The Magic Sauce To A Successful Career

Career managers take note: I’ll be the first to admit it: “My name is Dawn Rasmussen, and I am a recovering career control freak.”

In my 20s, I had set ideas and goals that I was going to achieve by the time I hit 30. I came very close to achieving them, so of course, like most people, I set new, even more aggressive career objectives.

((Cue “Highway to Hell” music… ))

Then life happened.

Sometimes, I am convinced, that despite our better intentions, life throws us that curve ball that is a game-changer.  Maybe life has a different plan for us… after all. And sometimes, when we stick to what WE plan to do, it turns out that we end up chaining ourselves to something we didn’t want to begin with.


Photo courtesy of By Curtis Lovell II (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

No, I am not going to get all “woo-woo” in this post about fate and other things unscientific, but I am going to share an observation that I’ve verified time and again ever since I started to let go of the proverbial steering wheel.

And therein lies the nugget: You’ve gotta let go of the steering wheel.  That’s where the fun begins!

We all need to get onto the highway that gets us pointed in the right career direction, but the more you try to furiously speed towards your destination, the less control you actually have because you are so focused on the final end point, you are missing some very interesting side trips along the way that could flip your map upside down.

Not that we all need to spend our work life puttering down back roads, but the more you can relax and enjoy the ride… the more you will get out of the journey.

And isn’t this what it is all about, anyway???

Let’s face it: Who we are now is not who we were before, and just like us, opportunities shift and change in a kaleidoscope of door openings and closings.  Timing, of course, is everything.

But if you at least get yourself on the right trajectory, you can find yourself in the right place at the right time… if you let it.  Being rigid has quite the adverse effect because the more control you strive to have, the less things turn out the way you wanted them to.

Another thing that I have found is that if you allow it, life will provide you with the right opportunities at the right time.  And the right people.

My point with this post is that you do need to have some career destinations in mind, but where the magic sauce really happens is when you stop trying to be in such total control to drive the end results, and let life take over for a while.  The most amazing things can happen if you are open and receptive to them.

And if you let go once in awhile, I’ll bet that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

One Comment

diane richmond

"Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind." It is easy to become frightened or depressed during the job search, especially when everything is not happening quickly enough. I am guilty of that! But it is incredibly important to stay positive and picture the what you want–a job, stability, abundance, so that you can attract that into your life, the way you have attracted the amazing people and circumstances into your life (per your post). And of course, be open to different possibilities and outcomes than the exact one that you have pictured; the Universe may have a different plan to get you what you desire, and you have to be able to see and use (in a good way) the people and circumstances being guided your way. And to all that I add, do all you can (work like hell) to make the most of every single opportunity– I have no problem with "woo-woo." Use whatever works!

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