In a tough job market we all want an edge. In a good job market we still want an edge since we want the best jobs. Either way we're all looking for that edge, that advantage, that something that'll give us a leg up to get the job, client, and career we're looking for.
It's probably why you're here reading this now.
We all know the standard things we're supposed to do – get educated, network, etc. We know all the edges we're supposed to have (even if we don't actually use them or acquire them). So I'd like to talk about one that is very important, one that you may or may not have, but may not be aware of.
Best of all it's an edge that's very powerful.
It's the ability to sacrifice. The ability to give things up for another goal, for another reason, or a cause. It's that ability to give up something important for something else.
Sacrifice seems to be a dirty word to too many people. We don't want to give things up – and we feel we've given up enough. We don't want to give things up with an ill-defined group of other people don't have to give things up. We view sacrifice as a kind of insult to us, really. Why should we have to give things up.
I don't view it that way. I view sacrifice as a form of transformation, and a form of transformation vital to your career.
When I give up time playing video games to get a certification, I transform that time from recreation to progress. When you give up a chunk of your savings to get an expensive graphics program to use, you turn that vacation money into the foundation of a new business or a certification. When someone takes a lousy job in order to have better opportunities later they sacrifice dignity for eventual progress.
Sacrifice is an engine of transformation. It's not turning lead into gold, but silver into gold, turning something we like and value into something we like and value more, even if it takes time.
Sacrifice can be a powerful career edge:
- Can the money you're spending now be re-directed to meet larger career and life goals?
- Can the time you spend be spent on something else, or spent differently?
- Could you move elsewhere for more opportunities, even though you'd have to give up some things (like a larger apartment)?
- Can you get a dealer's table at a convention, turning a vacation into a career move?
Every sacrifice you make can move you closer to your goals – you just need to see it differently.
So here's what I want you to do: Sit down and look at your career goals an ask yourself two questions:
- What could you do in your life to change your habits, spend money differently, or use time differently to reach those goals. Don't think of it as sacrifice, think of it as transformation – and what you really want.
- What could you "re-purpose" in your life to reach your goals – turning a con visit to a business trip, turn your "me" time into a visit to a networking group, etc.
When you realize sacrifice is about transformation, not giving up, you see a whole lot more opportunities – and have a special edge in your life. You can change one part of your life into something else because you can give it up.
– Steven Savage