You’ve become what you dreamed of. Good for you. Fist bump! Your hard work, dedication, and commitment have driven you to achieve your career goals. Let’s take a look at what’s next. Your journey isn’t over yet.
Satisfied or Still Hungry?
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Remember the first scent of food as it was prepared? For me, it’s the aroma of rolls in the oven that kindles my hunger. Now, remember the complete lack of hunger you felt after the second piece of pie? Your hunger was gone. It was replaced with the feeling of being completely satisfied; maybe a little stuffed.
Compare yesterday’s feeling of hunger to that of being satisfied after the feast. In less than an hour, your hunger was gone. The realization of your success may have the same effect. Unless you make the commitment to sustain and increase your professional abilities, you may lose the energy that brought you daily satisfaction before.
Recognizing your success is the feast. What you contribute throughout the rest of your career is the turkey sandwich, turkey soup, and turkey surprise. Now is the time to leverage and multiply what you gained from your career.
Do you remember your youthful, burning hunger to become someone significant in our industry? Many let that desire slip away as life takes its toll on their dream and they slide into complacency.
You saw a bigger picture and developed habits to grow and stretch beyond the rest; you persisted. While each of us has our own definition of success, achieving it required constant learning, working, and struggling. Doing these things kept you hungry.
The Thanksgiving feast is terrific; but what about a late-night snack of a fresh roll with room temperature turkey, a little mayo, red onion, and fresh cracked black pepper? This reinvigoration of your hunger will help drive you to the next stage. Hopefully you’ll remain hungry throughout your career.
In other words, recognizing your success is the feast. What you contribute throughout the rest of your career is the turkey sandwich, turkey soup, and turkey surprise. Now is the time to leverage and multiply what you gained from your career.
Fork in the Road, or End of the Road?
Success in your career may be recognized in the form of an award, peer approval, or completing a milestone. At this point, you will find yourself at a fork in the road. One fork represents a continuing opportunity. The other represents complacency.
Consider choosing the fork that has the potential to catapult you far beyond the recognition you previously achieved.
The other fork makes it easy to believe you have arrived because of your success. That usually leads to coasting downhill toward the end of your career. If you’ve seen this in others, you may notice certain characteristics creep into their lives: Coasting through the rest of their career requires no decision at all. They simply stop doing the things that made them successful.
While they seek to rest on their laurels, deep down they miss the sense of contribution to others. To defend their choice, you may see an element of pride as they constantly look back to see advancement, instead of moving forward. Pride does precede the fall. Careers that follow pride’s path usually do not end well.
Your choice to continue and increase your development and contribution must be very intentional. Consciously choose to learn and create. New and old technology appears within our industry weekly. Your ability to digest and apply that knowledge maybe 10 times the speed of those who lack your experience.
Carefully assess the forks in the road and choose wisely. Be intentional as you decide on the next adventure designed to add to your success. Is there an end to learning and contributing?
Mentor and Teach
Success means you’re equipped with what you need to accomplish more. One way to expand your knowledge and increase career satisfaction is to mentor and teach others.
Teaching opportunities are available to anyone who has experienced any degree of success. One method to reinforce new knowledge is to immediately teach it to someone else.
Most often mentoring can be done in your current position in your company. Look for and mentor less experienced associates who have fire in their bellies. Find the hungry ones and feed them. You have the knowledge and experience to lead, so do it.
You may or may not have the title that formally accompanies the role of mentor and teacher. As you try to develop your ability, opportunities to mentor and teach will soon arrive along with the opportunity for more of it.
When you teach others to perform a skill, they will remember you throughout their careers as they use it.
You can mentor and teach in the field, or before and after work. All technicians, installers, office staff, salespeople, managers, and owners have the need to grow and improve. You have the know-how and can help. Teaching may be one-on-one or in a formal classroom setting. Decide how you can best contribute and plan to do so.
Never forget the value of teaching at the moment an opportunity arises. These situations often have the highest impact on others.
That’s up to you. If ongoing growth and advancement are in your plans, your path will continue to include rewards and satisfaction while you continue to advance your career.
You may be offered opportunities to participate in training the industry outside or in addition to your current position. As you train others using what you know, your knowledge multiplies. You learn the most when you teach, is a little-understood secret the masters know.
Some who taste success arrogantly hold themselves as all-knowing. Avoid this curse at any cost. You may suffer from it if you have stopped studying. As you work and mentor, a constant flow of questions will come to you. Keep a list of subjects to study and learn regularly. Dedicate time for daily study.
Stay hungry, choose the best fork in your road ahead, mentor and teach, set and achieve new goals, decide and excel in your next adventure beyond your present level of success.
Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute, Inc., an HVAC-based training company and membership organization. If you have an interest in professional training as one of your next steps, contact Doc at [email protected] or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, articles, and downloads.