This is a question we have all contemplated at some point in our lives. Perhaps, we still do. What do we do to “figure it out?” Who do we ask for help? I recall a conversation I had with my stepfather years ago.
It was a cool spring day, in April. My stepfather David and I sat outside on the deck of his hillside home in West Marin beneath old oaks and towering pines, talking about my future.
I don’t recall how the conversation started, but I do remember feeling my heart thump in my chest because at that point, I felt as if I should know what career to pursue but had no real clue. I had never even written a resume.
I was lost.
“Congratulations!” he started. “You’re graduating and you’re going to get married. That’s terrific! Now what do you think you want to be when you grow up? What kind of job do you want?” Immediately I felt my gut tighten and stammered a feeble reply. “I don’t know, that’s why I am here.” He continued trying to get me to open up, to say what I wanted. I grew frustrated because he wasn’t telling me what I should do. Instead, he was trying to guide me to figure it out for myself.
David, perhaps sensing my trepidation, told me something I will never forget. He said, “You are one of the most courageous people I know.”
Surprised, I leaned back in my chair. “What do you mean?” I asked.
“You not only found the courage to stop drinking at a young age, but you have the grit and determination to finish school and start a family at the same time. That takes guts.” For the next hour or so, I asked him more relevant questions to zero in on what I might or might not like in a career. He also assured me that no career decisions are final. That it is perfectly normal and acceptable, even advantageous, for people to change jobs. He added, “Most people work for six or seven different employers in their lifetimes.” With his coaching, I decided to pursue a career in media sales. Next, he helped me come up with a game plan.
That meeting took place nearly thirty years ago. I have used those lessons numerous times since. In fact, I can hear David’s deep powerful encouraging voice in my head as I continue to grapple with my own lack of confidence as an author: “It sounds to me like you already know what you want to write about. I say, go for it!”
The above is an excerpt from my latest book, Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence which releases on August 1st.
Over the next two weeks, I will share confidence-building insights gleaned from several impactful conversations I’ve had with influential leaders included in the book. In particular, Kevin Miller (“serial entrepreneur”, podcaster, and host of the popular Ziglar show with over 250 Million downloads worldwide), Steve Lavin, Collegiate Basketball Coach and broadcaster, and Aaron Locks, CEO and Founder of National Academy of Athletics who has helped more than 300k kids in 131 cities across the United States become more confident and learn to live by his motto, “Play Hard – Have Fun.”
I look forward to getting to connect with you and hope that what I share will strike a chord and inspire you to find your own Ten Seconds of Boldness to pursue the life you want to live.
You can find me at shawnlangwell.com