask you is this: what would you do if you had two years to do whatever you wanted to do with your life?
Now, it seems like you’re not going to have that time. Who’s ever going to have that time, but for the sake of this experiment, I want you to think very carefully about what you would do if you had two years to do whatever you wanted to. Pretend that it’s, that all expenses are paid, if it’s going to cost a lot of money, if you have commitments to family, friends, a spouse, a partner, whatever it is just for the sake of this thought process, this thought experiment, put those aside, just think about what you would like to do with the freedom, the energy, and the time to do whatever you want. Now you could break the two year period into four, six month things and do a bunch of different things. You could break it into 24 different adventures of whatever you want.
You can just take complete downtime if you’d prefer, but I want you to think about what it is that you’d most like to do with time and freedom. If you think about that, sorry for repeating myself, but they say the good speakers should repeat things two or three times so people will remember them. If you think about that carefully, while I’m up here on this screen, you don’t have to listen to what I have to say.
Nikki: I can’t wait to hear what Charlie will share next, take a moment to really ponder that question he asked, pause the episode if you need to, we’ll be here waiting, the fun thing about podcasts, they don’t expire. I used to have this discussion with my parents often. What do you do with time? They used to tell me that usually you only have one of the two ingredients of happiness.
Either you have time and freedom to spend it, but you have no money because who would spend time working or you have money because you’re working and no time to enjoy it with the people you love. Doesn’t that always feel like the way things work. With my six different parents, I got to see lots of career opportunities and what it took to be successful at them.
My dad and my stepmom owned a barbershop for over 20 years. I saw that they had to be at work five days a week promptly at 9:00 AM. Often aligned around the door in the summertime, staying until the last customer was done at 5:00 PM. Then they still needed to sweep the floors, clean their scissors and clippers and get the shop ready for the next day, vacations had to be carefully planned and there was no boss to give them paid time off.
If the shop is closed, there is no money magically coming in. Same with sick days. I saw my parents work through colds, and surgeries, even when my dad got hit by a taxi on his way to work. They loved their shop and their customers, but it took time to build a business that would allow them these seemingly luxuries for an entrepreneur.
We’re going to talk a little bit more as we get into season 3, about some of these ways that you can protect yourself as you start to maybe become an entrepreneur yourself. Maybe we’re not thinking of it that way, but as you enter as a freelancer and part of this gig economy, you are essentially an entrepreneur and you need to think about not just the work, but how do you holistically make a business out of what you’re doing?
Then my mom and my stepdad, both worked for the school district. They belong to a union and had benefits that allowed them certain necessities, like health insurance, or retirement plan, which you really need when you have growing kids. But those benefits come at a cost. There was the ever-changing list of bosses or people who presume to give them direction, whether they were their boss or not. And the hours were nothing like a teacher’s hours as they were part of the faculty staff. My stepdad, he was an athletic trainer, which meant he supported the sports teams, both home and away games and for daily practices. And he didn’t just support one sport.
He was there for them all, sometimes running from football practice on this field to a soccer game at the next one. And then staying late for a volleyball match in the gym. His job never ended during the school year. And it was constant, including many weekends away to support the teams as they traveled to games.
My mom worked a normal Monday-to-Friday work week, so this allowed her to be home on the weekends with us. But her days were often long as well, waiting for the professors to get done with class to provide needed updates or attending committee meetings with the faculty. I could imagine many days where my parents would want to say “I don’t want to go to work today,” but it wasn’t that simple with house bills to pay and two kids to keep in clothes and food. Let’s head back over to Charlie to hear his thoughts on what to think when you get that “I don’t want to go to work” feeling.
Charlie Bell: And I said to myself, I don’t want to go to work tomorrow and the next thought I had was I don’t have to, it was the first time in my life that I realized that my life was mine. Now I was lucky in that I didn’t have commitments to other people. I wasn’t married. Didn’t have a steady girlfriend, but the clearest thought I had was my life, from that moment on, was mine to do what I wanted to with it, as long as I could support myself.
So as I was standing there, I started thinking about, okay, if the train doesn’t, I mean, if I don’t go to work tomorrow, what would I like to do? And all of a sudden with this crazy thought, all kinds of crazy ideas came into my head. I thought, oh, maybe I would travel around Europe. I got to bum around Europe hitchhiking back in the day.
I could become a hermit, you know, that would sort of be the opposite of what I was the life I was living. I could go to the Himalayas, just hang out there and track and meditate or something. I thought about a lot of other ideas, but it really came down to what would I really want to do most? What was most important to me?
And it came down to three different things that I like to do. One was I loved writing. So whatever I did, I was going to keep a diary and I wanted to keep a good one for a change consistently, thoughtfully, and reflectively. The second thing I really wanted to do was to see the United States. As you heard, I spent some time in England and I got to see a little bit of Europe so I was lucky in that way. But I really felt like there was a lot of America I wanted to see and somehow or other, I wanted to do it. The third idea I had, the third activity, was running. Now in college, I’d been a soccer player, but after that I started training for marathons and got very carried away with it.
And I kind of wondered just how good a marathon runner I could be if I worked at it really hard. Now back then, I didn’t tell anybody about my fantasies, but I’m going to tell you that I even dreamed that maybe if I worked hard enough, I could make the Olympic trials or even make the Olympics and you know be a gold medal champion and that would’ve defined my life.
Again, I kept these things to myself. But as I was standing there waiting for the train to come in, I thought, how could I do this? And I thought from the start, well, maybe I could get a van and drive all over the place. Yeah, I could do, I could do that, that would work just fine. Drive a van. I could still do my running workouts wherever I was. And then, you know, my imagination kicked in and I thought, well, I really want to see the country and meet people. And I could see myself in small towns, all around America, having a good conversation with a stranger, and then having to say, oh, excuse me, I’m sorry I got to go run 15 miles. And it would seem pretty darn awkward. In fact, it seems so awkward that I said, I don’t think that’s going to happen, but then I had another idea. What if I just did the whole thing on foot? I’d save gas money, wouldn’t have to keep repairing the beat up van, I would see everything I wanted to see, and I get my running in going from town to town.
Now I could tell you all about the machinations inside my head, but the train rolled in and I thought, well, I’ve got to think about this and just very quickly, I thought maybe, let’s see, what would I have to carry? And I ticked off a couple of things, maybe a sleeping bag and tiny tent, change of clothes, change of running shoes.
It was 10, 15 pounds. I could do that. And then as I thought about it, I thought, Hmm, how could I go and see the whole country? I thought maybe I could just run around the perimeter of it. And we did a few quick calculations, like saying, maybe 25–30 miles a day, five to six days a week. And I did the math, I was an engineer in college, and I thought, man, I could follow the seasons. If I started at my parents’ home in Pennsylvania in the summer, and then headed down the east coast in the fall, I could get to Florida by fall. I could cross the desert in the winter, go up the west coast in the spring, come back across the great Plains in the summertime, I could circle New England in the fall and be home in time for Christmas. And as I was standing there thinking about this crazy idea, I had a vision and it was kind of like seeing a weather map. It was a map of the whole United States. And I could see me on it as this little tiny blinking light kind of winking my way all around the perimeter.
And from that moment on I thought that was such a great idea that if I don’t do it, I’ll kind of hate myself the rest of my life. And so that’s what I did.
Nikki: I think Charlie’s message is an important one. Although, it seems like you’re leaving school potentially with a heavy burden of debt from school. It’s not actually the biggest financial burden you will have in life.
This gives you freedom. Once you have a house, a spouse, some pets, or some kids, you have others who are depending on you to provide for them. That can weigh on your ability to make decisions that are purely to fulfill your hopes and dreams. Now is the time to act. Don’t wait until tomorrow to pursue your goals.
This is the lowest your expenses will be in your lifetime with an earning potential that’s actually increasing and you’re young, you have energy and excitement for things that you can go after today because we all know tomorrow never comes. It’s always just out of reach. And there’s always a reason that you can put off what you truly want to do.
Before you start thinking about resumes and interviews, make sure you know what you want to do and where your priorities are for life before you worry too much about your priorities for work. As I learned with my parents, I saw how they struggled and how they got fulfilled. Then the different things that they did to make money. And it wasn’t always the job that fulfilled them, it was us as a family. It was the adventures we took together. It was all those things together. And they worked hard to make sure that they could have those things too. But I saw how hard it was at times. And it made me think about how I wanted to spend my career and making sure that I earned the money that I needed to provide for my family as well.
So lots to think about, I want you to really start to sit back again before you start applying to jobs. There’s so much more opportunity out there than just jumping right into the workforce. You’re going to work for the next 40 plus years of your life. You got time, make sure you’re spending that time wisely.
So thanks everyone for joining today and for the incredible Charlie Bell for joining us, we just touched on the beginning of Charlie’s odyssey. So check out his website and his book to learn more about his adventures, links to everything will be in the show notes and on our website until then see you next time.TTFN.