Everyone Can Get That Mystical Career Defining Lighting Bolt

A career counsellor once shared a piece of life changing advice with me:

“Some people get hit by a lightning bolt, but if you haven’t been hit by your teenage years, you never will be. The rest of us just go on a journey.”

That’s really important information for any kid who never got hit by the lightning bolt of what they want to do. Choosing careers can seem like a huge error looming over you, just waiting to happen, just waiting to steal years of your youth away – because you misinterpreted a sign or didn’t have the conviction to follow what you thought to be your lightning bolt. But trust me, if you’ve been hit by a lighting bolt – you’ll know. I live with a man who got the aviation lightning bold as a kid, and that is one steadfast vision steeling him to a career with impossibly high entry barriers. I most certainly never felt that vision and conviction about any career.

But a few days ago I experienced another sort of lightning bolt. It wasn’t a vision, instead it was an affirmation and it’s something everyone can achieve in their lives. I got it when I nailed something at work and I just felt fantastic.

It goes like this:

It’s when you achieve something that satiates a desire to your very core . I desire to have incredible interpersonal skills and to handle situations well – successful one on one negotiations with an upset person is a total F Yeah moment for me! I adore being organised to the point of magazine ready filing cabinets – getting everything in place makes me go yessssssssssss! 
If I’m not being clear enough, it’s when you do something in your job, and afterwards you feel like:


And if you’re more of the reserved type, then it may just look like this:
It’s an awesome lighting bolt of energy and success, and it means that you’re in the right place. You’ve hit something in yourself that is going to make you mightily successful at your job.
I think it’s good to get that at least once a month. And unlike a ‘visionary’ lighting bolt, I think if you’re not getting this ‘achievement’ lightning bolt then you need to quit. Or start therapy. Because a lot of this is about making yourself happy too. If we wait for it to be facilitated by others, it will probably never happen.
So finish that filing, buy that plant for your desk, clean out that inbox, have that difficult conversation, do that lunch time workout – whatever it is – and get that lighting bolt. Because this is the one thing that everyone can get.
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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  • 8 February 2013