Success Myths: Success is Utilizing my Credentials

Jan 15, 2020

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Framed college degrees and certifications of executive leadership courses line Kevin's office wall. He was a decorated business student with all the accolades one could imagine. Yet his frustration was evident as we sat across the table. “It’s alarming how ill-prepared I feel,” Kevin admitted through clenched teeth.

His frustration stemmed from his awareness that his comprehension of theories was no match for the experience he faced in the trenches. What he learned in the classroom during his fast track towards executive leadership now seemed irrelevant.

We were in the sixth month of coaching Kevin, the CEO successor of a thriving mid-sized company. Kevin is brilliant and charismatic. His education credentials set him up, but in these pivotal days of application, he was winning a greater prize, self-awareness.

Start on your Path to Purpose today! Start on your Path to Purpose today!

Education is necessary and is a cornerstone of progress and what makes this country great. However, as we walk disengaged workers through The Purpose Promise, we often experience what we call the credential success myth. The credential success myth is when the recipient of a degree, certification, or other professional recognitions subliminally equates success with the use of that credential. This perceived path of success often looks like this: get good grades, get into a good college, get the degree, get a great job, find a spouse, have 2.3 kids, the white picket fence, and retire early. Sound familiar? We are teaching people about ideas and theories, which are great—to a point. What is lacking is the need to learn about the most important subject: themselves!

That was also the case for Julie. When Julie was 17 years old, she had an experience with a very sick parent and witnessed the care and compassion of several nurses.

Julie was an excellent student, and like most high school juniors, she had no idea who she was, her unique giftings, or her long-term goals. She was encouraged to apply to prominent colleges, pick a major, and decide her career path. Self-awareness for a 17-year-old is not commonplace; however, the pressure to determine a path in life is. With little to no support or career counseling, she chose nursing as her career based on the experience, which led her to believe she wanted to care for others.

Julie was compassionate but was not built to be a nurse, and during one of our meetings, she was noticeably exhausted. She hated, yes, hated nursing, yet stuck with it for way too long, because it was all she ever knew. We decided to map out her strategy to obtain her newfound purpose dreams and find a career aligned with her true gifting.

As she journeyed through The Purpose Promise, she experienced freedom, which was exhilarating. In our fourth meeting, Julie was a different person. The hope she had for a better life and more purposeful employment radiated in her tone and laughter, and she is well on her way to a new career in a different field.

Most disengaged workers think it would be too difficult to change a career path. With the obtaining of credentials, degrees, and years of experience, most don’t think they would be marketable to other, more suitable careers. That is not true. There is a strategy to pivot into a new career path; however, the foundation to pivoting is self-awareness. Most organizations will hire a self-aware, trainable, and eager employee for a role over a seasoned, passionless employee any day.

If this resonates, don’t let your credentials imprison you in a cage of disengagement. With self-awareness, you can begin the journey to a career of purpose, and we are here to help.

Questions to Ponder:

  • When you picked your career path, were you aware of your unique giftings?
  • If you were to do it today, would you choose a different path?
  • What holds you back from making a career change?

Habits to Cultivate:

  • Make learning about yourself a top priority.
  • Give yourself the freedom to do what you love. Once you are in your career of purpose, you will perform well, add value, and gain great stability.

We have helped thousands of purpose seekers pivot into new careers. You can do it too. We would love to help guide you. If you are experiencing the credential success myth and are feeling disengaged, get started on your path to purpose.

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