I was once asked what it means to “own your career.” My answer at the time was to seek opportunities for growth both personally and professionally. I continued by stating that you won’t always be doing what you “want to do” in order to grow. As I reflect on that answer, I think I got it wrong. Not totally wrong, but I missed an important step. Not just any step, but the first step.
A few weeks ago, I was at a Friday morning men’s discussion with some good friends. You know, iron sharpens iron, kind of discussion. We were discussing how you find your path in life and one of the guys posed a simple and elegant question, “What do you want?” He followed that up with, “Are you willing to do what it takes to make that a reality?”
Since then, I haven’t been able to shake those questions out of my mind. You see, that is the starting point. Perhaps I am combining what it means to own your career with what it means to own your life, but aren’t the two indelibly connected?
If I am honest with myself, the answer to “what do I want” has changed over time. As I started my career, I wanted to advance in both role and responsibility as quickly as possible and that often trumped my personal and relationship goals. As I got older and progressed in my career, my wife, Christy, and I began a family (two beautiful girls, Madison (18) and Campbell (15)), but I didn’t really change the answer to the “what do you want” question. It wasn’t until I saw my relationship with Christy go on life support before I decided I needed to recalibrate my answer. Let’s just say that Christy really helped me in coming to that realization.
My answer was to make my wife and family a top priority. That didn’t mean that they always “won” when choosing between career goals and family events. It meant that I sought more balance in my decisions. It also meant that I was going to slow down (for those that know me, this is relative) and take time to invest in the people around me.
As I sit here today, I am grateful to work at a firm like HORNE where we are encouraged to ask ourselves, “What do you want?” So, I ask you, what do you want? And are you willing to do what it takes to make that a reality?
About the Author:
Rusty is the partner in charge of public and middle market. He is also a member of HORNE’s Board of Directors and serves on the technology steering committee. He is passionate about creating a culture of inclusion, a Wise Firm where we all work together toward achieving a common mission and vision.