Don’t Stop Believin’. Embrace the Journey. | A Career Long-View

Are you in your dream job? A lucky few understand from an early age what they were born to do. Then there’s the rest of us who are always looking.

Our dream job search is often an “I’ll know it when I get it” journey. The typical outcome is captured in these lyrics in the hit song, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” by the American rock band, Journey: 


“Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on”

This reality makes our career journey difficult, frustrating, and disquieting as we scramble to find a job that, at least, satisfies us.

Along the way, we work hard to meet expectations so we can advance. But, in the end, we still sense that the job isn’t what we’re supposed to be doing. Ugh!

 Know what’s in your way. 

Journey’s song, “Don’t Stop Believin,” became the top-selling catalog track in iTunes history and the band’s highest-charting U.S. hit for a reason. The message in the chorus is inspiring advice to everyone on a quest:

“Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’”

A “dream job” doesn’t just appear in your path. You have get ready to receive it by first conquering the little things in your way. You may be the biggest of those little things. I certainly was.

As you know, I started out teaching high school. (In those days, career choices for girls were pretty much nursing, secretarial, and teaching.)

Teaching was not my dream job but I worked hard at it.  Deep down I knew that:

  • I had something else in me to do but I didn’t know what
  • I was committed to discovering what I was capable of doing
  • I was willing to take some career chances

My journey, perhaps like yours, was about self-discovery first, then job accomplishments, and then a bona fide career.

When I look back, I remember how smart I thought I was until I got smacked in the face with my own naiveté.

Here’s what I needed to focus on: (Follow the links for some amazing stories about what other “regular people” have done.) 

  • Overcoming my self-limiting beliefsI had to resist doubts about the wisdom of leaving a “safe” teaching job for the “big bad” corporation when so many people who loved me told me I was making a big mistake.
  • Increasing my capabilities and experiencesI had to learn about the energy industry and corporate management; then the horseracing industry and farm management; and finally small business ownership and home office management.
  • Getting more done and taking on new challengesI had to develop cross-functional leadership skills, political savvy, and the ability to manage change on a large scale.
  • Becoming comfortable being my authentic selfI had to sustain the courage to stand firm for what I believed was right and fair, consistently express my care and concern for the people around me, and allow my personality to show.
  • Finding my way through the obstaclesI had to learn to ask for help, develop trusted and collaborative relationships, and develop a nose for the “dirty tricks” that others might try to play 

Everyone’s journey ultimately lands them somewhere. In time I realized that my dream job was work that gave the freedom to call the shots, make the rules, pick my spots, and generate enough revenue to live quietly. That’s where I am today. But it took a while to get here.

Don’t stop believing’. 

You are the key to your success, not luck or your boss or your company. How you see yourself and believe in your ability to turn your capabilities into a career that makes a difference will determine the outcome.

At the very least you need to keep believin’ in yourself even when you don’t know if anyone else does.

When I sign books, I often write: Stay Committed. Keep Reaching. It’s what we all need to do. And it still applies to me.

Photo from h.koppdelaney via Flickr