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What if the best career advice you could get came from a comic book?
If you haven’t read Daniel Pink’s The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need, go pick it up right now, and instill these lessons into your life.
In Daniel’s book, the main character is Johnny Bunko, a man who is not satisfied with his career. He’s always done what he was “supposed” to do by getting good grades and a stable job. One day, he is visited by a genie who grants him six wishes which he uses to ultimately change his career mindset. His life is never the same as he learns these six different lessons:
- There is no plan
- Think strengths, not weakness
- It’s not about you
- Persistence trumps talent
- Make excellent mistakes
- Leave an imprint
Let’s unpack these six lessons and how they can apply to your career!
There is No Plan
Planning for the future is not inherently a bad thing, but life is unpredictable, and it never goes the way you plan it! Instead, focus on being the best at what you’re doing today. Do the best you can by crushing the work you’re doing right now.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a vision, but don’t get too wrapped up in the details. Make mistakes; don’t overthink. People who love to plan can be frozen into inaction. You don’t need to have perfect plan, you just need to start doing stuff!
Instead of focusing on what you’re not good at, focus on the things that you excel at doing. We’ve all been in situations where we hate what we’re doing, and the same thing happens to Johnny in this comic book. Johnny is stuck doing financial modeling… something that he is not enjoying. When the genie asks Johnny why he is continuing to do this work, he replies by simply saying, “That’s just the job I got.”
We so often fall into the trap of trying to change our weaknesses rather than improving our strengths! Don’t get caught doing something you truly don’t enjoy. We’ve all been given a gift, so we need to use it accordingly!
It’s Not About You
Every great story has a guide. Someone who helps the hero discover who he or she really is. Be the guide. Because it’s not about you; it’s about your customer. You are not the hero.
Whenever Johnny starts talking about himself in this story, the genie reminds him to make the customer the hero. She teaches Johnny how to gain perspective by learning more about customers. Johnny then had the ability to come up with amazing marketing strategies for clients. He was no longer focused on trying to make himself look good!
Persistence Trumps Talent
You might be the most talented person on the planet, but if you give up at the first roadblock, you won’t’ make it. Work on your craft!
Make Excellent Mistakes
If you can’t be brave enough to make mistakes, you’ll never get where you want to go.
Johnny makes a key mistake in this story. One that was so bad he thought he was going to be fired. But his customer ended up loving the “mistake” he made! This lesson emphasizes owning mistakes when you make them. Best case scenario: it didn’t turn out to be a mistake! Worst case scenario: you learn from your mistake and move on.
Leave An Imprint
At the end of the story, the genie leaves because Johnny could only call on her six times. He was on his own after this!
The final lesson is to change someone’s life by helping them learn. We all want to have an impact, but a lot of times it’s about helping that one person who needs it. Look around you… who is struggling? Could you help put a smile on their face today?
Here’s the challenge for this week: start incorporating some of these lessons! A great place to start is to take inventory of those you come in contact with every day. Who can you help right now and leave a lasting impression with?