Navigating the land of opportunity

Over Thanksgiving, Mike + I were talking to Lu about her future. We’ve always encouraged her to dream big, go after what makes her happy and generates a decent income to support herself. Then we were talking to some friends and I realized some folks just don’t really know how to do this. It sounds so simple, but there is a lot of soul searching and hard work involved.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we know what’s best for you. We just know what works/ed for us and I want to share our personal experiences with you. We genuinely like to help folks who want to help themselves. We have the same 24 hours every day just like everyone else.

We have come a long way, you may read this post I wrote earlier this year to get a feel for how our choices have shaped our lives today. Spoiler alert: It was 100% PURE, HARD WORK. There were no handouts, just hard work and folks who helped us help ourselves. So, I feel like this post is our way of paying it forward.

I grew up in the ghetto in Fresno, CA. I was literally ghetto fabulous. My parents struggled every day to put food on the table, keep a roof over our heads. Sometimes we couldn’t afford new school clothes or shoes, but we always had enough. When I look back now, I thought everyone had to constantly struggle and that was just part of life.

The truth is that the need to struggle goes away with making hard choices and harder work.


Here are a few ideas:

  • Before you do anything, go to the Mike RoweWORKS site and read this. Take your time, I’ll wait.

    “The goal of Profoundly Disconnected® is to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. The Skills Gap is here, and if we don’t close it, it’ll swallow us all.” – Mike RoweWORKS website

    Are you back? Cool!

  • Take what you just read and apply it to your life. That’s an excellent start.
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to college, but it’s not for everyone. I don’t have a college degree nor do I wish to obtain one. But I am genuinely happy with my job. It’s something I am passionate about and I make more than a lot of college educated folks. The key here is happiness and everything else falls into place.
  • It’s never too late for a career change. Mike started a brand new career at the age of 42 and is happier than ever. It was not an easy transition. It took a couple years and a lot of disappointment but he NEVER gave up.
  • Take the crappiest job if you have to. You’re not better than any job. Make it appear glamorous, be happy about it, work you ass off knowing it is a stepping stone closer to your goal. My first job was mopping floors at McDonalds. I was 16 and happy to be making a little income and you can bet those floors were spotless. Bottom line, find any job and start working. Then work on getting promotes or finding a better job.
  • Stop thinking the world owes you. With that mentality you are doomed for failure. Take responsibility for yourself and work for what you want.rp_2014-11-03-15.19.10-610x343.jpg
  • Don’t be afraid to relocate. Friends + family are a big part of our lives. I totally get it, but don’t hold yourself back because of them. Of course there are exceptions, but think about the big picture and if it makes sense go for it.
  • Stop making excuses for why you can’t. This is a no brainer for me, but I am surprised at how often I hear excuse after excuse.richkidrags
  • If your dream job doesn’t exist, don’t be afraid to create it. A friend of mine who did my hair when I lived back home is crazy talented and recently launched her own brand. She became a mom and decided to become an entrepreneur. Again! She came up with a design, tried it out on her kiddos, developed a super cute website, snapped some amazing pictures of the product in use and marketed it on social media. And boom, she is now a 2 time business owner. (She still does hair.)

My best advice is to WORK HARD and don’t stop until you are happy & passionate about your life. Realize it may take months or years to get there, but it is SO worth the effort.

Ha and you expected to come to SCB to read something dumb or some vague Elf movie reference! Sorry, I’ll come up with something idiotic and mind numbing to write about tomorrow. Deal?

Any other tips?

Share your struggles + success stories. I would LOVE to hear them.


22 Comments on “Navigating the land of opportunity

  1. as someone planning to make a major life change in the coming year, I completely agree with your encouragements! 🙂

  2. Awesome post! So may great points. Now….let hope gazillions of people read it and take heed.

  3. I love it. I work so hard, and budget so carefully in the belief that my family will be wildly successful. Cannot wait to reap the benefits of that work!

  4. Hugs for this post. Thank you for the encouragement. Change is so scary and failure when it comes to career is often scarier. But you are right, a 4 year degree doing something you hate isn’t living. Doing something you love and are passionate about just sounds so freaking awesome! Thanks for the encouraging words!

  5. My dad and grandpa have a saying for hard work- to be successful you have to do things other people aren’t willing to do. Whether this means going to college (or not), working late, getting a second job, whatever- if you do the things others brush off, you’ll ultimately find success.

  6. I love this post!!! We have told our boys for years that they are capable of doing anything but the main goal is to find something you love and make it work for you!!

  7. I love your attitude (consistently on this kind of thing and pretty much everything else) and I love this post! So. freakin’. true. Way to go for saying this 🙂

  8. Love this post and Mike Rowe!

    Growing up, we didn’t have much money either. I didn’t always have new school clothes, but we always had food on the table. My dad worked two jobs to make sure we were taken care of. My first job was at Mickey D’s, too! 🙂 I don’t have a college degree either, and I’m okay with that. I did attempt to go in my mid-twenties, but after one semester, I just knew it wasn’t for me.

    So many kids these days seem to have such a sense of entitlement. The whole “everyone gets a trophy” thing drives me nuts! I was taught that you worked to get the things you wanted in life. If you didn’t win, you didn’t get a trophy. That way, you learned to work harder to be better next time.

    • You nailed it. That whole trophy or everyone gets a participation ribbon thing drives me nuts too. There’s no sense of loosing any more, do why work harder to do better?

  9. LOVE this. I am currently going back to school to change careers, and it is going to take me a few years which is a little discouraging. But, I’m going to do it. I have a bit of a different perspective about the college degree…I would love to change jobs and work part-time while going to school. Maybe as a receptionist/AA position or anything really. But I’m so overqualified no one will even consider me. So that can be extremely frustrating…I feel like I’m stuck just because I have a master’s degree.

  10. Pingback: Links I Love 12.07.14 | A Couple of Dashes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *