When I moved to New York, I left behind the Jazz and Blues Restaurant "One Night Stan's" that I co-owned with my brother, Stan. I didn't know what kind of work I wanted to do, so I worked as a temp. I hoped that I would get lucky and find the perfect job. Unfortunately, it didn't appear, and I was afraid I would be stuck doing tedious work. I was in a book store looking for inspiration, and I found "Careers For Dummies." Wonderful. I bought it. One of the first suggestions the author makes is to write down what your ideal job would be. I immediately wrote out the following.
- It needs to be different every day.
- I can't be stuck in an office.
- I want to have fun and meet interesting people.
- I want to travel.
- I want to make good money.
No sooner than I put my pen down, my phone rings, and it's my brother, Stan. He said, "I just thought of an excellent career for you. You did all the buying of our wine and spirits. I'm sure if you can buy it, you can sell it. I know the sales reps make an impressive living. I think you should look into it." So, I went back to the list I wrote and realized that this checks all the boxes. I walked over to the neighborhood wine store and asked which distributors they worked with. They gave me the name of three companies. I sent my resume to each one. Within a few days, I had an interview and got the job.
Since then, I've learned to put pen to paper and write out what I want to achieve. I've also found that writing out my concerns can be cathartic as well as reassuring. I recently read an article by Elizabeth Bernstein titled "Work Out Your Worries by Writing." She quoted James Pennebaker, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Texas. He explained that "expressive writing," which is recording our deepest thoughts and feelings, may help improve our mental and physical health. He also suggested that anyone dealing with trauma and severe depression should seek help from a professional. For my eyes only, writing has helped me see the big picture and reduced my anxiety about future unknowns. (I'm very good at seeing the apocalypse happen around every corner.)
Putting our worries front and center on a piece of paper allows us to see them for what they are, useless fears. Instead, we can see all our possibilities and realize our strengths. The magic of writing down our hopes and dreams gives us focus. The more we put into words what we want and can see it on a daily basis, the better our chances of making it happen. It becomes our personal road map and encourages us to take the necessary steps to reach our goals.
What are you waiting for? Grab a pen and start your journey. You may surprise yourself for finally taking the time to think about what you want out of this life. If you want something more visual, look for pictures that may inspire you and incorporate that as well. You may find a new path or opportunity that opens up for you. If anything else, writing may give you a sense of peace and lower your stress level. You have nothing to lose but possibly gain a whole new perspective.