“A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.” Those were the words of famed Army General George S. Patton Jr. and as much as it pains the Marine officer in me to give the Army any credit, Patton’s words have guided much of my professional life. That’s because that quote is dripping with initiative and action. I’m going to make a strategic bet and suggest that most, if not all, of you reading this article would not claim that your current position is your dream job. Now, I’m going to make another strategic bet and say that 50% of you are doing absolutely nothing about it. I know this to be true because my role as an Executive Recruiter gives me a front row seat to this dilemma. If that sounds like you, then I’d implore you to heed the words of General Patton. A good decision made today will bring you closer to your dream job than a perfect decision made at some indefinite point in the future. If I can borrow a few minutes of your time, I’d like to help you make that first good decision today, right now.
Always Improve Your Position
If you are reading these words, then congratulations, you just made your first good decision of the day. You should feel really good about it as the pursuit of knowledge is a decision that you can make every single day. In the Marine Corps, we’d tell our Marines to always improve their positions. That meant that they could never assume they had enough sandbags or that the fighting hole was deep enough. We had to keep them in the offensive mindset, even when they were actually playing the defense. As such, there are not too many men who assaulted a prepared Marine position and lived to talk about it.
There may be a reason why you are holding on to your current job. It could be financial obligations, fear of leaving the known, or maybe you’re just waiting for your boss to retire or die so that you can take his position. So, I am not here to tell you to quit your job today. Rather, I am telling you to always improve your position. Maintain an offensive mindset rather than just passively hoping the job of your dreams falls into your lap.
Gone are the days where an employee works 30 years only to receive the golden watch at his retirement ceremony. However, if you could survey the men and women who did make it 30 years at the same company, you’ll not find the amount of happiness and contentment in their career that you would expect. Survey those men and women and you may find individuals who said time just got away from them. They didn’t always dream of retiring as a mid-level accounting manager. They had higher aspirations, but the clock ran out on them. If you don’t want that to be your story, then you must always be improving your position, one good decision at a time. Next week we’ll look at how being audacious can benefit you. If you’d like to talk about better opportunities to improve your position in the meantime, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.