Now, am I an expert on success? It depends on how you look at it. I’m definitely still in the process of figuring everything out, since I believe everyone is for the entirety of their lives, but so far some people have said I’ve managed to figure out, sort through, and accomplish some pretty amazing things for my age. I was inspired to write this book because of the reaction I got from an article I wrote for Forbes about my Career Design Process.
When I set out to write the piece for a blog called The Daily Muse, my main aim was to get it on Forbes, one of The Daily Muse’s distribution partners. I didn’t expect it to go anywhere or to get much traffic — I just wanted to have an article on Forbes, and that was that. I thought it would be pretty cool. The Daily Muse said it would definitely be able to put the article on its site and would try its best to get the piece on Forbes but couldn’t promise anything.
So the article went up on The Daily Muse’s website, and the next day, imagine my surprise when I got an email from a reader saying, “Hey, I loved your article on Forbes.” I replied, “What article on Forbes? Can you send me the link?” And the emails didn’t stop from then on. In fact, years later, they still haven’t ceased, which has provided me with one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. Either every week or a couple of times a month, I hear from incredible people trying to navigate their next steps in life. Some of them are extremely accomplished — and it’s a real comfort to know that even they don’t have everything figured out. Everyone’s just trying to make the best of what they’ve been given in this world. When you walk down the street, everyone you see along the way is attempting to make life as good as possible for themselves, their families, and in general, the people around them. It’s amazing!
I think the reason the Forbes article got so much traction was because it was something of a unique story. Within a short period of time, the piece had over 250,000 views, was reprinted in New York City’s daily morning newspapers, was featured on LinkedIn Today and the Forbes “Most-Read and Top Trending Stories” lists for more than a week, and resulted in multiple requests for book proposals. Now it’s up to over 1.5 million views. And it’s also led to thousands of emails, tweets, LinkedIn and Skype requests, and even some phone calls.
At first the experience was a bit overwhelming. And to some extent, it still is. But I feel exceptionally privileged to help so many people figure out what to do with their careers, figure out how they can make the biggest impact for themselves and for the world, and figure out how they can be happier than they were when they first got in touch with me.
I’ve been doing career coaching for a number of years. It’s one of my favourite things to do because I’m a strong believer in the power of human potential, especially when it’s aligned with the strengths and desires of the individual and the world. I also believe that what you do in your career has a huge impact on the rest of your life — either positive or negative. So it’s important to make sure it’s positive! The halo effect of your work can affect everything from your family life, friends, physical shape, and spending, to sicknesses, bodily problems, and many other things.
What topics will we cover? We’ll start with a bit of background about me and my career choices so you can get an idea how I came to develop my methodologies. Then I’ll show you how to develop your own ideas of what you might like to do as your next career move, based on what you like, what you’re good at, what the world needs, what you can make money from doing, and a series of experiments I’ll guide you through to set yourself up. We’ll also cover self-education programs and the ability to train yourself to be virtually anything you want to be. Once we’ve begun figuring out what you want your next career move to be, we’ll shift to definitive strategies for getting what you want, dealing with everything from cover letters and résumés to job search tools, online presence, networking, interviewing, and the day-to-day of being in your new position. This book is both for people who want to find a job and for those who want to be entrepreneurs. It will help you figure out what you want to do and then go get it. If you’re unemployed and looking for a job, this book will help you with that, too.
My writing is based on more than 10 years of career counselling, personal career experience, interviews with countless successful people about how they got to where they are today, hundreds of books I’ve read about career choices (plus many more articles), and the education I’ve received in business, marketing, psychology, happiness, and storytelling. I’ve helped my clients land jobs at Google, Procter & Gamble, Kelson, and many others; make investments; sell franchises; and get into prestigious incubators.
Everyone wants to be happy with what they’re doing in the world and how they’re spending their time. I’ve interviewed some amazing people about how they created careers they love — and how you can do that too. Some of the people I spoke with and/or interviewed in preparation for writing this book include Peter Thiel (co-founder and former CEO of PayPal), Dave McClure* (angel investor who founded the 500 Startups incubator), and the founders and CEOs of Airbnb (Joe Gebbia), Square (Randy Reddig), and Kiva (Matt Flannery). I also leverage my experience participating in Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to discuss not just where the market stands today in terms of work and job opportunities but what the future of work will look like — as told to us by Sophie Vandebroek, the chief technology officer of Xerox, and many others — and how you can fit into it.
I’ve written this book with the hope that I inspire others to follow their passions in a way that makes a positive difference in the world. If I do that, I’ll have truly succeeded.
Now, let’s begin.