This classic “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” first aired in 1964 and introduced us to Hermey, the elf who wants to be a dentist:
Later on, Hermey lands on the Island of Misfit Toys. The island’s misfits — a Charlie-in-the-Box, a bird that swims, a cowboy who rides an ostrich — also don’t match up with the expectations we have for them.
Of course, the show ends on a happy note, and I suppose the message of the Island of Misfit Toys and of Hermey the Elf / Dentist is that we’re all a fit someplace.
And it’s the same for your career.
I can’t tell you how many times my best advice for someone seeking career guidance has been to ask “what do you want to do?” followed by “well, why don’t you go do that?”
More often than not, they know what they want to do… just like Hermey the Elf, they already know what would make them happier.
So you’d think it would be easy.
But when I ask “why don’t you do that”, I’ll hear a litany of reasons without rationale… “my family doesn’t think it’s prestigious enough…”, “well, I could never just get up and move like that…”, or “I don’t know what people would think of me if I did that…”
And this is the hard part, because the most difficult opponent you’ll face in your career is yourself.
Your reasons why you shouldn’t even try.
And it’s conquering yourself, and overcoming your doubts, and beating your own fears and anxieties and limitations, that will lead you to having the career and life that you deserve.
So in response to each reason why you can’t do it, ask the person in the mirror and reply:
“That doesn’t matter, go do what you want.”, or…
“That’s not really true, why don’t you go do what you want?”, or…
“Ok, but if you’ve only got a few decades left on this earth, why not go do what you want?”
Over and over and over.
In most cases, you’ll eventually convince yourself.
And you can finally become the dentist you’ve always wanted to be… instead of staying an elf.
Have a terrific Christmas week, Readers!
I’m rooting for you.
p.s. Share your thoughts on this article on “Rooting For You”, my updated blog, here.
More from Ladders
- 4 steps to becoming a powerhouse public speaker
- Chronic procrastination: 5 weird (but effective) ways you can conquer it
- The lessons most new grads have to learn in their first jobs
- Eight great tricks for reading people’s body language
- How to keep going and find your breakthrough when it feels impossible