Buried or Planted?

Yesterday I asked the question, “Are You Happy in Your Work?”

The answer must be no, because all day I was hit with frustrated feedback.

Assuming there are those of you looking longing for escape, let me remind you it’s not too late. You are not forgotten. There is still hope.

A couple years ago I sat in your chair … knowing there was more, but afraid to make the break. Thankfully, I summoned the courage and haven’t looked back. You can do the same.

In the mean time, I encourage you to think like my friend who I quoted in yesterday’s post. Seek to appreciate your position while planning your promotion.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how you can plan your promotion, but today let’s start with the other, which is often the hardest, appreciating your position.

Truthfully, when you are feeling stuck, it is difficult to appreciate anything, much less your job. But the reality is, your current role is a gift. It is either preparing you for what’s next, or causing you so much pain you will ultimately muster up the courage to move on – probably a bit of each. 

The question is, how do you appreciate a job you no longer want to have?

The answer is simple. You can either view yourself as buried, or see yourself as planted. While the circumstances are the same, the attitude is drastically different.


Buried feels hopeless. Planted embraces preparation. Buried is depressing. Planted knows peace. Buried focuses on the circumstances. Planted focuses on the future. Buried is bitter, while planted is grateful.

Please don’t give into temptation and abandon your ambition. Instead, appreciate the fact that you are employed, and like a seed planted in the ground, keep germinating. 

Seeds are a great reminder for those in vocational limbo. Even though it can’t be seen or felt, growth is happening. Eventually, a plant will mature and bear fruit. You will too. Stay the course.

Just as a seed often needs water, sunlight, and fertilizer to sprout, there are three things you need while you are waiting on your dream job.

  1. Growth. The bottom line is, you need to focus on getting better. Work on the skills you will need in your dream job while continually improving at your current job. Your capacity to grow will determine your capacity to lead. See yourself as planted in the perfect place to become a better leader. Work on your communication skills, how to work with people and resolve conflict, and how to improve your work ethic. All things you will need in your next career.
  2. Struggle. Seeds don’t become shades without struggle. They don’t even get out of the ground. Someday others will benefit from  your pain. Until then keep striving with a focus on those you will be better prepared to serve, rather than seeing yourself as buried. Trust me, learning to struggle will be worth it because it will teach you to become better at struggling. Seriously, struggling will be #1 on your job description if you ever intend to be great … even when you land your dream job.
  3. Encouragement. Honestly, I wouldn’t be where I am if it were not for a few important people who helped encourage me while I was planted. Dan Webster and Chuck Cusumano are friends who listened more than anyone should be required to. Both kept fanning the flame and challenged me to stay the course. My amazing wife also continually encouraged me. Even on the days when I felt buried, she listened, prayed, and believed. Like me, you need some trusted confidants who can talk you off the ledge and keep you focused on what is true rather than what you feel.

So the big question is, do you see yourself as buried or planted? I’m convinced if you will choose the latter, prioritize growth, embrace the struggle, and surround yourself with the right people, you will soon find yourself with a promotion to your dream job.

Tomorrow we will look at how to plan that promotion. Until then, appreciate your position and the opportunity to be planted!

Leadership Begins at Home,


What advice would you give to someone who feels stuck in their career?

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Are You Happy in Your Work?

I have a friend who wants to change jobs. He has applied, tried, and interviewed multiple times. So far he has hit one dead end after another.

Only, here’s the thing. Stuff is happening behind the scenes.

During a recent lunch, I asked him how he is holding up. His answer convinced me he is going to be fine and ultimately land a great job. He said, “I’m working hard to appreciate my position while planning my promotion.”

Wow! What a great attitude and approach to a draining process.

If there is a dream job you still want to go after, I encourage you to appreciate your position while planning your promotion. Over the next couple of days we will look at how to do both.

Leadership Begins at Home,


Why do you think so many people are unfulfilled in their work?

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The One Thing You Better Get Right

A while back, a friend of mine sent me an article from the New Yorker, written by Malcolm Gladwell.

The article is a correlation between selecting NFL quarterbacks and choosing great educators. In light of tonight’s NFL Draft, the article is timely.

Whether you are selecting a QB or a teacher, there is one thing that is certain … You better get it right.

If you are a parent you probably have given a lot of thought to where your kids attend school. You would be wise to forget about the school and focus on the teacher.

Gladwell points out, “Teacher effects dwarf school effects: your child is actually better off in a ‘bad’ school with an excellent teacher than in an excellent school with a bad teacher.”

For football teams, schools, and every other organization or team, it is imperative to find excellent people. If I might draw from Gladwell, the truth is you would be better off working in a ‘bad’ company with an excellent leader than you would be working in an excellent company with a bad leader.

In either scenario, you can bank on the company changing within a short time. A great leader will turn a bad company around while a bad leader will run a good company in the ground. Leader effects dwarf company effects.

A couple of bad teams will mortgage their futures on two young quarterbacks tonight. If they are as good as advertised, look for both teams to improve quickly. If they are overrated, each franchise will set itself back a decade.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What is your secret to discovering talent? 

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Has Your Answer Been 'No' for too Many Days in a Row?

The late Steve Jobs, while speaking to the graduating class at Stanford University, once spoke the following words . . .

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

So what if today was your last day? Would you be looking forward to doing what you are about to do? If your answer is no, perhaps it is time for you to make a change.

FYW image

A couple of years ago, I joined my friend Dan Webster to write FINDING YOUR WAY: Discovering the Truth About You. The book was created to help those who would answer “NO” to Jobs “Would I want to do what I am about to do today?” question.

If you fall into that group, or know someone who does, let me encourage you to visit findingyourway.us and join the movement.

Finding your Way is not just an engaging story, it is a brilliant process that will help you find the work you were born to do . . . at any age. I’m not only giving this book to college graduates, I’m also giving it to a few fifty year old friends searching for their passion and purpose.”

– Jon Gordon – Best Selling Author & Keynote Speaker

Life is too short to go through the motions. Every day is a gift. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are doing the things that bring you life. If not, maybe it’s time to start FINDING YOUR WAY.

Leadership Begins at Home,


If you could do one thing today, what would it be?

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