Let me paint a picture for you:
You’re sitting in the office, and it’s 4:59 PM. You’ve done a full day of work, maybe even made some successful deals. You’re in a management position, and you’re bringing home a substantial paycheck. But despite having worked hard and made good money, you feel empty. You feel burnt out. You feel like you’d do ANYTHING not to return to the office the next morning.
As soon as the clock hits 5:00 PM, you’re out of there.
Does this sound like you?
If so, then I’m excited to share this episode with you. A guest on the Reaching Beyond podcast I had the privilege to interview is Ken Coleman — he’s a number one bestselling author, and he’s the nationally syndicated radio host of the Ken Coleman Show. Not only that, but he offers expert advice to thousands of people every day at Ramsey Solutions to help them find what they were meant to do.
And according to statistics that Ken shared in his most recent book, a lot of people find themselves in a job that’s not aligned with their values, their goals, or their character. If that’s you, make sure to have a piece of paper and a pen because you will want to take a lot of notes. If you don’t love what you do, then stay tuned because Ken gives so much practical advice about the steps you can take to find your dream career.
Who Is Ken Coleman?
Ken Coleman is the number one bestselling author of The Proximity Principle: The Proven Strategy That Will Lead to the Career You Love. He’s also the author of One Question: Life-Changing Answers from Today’s Leading Voices. Both books will redefine what a dream career really looks like for you.
Ken works with Dave Ramsey at Ramsey Solutions and hosts The Ken Coleman Show that airs in more than 35 cities across the U.S. every weekday. On his show, Ken delivers practical advice to help you discover the role you were born to pay and how to map out a plan to get there. He believes that every person has the ability to make their dream job their reality.
As a trusted voice and expert, Ken has appeared on shows like Fox & Friends, Yahoo! Finance, and The Rachael Ray Show. He’s also a contributing writer for TheLadders.com, and he speaks to large audiences across the country on topics like personal development, career, and leadership.
An engaging and entertaining speaker, Ken isn’t afraid to give folks the tough love they need to stop making excuses and start using their talents and passions to do work with meaning. He pulls from his own personal struggles, missed opportunities, and career successes to help you discover what you were born to do and how you can make your dream job your reality.
Living in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife and three children, Ken is now living the career of his dreams by helping you find yours. I asked Ken what his definition of success was, and his answer perfectly embodies today’s episode:
“I think success is discovering who you really are, what you were created to do, and then doing that. Filling your unique role to me is about making the significant impact that you were created to fill, and if you do that, success comes with that. Chasing significance brings success.” – Ken Coleman
Have you been living this type of success? If not, don’t despair because in our interview, Ken and I talk about practical ways you can begin to chase significance and start working in your dream career.
Why Do People Hate Their Jobs?
In Ken Coleman’s new book, The Proximity Principle, he shares this shocking statistic: 70% of employees are completely dissatisfied with their current work situation. That’s a huge number. I wanted Ken to dig into that a little more and explain why this seems to be the case. He said all the reasons can be organized into “two buckets”:
“The first is poor leadership. We know that people don’t leave companies; they leave leaders. So I think poor leadership is a big reason why people aren’t happy at work, meaning that either the leader … is toxic or they allow a toxic culture, or it’s just a really poor culture.” – Ken Coleman
Maybe you started working in the career you wanted, but you struggle to find motivation anymore in what used to excite you. Sometimes it’s not the work itself, but the work environment that you find yourself in that’s fueling your dissatisfaction. The second bucket is a little more complicated:
“I think the second reason is what I primarily focus on, and that is there’s just no passion for the work. You’re good at it. People are good at their jobs, but it’s the safe job. It was a job that her mom and dad did, or [it’s] the job that their major led them to or whatever. And they’re good at it, but they don’t love the work.” – Ken Coleman
While work environment issues can sometimes be remedied, you can’t create passion if it’s not there. If you’re in a career that you don’t enjoy, it doesn’t matter how good you are at your job — you won’t feel any satisfaction from it. On the other hand, working long hours won’t seem like such a drag if you love what you’re doing. Ken brought up the example of Howard Stern’s interview of Jerry Seinfeld to illustrate this point:
“Howard was talking to Jerry about how he just had this desire to stay in the long hours … in the early days of radio, just to prove that he could do it and … get better … he [said] he had more discipline and more drive … Seinfeld interrupted him … and he said, ‘No, Howard, it has nothing to do with drive. … It’s love … You love the work. … It’s the love that creates all of the drive.'” – Ken Coleman
There has to be passion and mission in the workplace in order for it to be enjoyable. When you’re passionate about your work, it doesn’t seem like “work” anymore. Sure, there may be hard days and problems you run into, but at the core of it all, you really enjoy what you’re doing. And then when there’s a mission involved — when your work has a positive impact on the world — then it matters even more.
“So for me, I love broadcasting. I love communicating. I love counseling people … to figure out who they are and make their contribution to the world. … That’s where the mission comes in. So the results of the work [are] life change, life transformation, [and] life maximation.” – Ken Coleman
Does your career change your life (and other’s lives) for the better? And if not, is it the work environment that’s getting in the way, or is it the absence of passion? By asking yourself these questions, you can clearly identify the root of the issue. And if the issue is a lack of passion, don’t worry, because Ken has some great advice for you.
How Do I Find My Passion?
Let’s go back in time to when you were in your teen years. Did you know what you wanted to do with your life? Maybe some of you knew EXACTLY what you wanted to do — and if you’re one of those people, then I applaud you. But if you’re anything like me, maybe you weren’t sure. The good news is — that passion wasn’t absent from your life — it was in there, and it’s still there now.
“Everybody’s born with some raw talent, and then we can hone that talent. Think of it as clay, put it on the potter’s wheel, and hone it into a sharpened skill, a very usable skill. … I think most people would agree with me that we are all born with some type of passion and excitement and something that makes our heart come alive.” – Ken Coleman
What makes your heart come alive? What are some things that you enjoy doing, and how can those things fit into a career? If you’re not sure, don’t worry, because Ken has three questions you can ask yourself that can help you discover your passion:
#1. What am I good at?
Are you a data-driven person? Are you skilled at math? Do you value precision and accuracy? Or maybe you’re on the other side of the spectrum: You’re great at thinking outside the box, and you have a way with words.
“What do you do best? What skills, hard skills, soft skills, abilities, [and] qualities [do you have?]” – Ken Coleman
Once you get clear and what kind of work you are good at, you can ask yourself the next question.
#2. What gets me fired up?
Ask this question with your skills and natural talent in mind. Maybe you’re a numbers person who loves to analyze patterns and find ways to improve efficiency. Or perhaps you’re a people person who loves to form communities and bring people together. It’s not enough to ask yourself, “What am I good at,” — just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy it.
Once you can tie your skills to something that you enjoy, it’s time for the final question.
#3. Who do I want to serve?
“Who are the people that you want to help? What problem do they have? … What need do they have? Or what … do they [want to] have?” – Ken Coleman
When you come at your career through a service lens, then your job has a mission, which fuels your passion. So maybe, you see an issue with weight gain in your community, and you want to help people live healthier lives. Or maybe, you want to promote local artists or small businesses. What problem can you solve? Who can you serve? These questions will lead you to a career that is 1) fulfilling and 2) beneficial to others around you.
Burnout: “The Five Buildups On The Heart”
So now let’s say, after asking yourself those three questions and discovering the career you’re meant for, you dive in and still experience burnout. Is something wrong? Did you choose the wrong career? Not necessarily — while burnout is more frequent in a career you don’t love, it still may happen in a career that you enjoy. Is it possible to achieve the perfect work-life balance?
“I don’t know that you ever have perfect balance. I think when we hear phrases like ‘work-life balance,’ we picture … the meat scales and we go, ‘Oh, this is perfect. Everything’s great.’ I think it’s garbage. … there are seasons of life then where maybe the scales look [uneven].” – Ken Coleman
Like Ken says, the scales will never be perfectly level. And if you’re experiencing burnout at your job, here are five possible reasons why:
#1. You don’t have a passion for the work you’re doing.
#2. You’re overwhelmed with the amount of work you need to finish.
#3. You’re in a toxic work environment.
#4. You don’t get recognition for the work you’re doing.
#5. You’re bored while waiting to level up.
Numbers two through five are all symptoms you can experience while working in your dream career. Crazy, right?
“Burnout is a symptom. It is not a source. … If you feel burned out, it is caused by one of five buildups on the heart. … Build up will make you feel as though you’ve burned out. But [I’ve] got news for you: If you think you’re burned out and you’re still alive, good news. You’re not burned out [for good].” – Ken Coleman
As Ken said, burnout isn’t the final word. It’s showing you that something’s wrong and needs treatment. So if you’re experiencing burnout in your current career, go through these five reasons and ask yourself what reason (or combination of reasons) applies to your situation. Once you do that, you can take steps to fix the issue.
Reach Beyond With Ken Coleman
Friends, this was such a helpful and powerful interview. I hope that it inspired you to start thinking about your passion and whether or not it’s time to pivot out of your current career. Ken is the perfect example of someone who’s discovered his passion of coaching and is using it to help others.
If you want to learn more from Ken, definitely check out The Ken Coleman Show and check out the resources on his website. You should also pick up a copy of The Proximity Principle and One Question, both of which will help you discover your dream job and give you so much wisdom from influential people and thought leaders.
Cheers to your success! Remember: Your dream job is out there, and it’s within your reach. I’m rooting for you.