It always amazes me that we ask 18-year olds to choose what career they want to pursue.  I remember being 18 – so young, so impressionable, so unknowing of what opportunities were truly available to me.

You see, I was raised in middle-class family.  Both parents owned their own small businesses and we lived in a small farming community in northwest Iowa.  Talk about simplicity… I lived it.

At the age of 18, the next stages in my life had pretty much been planned out – college, then find a job that I’d stick with for 30 years, marriage, a family… and then live as peacefully as I could.

I’m not complaining about the simplicity of it all, but knowing what I know now about life… I’m surprised I wasn’t reaching for more back then.

What’s interesting is that I’m not alone; I interact with people every day who think their life is a meaningless, passion-less, tiring series of events leading up to death.

I’m not being overly dramatic here. It’s amazing that a large majority of people go through life “stuck”.

Stuck in a job they hate.

Stuck at a weight they aren’t happy with.

Stuck with a partner who they despise

Stuck living in a city they can’t stand.

Stuck with negativity all around them.

Stuck, stuck, stuck, stuck…STUCK.

Well guess what – They aren’t stuck.  They may feel they’re stuck; but they’re not.  What they are, is uninformed, possibly unmotivated, and certainly unhappy.

Getting back to my original comment regarding 18-year-olds choosing a career, it’s interesting that regardless of which choice they chose; none of them will educate you on the emotional aspects of Business or Life.

Some may argue that work within a psychological field of study may do so, which I can slightly agree with; but the true lessons of life, from my perspective, are ones learned from real world scenarios.

Where in a textbook or college laboratory do you learn about the emotional implications you’ll have when dealing with a project owner who’s going to enforce a $250,000 fine on your organization because the project you were working on got delayed due to weather?

Or where do you learn to handle the grief, stress, and variety of emotions of a fatality at your workplace when a coworker gets killed on the job?

Furthermore, how do you teach passion to your employees?  How do you get your TEAM to be just as invested in the organization as the business owner?

Passion, Purpose, Integrity, Happiness – Some things just aren’t taught.

BUT… certain traits (passion and purpose for instance) can be drawn out –  but it takes time, effort, and asking all the right questions to draw that out of a person.

Happiness is inside of all of us; some of us just keep it way at the bottom of our mood stack – underneath cranky, irritable, sad, lonely, stressed and anxious.  Again, it’s an emotion that needs to be brought out by asking all the right questions and reevaluating ones’ self.

Throughout my 36 years of life, I’ve done a lot of studying – mostly from textbooks; but most recently from people.  I study people.  I’ve said it many times before, people know things!

Many of the successful people I’ve studied have a very high level of emotional intelligence and are always seeking out new forms of knowledge from others.  They know who they are, but they know that we need to constantly evolve to be successful and happy.  They talk to others to gain wisdom – most all have a mentor or numerous mentors as a means of learning more about “people”.

Furthermore, they are all following their passion in life.  They don’t work a 9-5 then go home and complain about their job.  They love what they do; it’s not a job, it’s a passion.  They are wildly successful because they know what their purpose is, and don’t let fear play a part in their lives.  They may come across difficult times in their career, but quitting their passion is never an option.

Long-term success requires many things – time, energy, an expertise level of know-how regarding your product or service.  But, it also requires the things that can’t be taught – Passion, Purpose, and multiple Emotional Intelligence characteristics (of you and your team).

Do you know that the Customer Experience is now the driving force behind most purchasing decisions.  Price is no longer the sole dictator of a decision; it’s the experience they get in return.  Interestingly enough, the customer EXPERIENCE is the emotional piece of the puzzle.  It’s how the business interaction make the client feel.

If you find your business lagging behind the competition, or if you personally feel as though you’re lagging behind and not truly living… that’s a sign that you need to work on the traits that can’t be taught.

What’s your passion?  What’s your purpose?  What emotions are holding you back from truly thriving in business and life?  The deeper you go, the more you gain.

About the Author:  Valerie Echter is a Certified Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach, who specializes in stress reduction and emotional wellbeing.  She is a stress and anxiety expert, having worked through her own issues with severe social anxiety while at the height of her career in the oil industry. 

Valerie takes her 12-year tenure as a nationally-known sales and marketing expert, and has leveraged her business know-how to educate business owners on the fundamentals of strategically implementing Emotional Wellbeing programs and services into the organization’s Safety or Wellness programs.  A passionate advocate for employee development, Valerie supports organizations in reaching business goals directly via coaching, mentoring, and exclusive facilitated workshops focusing on employee productivity, increased employee morale, improved employee mental clarity and focus.

When she’s not working with clients, Valerie can be found on the golf course, reading, playing with her young daughter and cocker spaniel puppy, or enjoying spending time with her husband and extended family.

Want to connect directly with Valerie? Email to learn more about effective business strategies that focus on improved employee mindset for professional success.