#9: Avoiding Painful Career Mistakes

In this podcast episode, I answer questions during the Brigham Young University-Idaho Communications Department Summit.

Topics addressed:

  • #1 tip for those going into the workforce
  • One of the most painful career mistakes I have ever made
  • How I discovered my niche
  • Changing career choice, or going in a different direction
  • Can you have too much ambition in your career?
  • What convinces employers to overlook experience requirements

In this audio program, I also mention a breakout session. The recording of that session is Episode #8: A Rare Kind of Faith, available here: https://rarefaith.org/podcast/8-a-rare-kind-of-faith 

(Other panelist responses were not included in this program.)


ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Rare Faith Podcast, where the solution to every problem is only an idea away, where the same activity with just a little more awareness always yields better results. Award-winning bestselling author Leslie Householder brings some of her best information to this inspiring series of life-changing episodes that you won’t want to miss. Show notes for this episode can be found at ARareKindofFaith.com.

CHRIS: I’d like to welcome you all to the Communications Summit. I’m Chris Hyatt, I’m the manager of it. To start off with, I would like to introduce our panelists. Leslie Householder to my left, is an award-winning bestselling author. Leslie is an internationally published, bestselling and award-winning author of The Jackrabbit Factor, Hidden Treasures and Portal To Genius.

Her books have been translated into multiple languages and are credited for inspiring people all over the world to achieve uncommon success against seemingly impossible odds. She is also a contributing author to multiple Chicken Soup For The Soul publications.

To start off with, what would be your number one tip for us, those in the communications field and business going into the workforce right now? What would be the top thing that employers are looking for?

LESLIE: I would say stay curious. I hope that during your time at the university, you’ve learned how to enjoy what you’re learning and that it hasn’t all been a pain to experience but that you’ve enjoyed the process. I encourage you that as you go out, that you stay curious and continue learning. Just because your studies, your official studies have completed, you’re going to face challenges, you’re going to face experiences that you didn’t anticipate.

Whether you go looking for work with a company or if you maybe are thinking of using your skills in an entrepreneurial way, you’re going to face challenges and you’re going to think that you’re the only person who’s ever faced that challenge but to remember that someone else has faced it, and the old adage that “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” is so true.

And I’ve seen adults move into the adult world and forget to be curious, forget to ask questions, forget to have questions and as you face challenges, boil it down to a question and the teacher will appear. Seek mentors, those who have achieved what you’re trying to achieve. Be curious and find out what they did because you’re going to find that sometimes the answer you’re seeking is going to come from another person who’s been there, and that can be a great resource to you and keep reading, keep learning. I’ve heard it said that in times of change, the learners will inherit the earth. It’s those who keep changing and growing, so that’s my encouragement.

CHRIS: Is there a mistake that you could share with us and what you have learned from it in your career?



CHRIS: Good answer.

LESLIE: I’ve got one. So when I finished my first book The Jackrabbit Factor, I was looking for endorsements from well-known, respected thought leaders and authors, and on my list was Stephen R. Covey. When he was still alive, I did get one from him and also Jack Canfield who is the founder/owner of the Chicken Soup For The Soul series and he had just come out with a book called Success Principles. It’s about this thick and there was a chapter in it called Ask, Ask, Ask and the success principle is be a pit bull. Be tenacious on what you want and if someone says no, keep going, keep going, keep going.

Well, I kind of misunderstood what he was trying to say because I thought great, I’m going to impress him when I ask him for his endorsement. I sent the request and his response back was “you know, I’ve just got done on my speaking tour. I’m going to take some time off to be with my family. I’m not doing endorsements right now” and I thought I’m going to impress him, I’ll ask again and so I asked again. I said “well, I understand but I’d like to be an exception to that.” I thought I was going to impress him and he said “no” again and so I thought well, he said ask three times.

So I asked again and he had to get a little bit rude with me, and I just felt this big and I thought, okay and I responded “I’m so sorry.” And what I learned from that is you can get what you want and what you need but you shouldn’t expect any one particular person to be the one who delivers it. My goal was to have some well-known respected endorsements but to say I have a goal to have Jack Canfield’s endorsement is a little bit manipulative of someone else’s agency and that was a tough lesson for me to learn. I was embarrassed and wished I hadn’t done that but it’s been very valuable to me.

CHRIS: The next question is how did you discover your niche?

LESLIE: When I was 12, I attended a conference where the speakers were so inspiring and changed my life, if you can change a 12 year old’s life. It, it changed my trajectory and I thought one day I’m going to be a speaker. I remember I was 26 or so still wondering, I wonder what I’ll speak about when I become a speaker. I didn’t know what it would be. At the time, I felt like the Lord was preparing me through experiences, sending me through the mire, so to speak.

So that when things got hard enough and if you come to my breakout, you’ll hear a little bit about that but things were so difficult that it caused me to ask new questions. And like I was telling you before, looking for mentors who could help me understand what I was going through and why and, and when those answers came, they came so impactfully that I thought oh my gosh, I have to share this!

I honestly never really was looking for a career. I just wanted to be mom and raise a family but still with that idea of becoming a speaker in the back of my head. I had these experiences, I had a breakthrough and had to share them and that’s why I started writing books. Actually started out as a seminar speaker before the books but because I was raising a family and it was hard to put events together, and I thought well, I’ll just write a book and let that be my seminar and it did well, and suddenly there was a demand for seminars and then I started speaking again but it’s been all from that original curiosity about what could my message be. How can I make a transformation in someone else’s life?

CHRIS: Thank you for your answers. Next question is has there been a time in your life when you felt that you should have changed your career choice, or you should have gone in a different direction?

LESLIE: I think that’s part of life. We meander our way, doing the best we can with what we think we want to do and what we think will be the best choices but one thing that I’ve learned through that process is where I thought I was taking a detour that was a waste of time, later down the road I realized oh my gosh, that had such an important part in getting me here.

And so if you’ve seen Elder Holland’s or heard his talk or seen the video they made of his “wrong roads” message, when he and his son were driving out into the wilderness and on their way home, they got to a fork in the road and couldn’t remember which way they were supposed to go. So they prayed about it and got an answer that they should go right, and they did and ended up at a dead-end and turned around, came back and went the other direction.

And he asked his dad “why do you think we both felt like we were supposed to go this way and it was wrong?” And he said “maybe, it was the fastest way for us to find out the right path because had we gone left and it was long, and we kept going, kept going and it was getting dark, and we might have wondered if we had gone the right way and turned around, and it was the fastest path to where we were supposed to be is to go the wrong way first.”

CHRIS: Next question, what are your thoughts on ambition? Is there such a thing as having too much ambition in your career?

LESLIE: I feel like one of these panelists is not like the other because I don’t have a company to bring you in, in an internship but in my own life, I have been the personality where if I see something, I lock on and I go. I’m so driven to make it happen and you know, the Olympian who cuts out everything else to train for the Olympics. They’re out of balance and for 20 years, my husband has been trying to teach me balance.

So, too ambitious? It can become an addiction sometimes. To go, to be the best, to be at the top, to be the fastest, to be and one thing that I am learning, it is a process for my personality but that just because I’m not actually doing something to further the cause or to get closer to the goal doesn’t mean that process isn’t still taking place on my behalf, even if I’m taking time for my family.

So in other words, if there are people that I need to network with, if there are opportunities that I need to find, I used to think that if I’m not on the phone, if I’m not writing a letter, if I’m not doing, if I’m not in action then everything has stopped and it all depends on me, and that’s not true.

I’ve learned that I can stop, I can take care of my family. I can take care of the things that are most important in my life and trust that somewhere, out there someone’s having a conversation that’s orchestrating things for me so that when I do get back in the game, it’s ready for me and that belief, that mindset has been huge. I’m seeing a lot of heads nodding.

CHRIS: Last question, what do you believe will convince employers to overlook a qualification of several years of experience when you’re looking for a job right out of college? It seems as if many, even entry-level jobs require experience that is not very realistic for a recently graduated college student.

LESLIE: Mindset is everything. My husband, for example didn’t finish his degree at a time when we were newlyweds and he needed to drop out so that we could provide for the family, and that’s part of the rough start that we had but he has, with his mindset, with some of the principles that we’ve learned and that I’m going to be teaching in my breakout, if the dream and the intention is big enough, the facts don’t count.

One of my favorite testimonials from readers of The Jackrabbit Factor, for example. There was a contest years ago called “The World’s Best Job” and it was the Great Barrier Reef in Australia Tourism Department that was holding a contest. Someone’s nodding, you remember that, that if you win this best job, you would be an island caretaker in the Great Barrier Reef and you would take in all the tourist attractions, and blog about them for six figures and like the world’s best job, right?

So you’re snorkeling and you’re blogging about it, and you’re getting paid to live on this island and the man who won it was from England. His name was Ben Southall and I found out about this because he was on a news piece out of the Canadian national news, and he said that it was the principles in The Jackrabbit Factor that helped him land that job but there were 34,000 applicants. Can you imagine going out for a job with 34,000 other people?

There’s strategy, there is skill, there’s knowledge, there’s credentials. There’s experience, all of those things that can help us gain the confidence that okay now, yeah I’m finally qualified because I did XYZ but it’s the confidence. It’s the knowing what you know and understanding the principles and living by the principles, and living in harmony with the laws that govern success.

And so if you feel like you’re up against odds that you know, I’m not qualified for this, there are ways to get around that and still get your foot in. How many people have done that? How many people out of college have gotten a job, even though you’re supposed to have experience? Has it ever happened before? Yeah, that’s life. That’s how it works and so it’s, it’s how you’re looking at it and there’s just a little tweak that we can make in your thinking that can make all the difference.


ANNOUNCER: This concludes today’s episode of the Rare Faith Podcast. You’ve been listening to Leslie Householder, author of The Jackrabbit Factor, Portal To Genius and Hidden Treasures – Heaven’s Astonishing Help With Your Money Matters. All three books can be downloaded free at ARareKindofFaith.com. So tell your friends and join Leslie again next time as she goes even deeper into the principles that will help you change your life.