The best career advice I ever received was: Be Walmart.
At the time, I had started to work for a company doing retail marketing. One of its clients’ products were being sold at Walmart, amongst other locations. In an effort to motivate and excite me to the opportunity at hand, my supervisor encouraged me to treat the business as my own. Live and breathe the retailers, I was told. Be Walmart.
Two words sandwiched together never made me more uncomfortable.
Somewhere deep inside my soul, I knew this job was not fulfilling. It was becoming more difficult to put in the hours. I was selling to the masses, and while I humbly mean no disrespect to Walmart or its affiliates, it is not my life’s purpose to sell products to its clientele.
I was beginning to become painfully aware of how stressed and unhappy everyone was in this environment. They had families they’d often spend time away from in order to “Be Walmart”. I certainly believe in performing to the best of your abilities, but making a sacrifice where your family was the trade off didn’t seem worth it to me. It became crystal clear during that experience that I had been working towards building someone else's empire, and I didn't even believe in what it stood for. Needless to say the job didn’t work out, but I am sincerely grateful for the experience as these two words concretely gave me perspective. I now know what I should be doing with my time, life force and talent.
None of us should be Walmart, unless Walmart lights our soul on fire.
Often times, it takes a terrible experience to jolt us into our path. Looking back, I had been receiving subtle hints for years that I should have been following my passion. However, it took the lousy situation of this job to bring full awareness and energy to my purpose and begin living a life outside of the tireless grind.
Following your dream, no matter what the temporary sacrifices are, is considered a cliched idea in our culture when it should be taken more seriously. As I started to do the math of what I was spending my time and energy on, I found it harder and harder to work for this retail marketing company. Most of my days, the bright and sunny parts, which could be spent working towards something I believe in, were spent in a cold office surrounded by people with stressful energies.When a job which at best you enjoy, but by no means is your purpose, begins to consume so many hours of your life that you have little room to pursue your passion, it’s time to seriously reconsider it. Is it really worth putting all your time and effort into a job that was something you convinced yourself you needed to do in the meantime?
Please don’t misunderstand me, if making a living off your passion is not a current possibility, then of course continue to work. Approach any role you commit your talents to with your best effort. The trick here is in not getting too comfortable that you forget about the importance of your purpose. Don’t get consumed by something that should be temporary. Even if you have just a few hours a week to further your passion, do it.
The instant you decide to pursue your dream and make decisions that support it, the universe takes it from there. Every conscious choice made in that direction, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is met with positivity. The right books fall off the shelf, the right people bump into you and your efforts are met with a guiding force moving you towards the life you are meant to live.