In the first few moments of the movie Collateral, the taxi driver, played by Jamie Foxx, tells Tom Cruise’s character: “I’m not in this for the long haul. This is just filling in—I’m putting some things together—I’m going to open my own limo service.” Cruise asks him, “How long you been doing this?” To which the taxi driver replies, “Twelve years.”
This is a classic example of how life happens. I once saw a client who had taken a temporary job at a bank. He knew that wasn’t where he wanted to be; it was just a fill-in job while he did his real job search. That was fourteen years ago. Life just happened; he got used to where he was and didn’t take enough initiative to move on to a higher level of success. I talk to people nearly every day who are “writing a book.” When I congratulate them and ask how long they’ve been working on it, it’s not unusual to hear seven years, or something along that line. My advice – throw it out. Start with a fresh new idea, map out the chapters, and put yourself on a schedule to complete it in 180 days. I once talked with a gentleman who said he had been at the same job for 24 years but he hated it. When I asked how long he had hated his job he said – “23 years and 11 months.” Are you kidding me? Why is he still there? And what compromises has he made in his health, emotional well-being, personal development and relationships to have invested that much of his time in something that’s daily draining the life from him?
Here is a step-by-step process for change (with example clarifications):
1. Clarify your current situation.
- I have been in the same job for twelve years with no change in sight.
- I detest the monotony of my job.
- I know I have skills that would be better used in another setting.
2. Seek the advice and opinions of other people.
- I will ask four or five trusted friends or professionals what they would do if they were in my situation.
- I will engage in a one-month process with a competent career coach.
- I will ask the members of my Sunday School class what they would advise.
3. Identify the alternatives.
- I could go back to school and get a degree in English Literature.
- I could create a clear focus and do a job search with a company with some advancement potential.
- I could start my own limo service.
- I could request a manager’s position with my current company.
4. Choose the best alternative.
- I will start my own limo service.
- The bar to entry is low and I’ve already talked to event planners, wedding coordinators, and prom chaperones who are eager to send me referrals.
- I’ll start with one vehicle and then add two more as business grows.
- I will have my business plan completed in the next thirty days, purchase my own vehicle in the two-week period following that, give my two weeks’ notice at that time, and be open for business sixty days from now.
The point is this: Don’t wait on perfect conditions for success to happen; just go ahead and do something.
Okay the Ferrari limo — that may be just my dream, but anything’s possible