During a meeting with my manager a few years ago, I complained about a problem.
I worked in the credit card division of a major bank. It was well understood, if you wanted to move up within the company, you had to work in a branch first. Once you got your foot in at the branch, it seemed like the possibilities were endless. However, working in the credit card division meant nothing to branch managers – you may as well have been working for another company. Nearly everybody (myself included) tried to make that transition, but to no avail.
“Why is it so difficult to get a job with the branch?” I lamented.
My manager, very wisely, asked me, “What have you done to get a job with the branch?”
I immediately said, “I have been applying for years!”
He then asked again, “Okay, but what have you done?”
I responded simply, “I emailed my résumé.”
My manager then asked, “Okay, what else have you done?”
Feeling a little foolish now, I replied, “Aside from that, I haven’t done anything.”
My manager then said, “Just emailing your résumé isn’t good enough. Have you went down to the branch and introduced yourself? Have you attended one of our job-shadowing programs? Have you taken the Canadian Securities Course? Have you attended any company events where you could potentially meet people that work in the branch? Have you done any training workshops?”
I bowed my head in shame and said ‘no’ to each of them.
He then asked, “You don’t really want to work in the branch do you?”
I said, “No, I want to be a writer.”
He then said – and I will never forget this –, “The only reason you don’t have a job at the branch right now, is because you don’t want it badly enough.”
With that piece of wisdom, he sent me on my way. That was over two years ago, but I have never forgotten that message. It is so simple, so obvious, and applies to almost every situation, yet so few act on it. If you are not where you want to be in life, it’s because you didn’t want it badly enough. If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to get it.
People’s lives are wrought with disappointment and failure. To protect our ego, we usually find someone or something to blame, anything that will take the blame away from ourselves. So if you are not happy with your station in life, ask yourself how badly you want something. How many hours of practice are you willing to do? How hard are you willing to work? To what lengths are you willing to go? Whatever line in the sand you draw, that is the reason you are not where you want to be. The people who have the job that you want, or have the talent you desire, were willing to go beyond the point you were willing to go.
If you want something, you have to go get it. If you don’t, people are going to assume that you don’t really want it.
This is true in a lot of situations. How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m just waiting for a good girl, bro” or “How come I can’t find a good guy?” The reason is simple, you may not be “good” yourself. Are you the type of person that would attract a good guy or girl? If not, you have some work to do – nobody is going to hand you a thing.
In life you get what you deserve. It’s not all about getting stuff you want either, sometimes it’s about what you give. If you want something badly enough (and perhaps don’t deserve it) then ask yourself, ‘What do I need to do, to get where I want to be?’