That’s a question you probably haven’t asked yourself in a while. Or maybe you have, and if so, that’s great.
This isn’t one of those sales meetings types of questions, where the guy doing all the talking, the guy with the leased Mercedes outside and the condo in wherever and the golf stories and the overstarched white shirt and the tacky gold watch and the enormous class ring , that guy, whose incredible success in sales has led him to conduct sales seminars in stale hotel meeting rooms at the crack of dawn four days a week for the next ten years tries to sell you on the disturbing notion that you want his life.
So, no. The it in in the question isn’t money. It isn’t success. It isn’t fame and fortune. It certainly could be, but it isn’t. Not today. Not here.
The it that I am asking you about is a little more about you. About what you’re about. About your raison d’etre. Not just in the professional sense.
If you read this blog, I have to assume that you are a bit more involved with your career than punching-in every day, collecting a paycheck every so often, and doing only what you need to to keep your job and not make waves. I have to assume that you are passionate about what you do. That you can’t really separate what you do from who you are. That your career is an extension of who you are as a person. As a human being. That you’re here to create extraordinary products or campaigns, help whomever you are working for reach the next step in their evolution, and help your customers and clients live and work more productively. I have to assume that you are an agent of change. (In a positive way.)
So my question, again, is this: How badly do you want it?
How badly do you want to be working for the right people? For the right kind of company? For the right kinds of customers? How badly do you want to be the dumbest guy in the room, for a change? How badly do you want to make a difference? How badly do you want to affect the future of a company, or of an industry? How badly do you want to be challenged? How badly do you want to see your work on giant billboards and TV spots and magazine ads and showroom floors because it’s that good?
How badly do you want to be what it is that you dream of being?
Badly enough to move to a different part of the world? Badly enough to wake up at the crack of dawn every morning and brave freezing snowdrifts to get to work? Badly enough to work eighty hour weeks if you have to? Badly enough to take a huge paycut and lose great insurance benefits just to have the freedom and opportunity to make a difference and take a stab at the biggest longshot in your career?
Do you want it that badly? Or do you just like to say you do because it makes you feel all nice and fuzzy?
Just a few days ago, a handful of friends I have known for years drove down to Panama City, FL to compete in the Ironman Florida Triathlon. 2.4 miles of swimming. 112 milesof cycling. 26.2 miles of running. 17 hours maximum to complete the event. This isn’t the sort of thing you can just roll off the couch and attempt. Not if you want to reach the finish line uninjured… or at all. It takes time. It takes training. It takes dedication. It takes giving up a lot of free time and family time, and perhaps even a promotion at work to make the dream of finishing an Ironman a reality. Seven hour rides on Saturday mornings. Five hour runs on Sundays. Four to five hours of swimming wherever you can fit it during the week, between work, runs, bike rides, meals, family time, sleep, taking the dog for a walk… Training for an Ironman is almost like having a second job for six months.
How badly do you have to want to cross the finish line of an Ironman and be inducted in that elite group of athletes, to spend months, sometimes years training your body to pull, pedal and hoof itself across 140.6 miles of terrain?
How badly do you want to beat your 10K PR to get up before sunrise and run in sub-freezing temperatures every morning in the dead of winter?
How badly do you want to make that dream a reality?
Badly enough to give up your petty comforts? Badly enough to sacrifice your sausage and egg breakfasts and your morning paper?
How much harder than the other guy are you willing to train? To run? To push?
Every morning starts with a choice. Sleep an extra ten minutes, or get an early start. Brave the elements, or skip the run or ride. Go to work ready to knock the ball out of the park, or just get through the day. Continue working at a job you aren’t passionate about, or give your life and livelyhood a purpose.
The question is always this: How badly do you want it?
How badly do you want to be an Ironman? How badly do you want to beat your own record? How badly do you want to win that race? How badly do you want to be in advertising? How badly do you want to work for the company of your dreams? How badly do you want to make a difference today? How badly do you want your product or your agency to be the best in the business? How badly do you want to make every single one of your customers happy with you today? How badly do you want to have the most impecable reputation in the industry?
How badly do you want it?
How much fight do you have in you when it comes to doing all of the right things that will lead you there?
Is brand you a happy brand?
If not, what is it going to take to get things back on track?