Don’t Run On A Career Treadmill! (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Whether it’s the feeling of sweat dripping down my face during an intense set of heavy barbell squats, seeing veins pop out of my arms during a tough set of dumbbell bicep curls, or feeling like my heart is going to jump out of my chest after doing plyometric box jumps onto a platform that is 48 inches high, I LOVE just about everything about intense exercise.

While there’s a good chance you may not share my same excitement over these sensations (and perhaps not even know what the heck those exercises are), chances are we can agree that running on a treadmill for your entire exercise program is incredibly boring and unsatisfying.  In other words, while I consider heavy weight lifting and plyometric training to be fun, running on a treadmill feels like work even to me, work that I don’t want to do.

And, it’s completely fine that we all hate treadmills because we can still feel great and look great physically without ever using a treadmill as part of our exercise program.  I can go do my heavy weight lifting and plyometric training instead, and if you don’t enjoy that type of exercise, you can do yoga, pilates, bodypump, kickboxing, swimming, cycling, rowing, or whatever type of exercise you enjoy (sorry: kickball does not count).

What does this have to do with your career?

Well, unfortunately, most people are trying to derive professional satisfaction from a career that is just as exciting to them as running on a treadmill.  They fail to understand that there are a variety of ways to become professionally “fit,” just like there are all sorts of ways to be physically fit.

So, if your current work doesn’t excite you, then simply get off your “treadmill” and try something different!

Not sure where to start the process of figuring out what type of work you want to do next?  Here’s one trick that has helped me determine my professional pursuits since college.  Ask yourself the following 2 questions:

  1. What was the happiest moment of your childhood (or any point of your life)?
  2. What was the most painful moment of your childhood (or any point of your life)?

By answering these questions honestly, you will uncover experiences that make you emotional, in a positive or negative way.  Emotion drives passion, and passion drives success and fulfillment. 

Your answer to question #1 will give you direction on jobs where you can help people feel like you did during a happy moment.  Your answer to question #2 will give you direction on jobs where you can help people avoid feeling how you did during a painful moment.

Here’s my quick answer to question #1: When I was 7 years old, my dad took me to my first NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden when the NY Knicks played the Indiana Pacers.  Before the game, we were watching the players warm-up right next to the court (security was much lighter 20 years ago at sporting events).  Right before the game was about to start, one of the balls rolled over to me.  I grabbed it and passed it back to one of the players on the Pacers, as he asked me my name.  I said “Pete.”  He said “Pete, this one’s for you,” and he turned around and drilled a three-point shot from the top of the key.  Nothing but net.  To this day, it’s still one of the coolest things I have ever seen, and that game with my dad was one of the happiest moments of my childhood (and my life).  It’s no surprise that my dream job was to work for a pro sports team in the NBA (a job I got right after college).

Here’s my quick answer to question #2: When I was 15 years old, let’s just say that I was not the fitness enthusiast that I am today.  I was athletic, but I would say that my upper-body development was equivalent to that of a 5 year-old girl.  I was puny!  One day at summer basketball camp, I was playing basketball shirtless.  During a break, one of my teammates pointed out to me and the entire team that he could see my heart beating given my frail frame.  (Note: it was true.)  Next thing I knew, the entire team was having a good laugh at my expense.  I vowed that day that I would never be laughed at for my body again.   Thinking back to this moment helped me realize that I wanted to help others avoid the pain and low self-confidence that comes from poor body image.  That’s why I eventually started my own fitness and nutrition company.

Can you see how these happy/painful experiences helped me determine what I wanted to do with my career?

If you can identify a specific job to pursue after doing this exercise, that’s great.  Do some more research, and then go for it!  If not, then just try to find an industry related to your 2 moments.  Then, start reaching out to people in that industry (even if you don’t know them!) to pick their brains on career and job opportunities.  It’s a certainty they will be aware of jobs and careers that you did not even know existed.

In summary, if you don’t enjoy your current career, then get off your “treadmill” ASAP, and find something different to do!  Exercise should be fun and so should your career!

Thanks for reading!

-Pete Leibman

President of Idealize Enterprises, LLC

President of BetterFitness BetterHealth, LLC

Explore posts in the same categories: Attitude, Get Your Dream Job NOW, Job Search Made Easy

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