What’s Next for You?

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Used to be that when you found what you did in life, that was that.  The cobbler was a cobbler until he died.  The blacksmith was a blacksmith, the engineer was an engineer, the doctor was a doctor – all until they retired or died.  Well, it’s just not that way anymore.

Some years ago, I knew somebody who was a great electrical engineer.  He was a whiz at circuit design and worked for a company around Chicago that designed and built small controllers.  One day I met up with him and he told me he was back in school.  I assumed he was going for his masters in EE.

Quite the contrary, he was in pre-med and had already arranged for an internship at a hospital across the country.  Wait, what?  No, seriously – what are you up to, I asked.  That was it – he was serious, and he actually did it.  Years later I heard from him and he was a surgeon somewhere out west.

You see, something called to him and he acted on it.  He didn’t allow himself to be pigeon-holed into being an engineer forever, even though he excelled at it.  As a surgeon, the hours were long, the disappointments huge, but the successes were massive – for him.  And if you think about it, those two worlds are not that far apart.  He spent a lot of time diagnosing and fixing circuit problems before.

What really struck me was the conversation he had around money.  It figured somewhere near the bottom of the list for him; his happiness was up at the top, and he was fully prepared to take a position at a rural hospital in a poor area of the country or even practice in a far-away land where money was no object because there really wasn’t much.  And still he would survive – probably thrive – on his joy.

What about you?  Do you feel stuck where you are?  Think that you’ve invested too much educational or life capital in what you’re doing to make a change?  Reconsider that position.  Open your mind to the wild possibilities that exist that you might like to do.  I did it, and I’m having fun.

I started out as an electrical engineer myself, with a specialty in software development.  I did some hardware work, even some power systems work, but gravitated toward software.  This eventually led me to starting a software company with 2 other guys and we thrived during the internet boom time.

While at that company, I went to a local fitness center to stay healthy, and became fascinated with this new indoor cycling craze called “Spinning”.  Somehow, I found myself becoming an instructor in this national program, then really got into outdoor cycling.  Loved it, had no idea where it would take me.

I loved the notion of cycling and teaching others to do it safely and well, so I kept learning and growing in the practice until eventually becoming a USA Cycling Coach, a division of USOC, the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs.  While coaching with the U.S. Youth Triathlon Team, I met lots of new people, and the owner of that team and I became good friends.  He was a real estate investor.

Oh, yes – I still had my day job at the company I started, it just didn’t involve the technical heads-down work anymore, so I had lots of time to pursue this new passion.  Flying all over the country with the kids’ team and helping to grow a group that eventually because the U.S. National Champions. Eventually a few went on to be world champions, and one competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics.  I helped do that.

What I found is that I absolutely love coaching.  So, as I grew in this new real estate investor practice, getting educated, doing deals, and still working the tech side, I saw that I loved showing others how to do that and, for some, how to ride a bike efficiently.  It’s a long ride from circuit analysis.

What about you?  What do you love?  What could you do, WOULD you do if you didn’t worry about the money?  Consider it, because there’s an old saying: “Do what you love, and the money will follow.”  I can tell you that this is true.  You just have to step off the curb.



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