686. I’ll never forget that number as long as I live.
The jobs market is rough, and this weak economy has made it ever rougher. In the last year I’ve had a number of blog requests to write something like a “how to get a job blog for the less fortunate”. Well, I’m certainly no expert, but I will humbly give my opinion on a little something that has always worked well for me when I needed it the most.
Let me start by saying that I despise “fortune”. Well, more accurately, I despise what people are pointing at when they THINK they see “fortune”. -Sean Patrick Flanery
There’s a lot of talk recently about exactly that, the “fortunate”, and about the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Well, this much I do know. Every time you see someone that appears to you to be “fortunate”, you can take it to the bank that that “fortune” is either hard-earned… or it will have a lifespan of about another fifteen minutes. If it wasn’t found on the other side of adversity, then it will be worthless and temporary. Be careful what you wish for…
Most people, upon critiquing their life, will acknowledge that their happiness was usually inversely proportionate to the size of their house.
“Under-promise and over-deliver… in everything”.
My dad told me this on a soccer field when I was just a child and it’s been one of the most valuable lessons of my entire existence. Maybe those aren’t the exact words that he used, but that’s how I’ve articulated his message, and I’ve tried to use this message every single day of my life. If you haven’t already, please read the earlier blog entitled “NEWS FLASH: Winners DO quit!!” before reading further. It’s important… I’ll wait.
So, who are these “fortunate” ones that everyone talks about? Are they really the “haves”… or are they the “have-nots”??? I guess it depends on what you want to inherit.
Now I Don’t know if this is everyone’s truth, but it sure is mine…
You can either leave your kids “things”, or you can leave them a work ethic, but you can rarely leave them both. If you leave them “things” without a work ethic, then the “things” will be gone very quickly, but, if you leave them nothing but a work ethic, whatever “things” they want or need will start piling up immediately. An inheritance with no work ethic will soon vanish, but a work ethic can create it’s OWN inheritance… over and over again. The “fortune” it seems is in the upbringing.
Never keep your kids so hungry that they starve… but ALWAYS keep them hungry enough so that they’ll learn how to hunt.
I knew that there was a bigger message from the soccer field that day, but from the narrow perspective of a child, I could only apply it to sports. I decided to never let my dad or my coaches down again… or even myself. I would dig in, and grind, whether I thought it was futile or not. I remember the Coach of the Alief Track Club, Mr. Montgomery, sending us sprinters off on 100 yard legs one day. Well, the 100 yard mark was in-between two cones way down the field and I realized that from the coach’s angle, it looked like the guys ahead of me were easing off just a few feet before the cones. From that day on, I always continued sprinting about 10 to 15 yards past the cones just to make sure the coach didn’t think I was a quitter. I was petrified of seeing that disappointment again. I was petrified of seeing it in myself.
One of the most interesting ironies about courage, I find, is that we usually find it easier to be brave for someone else than we do for ourselves.
My team mates would occasionally ask me why I kept sprinting after the cones, and I always remembered something my Grandaddy used to say:
“You gonna be criticized, cause the losers always gonna out-populate the winners, and the losers never understand the winner’s way”. -Grandaddy
My dad’s soccer field message for me was to try and do this in every sport I ever competed in. To do it in hopes that it would eventually saturate my life. “If a coach tells your team to do 50 reps on your own of something”, he’d say… “then dammit boy, you do 55, just in case the coach is counting YOUR reps and he’s missed a couple”.
I have to admit, later in life I even gave Rickson Gracie a 10% margin of error, just in case he was counting my reps.
I’ve tried to apply my dad’s message to all areas of my life. Sometimes I’ve succeeded, and sometimes I’m come up short. But, I have a complete belief and faith in the message itself, and will wrap it up tightly to leave for someone else someday.
Try it out. Let it spread. Let it become contagious. Maybe, like me, you’ll start off doing the extra work just to avoid someone else’s disappointment. But then going further, it always becomes intoxicating, and you’ll find yourself doing it just to avoid your own disappointment. And FINALLY, once addicted, you’ll KEEP doing it because you see what all the extra work makes you become. It truly changes you. It changes every aspect of your life. It changes your possibilities. It changes your culture…
It makes you become… “fortunate”.
When you find yourself going that extra mile for no one other than yourself, that’s when you welcome “fortune” into your life.
Only the true “necessity” for some ideal will allow people to accelerate away from their glue of fear and failure.
So, how does this relate to the jobs market???? Well, as I’ve said before, character will always out-climb circumstance… so let’s get started with the climb.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and I’ve been desperate before… so let me share with you some of my “measures”.
First, let’s understand that what people usually mistake for “fortune” has absolutely nothing to do with someone else’s alarm clock going off 15 minutes earlier than their’s their whole life. But… a work ethic does. And, a work ethic is nothing more than a personal decision to work… every single moment that you’re “working”. It is simply doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not. This can apply to sports, health, weight loss… and even JOBS. So, what exactly needs to be done? … MORE. You see, the vast majority of people aren’t even doing the REQUIRED amount of work. Don’t believe me? Try going into a store that closes at 8PM at 7:59PM and tell me what you find. Try getting the same service at 7:59PM that you would receive at 12 noon… that is, if the door is even still unlocked!! Try getting a table at a restaurant that advertises being open until midnight at 11:59PM. That, unfortunately, is the majority. And, the very slim MINORITY are only doing the bare minimum. But, only the truly “elite” are returning just a little bit more than what was asked. These are the people that possess “fortune”, and it wouldn’t have fit inside their parents safety deposit box anyway. The “fortunate” didn’t find their fortune in their parent’s will after they died. It was just something that they started receiving, bit by bit, from the day they were born, whether the parents were wealthy, just getting by, or completely impoverished. And THAT check will cash, and it will keep cashing… every single day of their lives. The trick is to leave THAT “check” for our children… and not just the “stuff”.
“In a world full of people, only some want to fly… isn’t that crazy?” -Seal
No wealth can ever exist without it’s cost, just like no happiness can ever exist without it’s woe.
Here’s a little trick to help you get any job, that you have both the desire and ability to adequately perform. On your first interview, look your future employer in the eyes and tell him/her with conviction, the following:
“If given the opportunity, I promise you that I will do these four things every single day while under your employ:
I will show up early,
I will stay late,
I will volunteer for all the hard stuff,
and I will give you $20 of value for every $10 you pay me”.
This will immediately and unequivocally separate you from the pack that is already asking about vacation time. And trust me, the vast majority are already asking about what THEY will receive, and not what they can offer. If you are honest in your delivery, and are truly willing to execute on your promise, then you will not only get the job, but you will RAPIDLY rise through the ranks all the way to the “finger pointed fortunate” very quickly. In the odd case that you aren’t offered the job on the spot, do the following. Take out your checkbook (yes, you need an old-school checkbook for this) and write two checks, one for the amount that you would make in a month if you were to get the job, and one for half that amount. Ask your future employer to name his favorite charity and make the two checks out to that organization and then hand them to him. Tell your employer to hold on to those two checks and to hire you for a month. Then, if he’s not completely blown away by your performance, he can make a charitable donation from your checking account for his entire loss. And even if he decides that you are a wonderful addition to the company and decides to keep you, then he can still deposit the smaller check and you will get by for the initial month on 1/2 your normal salary. Tell him/her that that’s how much you believe in yourself… that you’re willing to potentially work for free just to display your worth. I don’t know an employer that would deny a qualified employee that approached them with that offer.
And yes, it was designed by someone desperate. And it was even field tested… out of “necessity”. So, about that 686. … Six hundred and eighty six was the sum total number of dollars I had to my entire name when I first drove out to Los Angeles from Houston twenty years ago. But bank accounts aren’t fortune indicators. Not one person ever pointed me out in a crowd as one of the “fortunate”, because they just didn’t know where to look. I knew I had it, regardless of how little I had in my pockets. My parents gave it to me. And it’ll always beat the “stuff”.
‘Stuff”… Hell, that’s what safety deposit boxes are for. Fortune is FAR too precious for that nonsense. Fortune is the REAL value, because it has the ability to over-deliver… over, and over, and over again. “The stuff”, as my Grandaddy used to say, “Hell, that crap’s only glitter!”
Goodnight, God bless, and SHINE… until tomorrow!!!! -Sean Patrick Flanery