Monthly Archives: September 2013

Listen to the Voices…

Hating your job is a badge of honor. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re hanging out with some co-workers or friends try complaining about work last night.  You’ll probably get a few nods of agreement or any variety of affirmations – “tell me about it…”, “amen!”, “I know, I hate my job too!”  Now try telling the same group how much you enjoyed work last night. Chances are you’ll get some really odd looks and a lot of silence – crickets, crickets.  People might even avoid you.  Why? Because people don’t like to see someone happy with their job, it’s just weird.

If you are genuinely happy with your job it reminds them that they are not. It also reminds them of that little voice inside their head. The voice that says “you aren’t happy here, this isn’t where you belong.”  People don’t like to hear that voice. In fact, a lot of people spend their lives trying to shut it up. That little voice is dangerous. It often fills your head with ideas of grandeur like starting your own business and making lots of money.  Sometimes it tells you to go and make a difference; become a doctor and save people’s lives. Other times it tells you to quit your job and do something you actually care about.

You see, the problem with that voice is that it’s usually right.

As a senior in high school you probably have already started hearing this voice. For you it may be saying, “why are you majoring in THAT!? You don’t even like that.” Or “what difference are you going to make in that job?” Or maybe it’s saying, “Why aren’t you painting anymore, you love to paint?”

Don’t ignore that voice. It might just be the key to your success. Being successful isn’t about ignoring your hopes and dreams and keeping your nose to the grindstone. Success is about finding out what makes you happy and then figuring out a way to make that profitable.

What do you daydream about when you are in class? What would you rather be doing when you are at work? What is it that you do when you are putting off what you are supposed to be doing? Jessica Hische says it best when she says, “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”

A fulfilling and profitable vocation is made up of three things: passion, talent, and an economic model. Before you even think about applying for a university or taking your next job, you need to have a plan for your future career path that addresses all three of those areas and it all starts with that little voice between your ears.

Tagged , ,

Defeat is Not an Option

Victor Fankl Quote

I was talking to someone about finances today, debt to be more specific. I was telling them about a pretty simple plan to get out of debt.

His response:  “I have a plan to get out of debt. It’s called dying. When I die I’ll be out of debt. The end. So anyway…”

Now I can tell a subject change when I see one, I’m pretty smart like that. So I went along with it. I think we went on to talk about the weather or something safe like that. Some issues you just don’t want to press. But I couldn’t help but think about that brief 30 second conversation throughout the day. How many areas of our lives do we take on that defeated mindset? I know I’ve been guilty before.

Ever thought to yourself…

I hate my job but I don’t know how to do anything else. 

Some of my friends are a really bad influence but I’ll hang around different people when I get older.

I’m not eating right and haven’t exercised since the 8th grade gym class, but I’ll start when things settle down.  

I’ve got to catch up on homework but I’ll never get it all done, so why bother?

What areas of your life do you feel defeated in? Are you putting something off because of a lack of time or because you know it is going to be hard? Make a plan. It can be as simple as getting up an hour early three days a week and devoting that time to the area that you need to change. If time is not the issue, pick a date to confront the issue and hold yourself accountable to it. Be bold and be different. Normal is unsatisfied but unwilling to change.  Don’t be normal.

Create your future.

Tagged , ,

Money: How Much Do You Want?


Money is important.

That’s right, captain obvious to the rescue. But seriously, money is important. It took me a long time to come to that realization. Some of you may be thinking, “What is this guy talking about?” others of you will get what I’m trying to say.

I remember when I was in high school there were basically three mindsets about money among my friends. At this point I should probably give a little background information to paint a better picture of who we were. My friends and I were the high achievers and we did pretty well in school. We took all of the AP and college prep classes. We did a lot of extracurricular academic activities. We were the good kids.  We were the smart kids- kind of. We also had wildly different opinions with regards to money and the future, but basically we all fit into one of these three categories.

  1. “Money is da-Bomb!” (yes, we actually used to say that)
  2. “Money’s for sell-outs and tools; follow your heart!”
  3. “Money, um… I dunno.

Maybe you fit into one of these categories too.

In high school I happened to fall into the second category. Follow your heart and forget about the money. It seems like the most decent of the three doesn’t it. I certainly thought so and I didn’t hesitate to let everyone else know that it indeed was the noblest way to look at things. As I mentioned here, when I was planning my future career path, I took money out of the equation and chose to do what I felt passionate about: teaching and eventually social services. The problem was I didn’t really have an economic model in place to fit the lifestyle I was hoping to live.

It took me a long time to realize that.

It took me even longer to realize that it is okay to make money.

Again, some of you are thinking, “What in the world?” Others are nodding their heads in agreement. That’s okay, stick with me.

Have you discovered your passion, recognized your talents and found that you want to get involved in a traditionally low income vocation such as teaching, social services, or counseling?  Great!  You’ve done the hard work of looking inward. Now you get to do the fun stuff and look outward.


At this point you need to realistically decide how much money you want to make. Don’t you dare say “I want to make $30,000 a year because that is what teachers in my area make.” If you start doing that you are not being honest with yourself. I know this because this was me.  If you’ve been honest with yourself thus far, trying to figure out your passions and your talents, why lie to yourself in this area? Now you’re thinking, “I’m not doing this for the money!” Again, this was me. I thought that if I made money doing something it would take away from the fact that I was trying to help and serve others.

If you are struggling with this concept I highly recommend studying the principles of Rabbi Daniel Lapin in his book, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money.   Rabbi Lapin states that people often fail to reach their financial goals and potential due to a belief that money is materialistic and an unfortunate necessity. He proposes a change in mindset. He calls money a certificate of appreciation. He proposes that you look at the receiving of money as proof of your excellent service to others and not that you are simply taking their money.

Be creative; look for nontraditional career choices or consider going into business for yourself. Just because you want to work with kids doesn’t mean that being a school teacher is your only option.

At this point in the planning process don’t ignore your financial desires.  Ignore money and you won’t have any to worry about!

What are your thoughts on money? Is it something you are considering while trying to decide what field to get into? Is it the main thing? Do you think that prospering financially in your career is a sign that you are serving others extraordinarily well? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.


A fulfilling and profitable vocation is made up of three things: passion, talent, and an economic model.

Your economic model is one part of a three legged stool. If you don’t spend the time needed to figure it out the other two won’t hold you up.

Tagged , ,

4 Simple Ways to Identify Your Talents

What are your special talents? What are your strengths? What makes you you?

Depending on your personality these may or may not be difficult questions to answer.

When looking at talent, some people seem to have no problem identifying their special abilities or gifts. They talk about their abilities and they use them openly. Maybe they seem to have been blessed with natural talent. These people often come across as confident and self-assured.

We all know people like that.

But, if that doesn’t sound like you, we may have to do a little work to figure out what your strengths are.  If you are someone who is struggling with identifying your talents, you are not alone. This just so happens to be the camp that I used to reside in. Fortunately there are a lot of ways to figure out what your strengths are and most of them are pretty easy.

Here are 4 simple things that helped me.

1. Get a DISC personality report.

The DISC personality profile is a great way to identify your strengths and positive qualities. A good DISC report will give you a lot of information about yourself that you can then use to make better decisions about your future. Remember, looking inward is the first and most important step of creating a plan for the future.

2. Identify previous success.

By the time you are a senior you have had a lot of different and unique experiences. Identify which of these experiences you found the greatest success in.
Examples could include:

      • Classes that you got the best grades in.
      • Special projects or assignments that you did really well in.
      • Volunteer projects or activities in which you had success and enjoyed.
      • Anything else in which you found yourself saying “hey I’m pretty good at this.”

3. Listen to others.

Ask a friend, mentor, or family member what they think your strengths are. Sometimes things that are obvious to others are difficult to see in yourself.

4. Make believe.

This one goes along with listen to others but is a bit more involved. For this one, ask a close friend to tell you your top three talents. Next have them make up a story about what your future job might look like. The conversation might look a little something like this…

Jered: Hey Bob could you do me a favor? I need help figuring out what I’m good at. Could you tell me what you think my top three talents are? 

Bob: That’s easy Jered. You’re really organized and detail oriented, you like to help people, and you are super easy to get along with.

Jered: Thanks Bob! Can I ask you one more favor?

Bob: Of course.

Jered: What do you think my perfect job would be?

Bob: Well I always imagined you getting into consulting or counseling, or something like that.  You know, I could even see you starting up your own counseling or coaching business. That would be perfect for you!

Continue this conversation and go back and forth with the person sharing ideas and imagining together. What about this plans appeals to you and what doesn’t?  What are common themes in them? This conversation should be fun and it will really help you see the strengths that others see in you.

One important thing to remember is that your talents and your passions can be different. Yes they may line up, but they do not have to be the same thing. You may be a very talented singer but not really have a passion for music. The opposite could also be true. Take American Idol try outs for example, there are a lot of really passionate singers that try out for that show that unfortunately don’t have the talent.  

It is so important to know your talents and strengths. I can’t stress this enough, however; just because you are talented at something doesn’t mean it has to be a part of your career and educational plan. Just because you are awesome in math doesn’t mean that you are meant to be a CPA.

When planning your vocation and the educational road you need to be on to get there, try and find a way to blend your talents with your passions.



A fulfilling and profitable vocation is made up of three things: passion, talent, and an economic model.

Your talents are one part of a three legged stool. If you don’t spend the time needed to figure them out the other two won’t hold you up.

Tagged , ,

Quit college for $100,000

Quit college, get $100,000, and start a business.

That’s the deal that co-founder and former CEO of PayPal, Peter Thiel, is offering to 20 college students this year.  These students, Thiel Fellows as they are called, are given the opportunity to pursue innovative scientific and technical projects and develop the leading-edge companies of tomorrow. His gift to them: $100,000 and entrepreneurial mentorship.

Thiel has been making this deal since 2011 and continues to stir up controversy each time he does. In making this offer, Thiel is reinforcing the idea that going to college is not the only road to success.

Apparently this is a pretty touchy subject among the population at large. College is not Insurance

Yes, college graduates, on average, earn more than those who do not have a degree. But, college does not guarantee you anything. College is not an insurance policy. Let’s be honest, how many of you know a college graduate who still lives at home with mom and dad working at Starbucks?


Self-motivation and drive are much better indicators of future success. Entrepreneurship is just one of the many paths you have before you as you decide what you want to do next.



Learn more about the Thiel Fellowship program and check out some great articles about education at,

Tagged , , ,