Getting to WIN: Discovering your dream and going after it.

Lots of people are out of work right now. According to most polls, and depending on the area in which you live in, around 9% or more. People are gathering in Wall Street and politicians are ensuring that a jobs plan of some sort are integral to their campaigns. It’s no secret: jobs are scarce.

Or are they? Where I live, in the midwest, I see Now Hiring signs everywhere. Granted, a lot of them are for restaurants or gas stations or other venues outside your normal 9-5 office job, but it proves that this whole “There are no jobs” excuse is completely false over here. I think a larger part of the problem falls into two things, and both of them have to do with a single dilemma: vision.

Long-term vision

Remember in second grade, where you stood up and told everyone what you wanted to be when you grew up? When I was a kid, I wanted to be a police officer. My days were spent largely engrossed in comic books and Batman cartoons, and while I knew even as a second-grader that I couldn’t grow up to be a super-hero, I still liked the idea of being able to help people and save the day, so becoming a cop seemed to be the logical choice.

Like most of you, where I am now is not where I dreamed I’d be at second grade. The difference is, I’m okay with that. I’m still finding a way to fuel my passion for helping others, even though I’m not wearing a badge. I have never allowed that vision I had as a tyke to dissipate.

I really believe that’s largely where the problem lies with so many of our out-of-work citizens that will tell you they are “in between jobs at the moment”. They have no vision. They aren’t sure what they want to be when they grow up, and consequently, they have very little direction in their lives towards any sort of goal. It’s why you’ll often see them going after the latest and greatest movement of the moment or getting into trouble, because they have no vision.

In his book Quitter: Closing the gap between your day job and dream job, Jon Acuff quotes from a magazine article about actor Ryan Gosling who, after the success of The Notebook got a job making sandwiches in a deli. His reason? He didn’t want to end up without any vision from lack of just working. He said that the problem with Hollywood is that people don’t work. They make a good movie or two and then they get into drugs. He submitted that the world would be a much better place if “people had a pile of rocks in their backyard and just moved them from one place to another.”

Short-term vision

In other words, work will keep you going, even when your vision is blurred. I learned this myself last year. In June of 2010, I lost my full-time job and took the opportunity to try to get Rocket No. 9 into my full-time gig. A major problem was, I didn’t have the self-discipline to get up and hustle like I should have and next thing you know, we were having some serious financial problems and my marriage was stressing pretty badly. So, I went and got a job. At a video store. Working nights. My responsibility to my family forced me to apparently put my dream on hold for awhile.

The kicker? Within 90 days of getting that job, I had another one, full-time, making good money, doing what I love. And Rocket No. 9 is still alive and kicking, and in fact, is doing better than it was when I was doing it full-time. I’m convinced this is because I did what I needed to do to strengthen my vision with work. Even though it wasn’t work related to my vision, it allowed me to keep going and making progress.

If you’re one of the people in desperate need of a job, go get one. Even if it means humbling yourself and getting something you’re over-qualified for. Maybe you can even find an internship doing something you really enjoy. I’m confident that as you step out and begin to do something with your hands, you’ll see your own vision gain some clarity and give you direction in your life.

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