Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Chris O’Byrne from Jetlaunch.
In my last post, I talked about my new sales position at a car dealership. I ended up staying there for only one month, and while I did gain a little useful sales training, I also found that my values and long-term goals were not aligned with this form of sales. After spending time processing my month-long experiment in car sales, I realized that I had learned far more about alignment and failure than I had about sales.
When I was young, I could work just about any job and be fine with it. As time went on, I refined my job selection through experience and advanced education. I also spent a lot of time working on self-development and spiritual growth. Changing my inner circumstances seemed much more powerful and useful than changing my outer circumstances. At some point, I ended up where I am today: working as an entrepreneur who focuses on helping people the best way I can.
Alignment is not a static state of being but a process of constant course correction. Aligning your life is like aligning your car with the highway. Even when you drive your car on a straight highway, you constantly adjust the steering wheel slightly. At no time is the steering wheel locked in one position for more than a second or two.
In life, each moment brings a new circumstance, and you must choose how you will adjust. If you decide you no longer need to adjust and you lock your steering wheel in one position, you will soon find yourself in the ditch. If, however, you have an end game in view—a roadmap—you continue to adjust for each new circumstance until you reach your goal.
Working at the car dealership was aligned with my short-term end game of gaining sales experience and getting paid for it, but it was not aligned with my long-term end game of performing “right work.” In retrospect, I probably should have done better research before starting the job, but I was told that car-sales practices had changed significantly in recent years and that the process was more about building relationships based on trust. That was true on the surface, and the people at the dealership really believed they were using a new approach to selling, but the reality was that it was the same old system.
Also, there are other ways to gain sales experience and get paid for it. For example, I have a degree in chemical engineering, and I have previously worked as a sales engineer for an international chemical company. I could find a similar position that is aligned with my sense of right work. However, this kind of job would not be aligned with other goals I have, such as being an entrepreneur and having my work be location independent.
Another mistake I made was to assume that I would be okay with temporarily setting aside my goal of being location independent. My initial thought was that I could set it aside for a year or two, but I soon realized that this was not going to work. (There was no way to know for sure until I actually tried it, so I purposely made that limiting assumption.)
What I’ve realized is that in most cases, it’s not smart to ignore your long-term end game in favor of short-term goals. Your long-term end game is your roadmap, and it should be consulted whenever you make a decision related to your goals. A short-term goal might turn out to be only a slight detour, but it could also set you on a road that leads in the opposite direction from the one that your long-term end game says you need to go in.
In the end, I had to make a course correction and resign my position at the car dealership after one month. I must admit, I initially felt like a failure, but after some reflection, I realized that every course correction could be considered a failure. And if that is true, then life consists of a series of failures, one after another. This is one of the things I consider most amazing about life:
It takes a constant stream of failures to reach success. (Click to tweet – thanks!)
My advice is to plan your overall end game in life, but be prepared to adjust as you grow in wisdom. Along the way, plan your waypoints. What is your end game for your business? What is your end game for your business this year? Really think about these questions, and form a clear mental picture of where you are headed. Be aware of the circumstances that arise in each moment, and adjust for them based on your end game, not on mere reactions to avoid pain or seek pleasure. Yes, you will experience one “failure” after another, but if you stay on the road to your end game, you will have lived a life full of success.