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THE GREAT CAREER REVEAL: WHAT COVID19 TEACHES US ABOUT SUCCESS

How the pandemic has reshaped traditional notions of purpose, value and meaning and strategies to get clear on what success means to us.

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By Melanie Pritchard, Success Coach + Corporate Wellbeing Trainer

“Often in the chaos of daily life we don’t have an opportunity to think about our purpose”  

Jonathan Moult, Lawyer turned Counselling Psychologist

Despite the many negatives of the pandemic whether financial, professional or human loss, Covid19 has revealed one great pearl of wisdom: that the best paid are not essential, raising some serious questions around the notion of purpose, meaning and value.

Turning commonplace norms around social status, service and worth upside down, the pandemic has triggered soul-searching among financiers, lawyers and other esteemed white-collar workers who may have previously measured value (and been valued) in terms of net worth and social status. This begs the question, what is success?

As a career and mindset coach, I work with countless clients who come to me feeling empty in their careers despite attaining considerable wealth in sought-after, high earning roles. Whether banker, lawyer, accountant or high achieving sales executive, they have one thing in common – they feel they are not living a life of purpose and meaning and feel considerable unhappiness and confusion as a result. As Tony Robbins states: “The real joy in life comes from finding your true purpose and aligning it with what you do every single day”.

Indeed, if there was ever a common trap a typical client, nay, human being, falls into, it’s falling into a job because your parents thought it sounded good or being attracted to the sexy job title that impresses at dinner parties but fails to set your soul alight.

Case in point: I was once asked in a final interview for a role in recruitment: ‘How would you feel telling people at a dinner party that you’re a recruiter?’ I turned the job down and went on to train as a lawyer. Somewhat ironically, I later left the world of law to find greater meaning in helping people find work they love and helping businesses boost employee wellbeing. And I’ve never been happier.

In a similar vein, the pandemic has brought about a recalibration in a society that has privileged moneymaking in favour of what is now truly valued: public service, social connections and wellness. 

So what does this teach us about success today?

To quote Albert Einstein: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” So I ask you this: could now be the perfect opportunity to clarify what success means to you and to find work that brings you true meaning and purpose? 

Here are 20 powerful quotes around success which may help: 

“Try not to be a man of success but a man of value” – Albert Einstein

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter. Treasure love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well. Cherish others”– Steve Jobs on his deathbed

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” – Mark Twain

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive” – Howard Thurman

“The expert in anything was once a beginner” – Helen Hays

“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs” – Farrah Grey

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do” – Bob Dylan

“Your dreams will have greater meaning when they’re tied to the betterment of others” – Tererai Trent

“Success is when opportunity meets preparation” – Zig Ziglar

“Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for it” – Katharine Whitehorn

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing” –Theodore Roosevelt

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time” – George Bernard Shaw 

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough” – Oprah Winfrey 

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time” – Thomas A. Edison

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” – Michael Jordan

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” – Zig Ziglar

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill

“It is never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot

“The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity: ‘Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived” – Dalai Lama XIV

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