For those of you that don’t know me, I started Queen City Media 3 years ago here in Buffalo, NY with our other founding partner, Kevin. Our idea was born out of necessity but quickly turned into something that we love doing. I won’t bore you with a bio or the nitty-gritty details of QCM’s growth but I do want to tell you about a very important lesson I learned along the way.
Stop Complaining and Start Doing
When browsing your preferred social media timeline, you will likely see the following posts:
Ugh, all of my shows are on tonight, there’s not enough time to watch them all!
Washed my car, went to the gym and did my laundry…. exhausted!
More importantly, you’ll see:
I hate my job!
I need to find a different job ASAP!
For many of you, these may be coming from your own newsfeed. I want to challenge these notions from a personal perspective. I have held hourly jobs in a number of retail/services industries and I haven’t been happy in any of the positions. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to “Do what you love” or “Quit your job if you’re unhappy”. What I am going to tell you is to evaluate your life and decide what really matters to you.
Stop Watching Lost
Advice from one of the most influential people in my professional career, Gary Vaynerchuk: this is something that I’ve taken to heart and, has helped me grow as both a professional and more importantly, a person.
This is what I mean when I say stop doing what you like. TV shows and movies are great and it is important to take the time to “stop and smell the roses” but we only have 24 hours to work with each day. If you are struggling to reach the goals you have set for your life, take a minute to determine if you are really working as hard as you can to get where you want to be.
We often talk about how busy we are with tasks like laundry and going to the gym. The fact of the matter is: if you properly manage your time you will find a way to put your goals first. This often comes with sacrifice. You may have to pass up on a social invitation; you might have to sleep a little less. Kevin and I went through a stretch of what many consider to be unhealthy sleep habits but I wouldn’t even consider trading my current position for a few extra hours in bed.
Focus on your strengths
From the time we are young, we are constantly told that we can do anything; that we can improve our weaknesses with time. While being well-rounded is important, we need to spend time becoming an expert. Let’s face it, some of us will never make the NFL, not all of us will paint a masterpiece, many of us will never win a race. On the contrary, we’re all good at something and once we find that talent, we should run with it.
As high school students planning for our future, we place too much focus on salary-based career targets. Everybody knows that “money can’t buy happiness” yet we ignore what we are passionate about and instead set our sights on a dollar amount. Why not spend some time looking introspectively at our skill set and the parts of our lives that motivate us? Once you truly find the passion of your life, figure out a way to make it happen.
Be Realistic When Setting Goals
As much as I wish it were the case, we can’t just pick our favorite hobby and turn it into a career. For example: skipping rocks may be fun but is there a market for it? It is up to you to funnel your skills and passion into a viable career.
In my case I’ve always enjoyed learning about people and how they communicate. As a kid, I was often commended for being empathetic. I realized that I just really enjoyed learning what makes people tick and what causes reactions (both positive and negative) in social situations. Through my schooling I realized that neither psychology nor sociology were meant for me as a career but that I could apply those observations to the business world. Marketing is about personal interactions; it is executed as a business tactic but at it’s core, marketing is about people communicating with people.
I implore you to find your calling, WORK AT IT, and build the life that you have always wanted. I turned my interest in personalities and behavior into a career in marketing, design and social media. It took countless mistakes, a few years of sacrifice but looking back I can say without hesitation that it has all been worth it. Put aside a few hours this week and figure out what you really WANT from your life.
Have you set goals for yourself? I would love to hear about your plans and whether you have reached them. Let me know in the comments below!