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Be true to yourself: Career day advice for students at Marianas High School

The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!

Today, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, starting at 10am, I’ll be a presenter at the Marianas High School (MHS) Career Day event. The only challenge, as I see it is that I don’t really know what my career is!

By traditional definitions, I HAD a career at one time, but I gave that up. Nowadays, what others would call my "career" doesn’t fit neatly in a box, and it isn’t easily defined by a single profession, a single industry, or a single role, but by the pursuit of my passions, the fulfillment of my desires, and a personal commitment to live true to myself at all times.

In any event, as I’m actually writing this column a day before Career Day, here’s what will likely happen when I get there. (Note: All my advice is for students everywhere, not just at MHS!)

First, I’ll share my story:

"Once upon a time, there was this civil engineer who hated his career, followed his passion, started a sideline business self-publishing his own books, made enough money to quit his job, ran away to a tropical island in the South Pacific, and started a tourism business so he could give tours of the island to pretty girls every day!"

Then, I’ll tell them what I actually do from day to day:

At any given time, depending on the needs of the moment, the requests of my clients, or the mood I’m in, I might be writing a book, coaching other aspiring passionpreneurs, designing websites, composing columns, consulting other business owners on internet marketing, or selling the virtues of Saipan as a destination for tourists and expats, nomads, and new residents. At at other times, you’ll find me basking in the sun on the rocks in Marpi doing absolutely nothing at all.
I don’t separate my career from my lifestyle. In other words, what I choose to do every day "for a living" is determined by the lifestyle I want to live. Many people choose their jobs, professions and careers based on how much money they will make. I choose mine based on how much personal freedom and control it can offer me, and by how much it allows me to live out my purpose and my passion every day.

Someone will probably ask me what my purpose is...

My purpose, as I see it, is to teach others alternative ways of thinking, acting and being in order to discover their own truth about themselves and why they are here.

Then, someone will probably ask me what my own passion is...

Most of what I do revolves around my writing and communication ability. The primary talent that I have that helps me fulfill my purpose, create products to sell, generate income, and, thereby choose my "career" is my ability to string a sensible sentence or two together. I think I can write well enough to communicate valuable ideas.
Through my writing, I am able to create books that people want to buy. Then, combined with what I’ve learned about selling on the internet, I can create (write) websites that communicate the value in those books, and persuade people to buy them.

Then, someone will probably ask how much money I make...

And, I’ll artfully avoid the question because:
- how much money I make has no bearing on how much you can make. (In my own consulting practice, I’ve often helped people make more money than I do)
- if you follow my advice and pursue your passion, your own "career" will look nothing like mine, so that’s like deciding if you want to become a baker, by asking a candle-stick maker how much money she makes!
- In my country, it’s considered rude to ask that question!
However, I will mention as a teaser that when I wrote my first book, and started selling it by mail-order way before the internet came along, I made enough money to match my civil engineering income!

Then, I’ll share what the bottom line is for me...

Because I live true to myself, I get to choose my clients, my business partners, what sorts of products I will sell, and what sorts of industries I will get involved in. In other words, I get to choose how I spend my time. I’m not controlled by a boss who sets my salary, stabbed in the back by co-workers who want to get ahead, and I always reserve the right to simply walk away from clients, and situations that I don’t want to work with or in.

Now, being so selective about how I spend my time, may or may not be the formula for becoming fabulously wealthy, but it’s part of the formula for living the life of my own choice, rather than someone else’s, and that is my own bottom line.

Someone may ask what they should be doing now...

Your mission, starting now, and definitely before you get to college is to determine your purpose, find out what you’re good at, and look to create something of value to share with the world so that you can "create" your way to wealth, rather than "compete" with others for it. If you simply look for a job, you’ll always be in competition with others who want the same job. However, if you create something new based on your talents and passion, you earn money based on creation, not competition.
A lifestyle and wealth generated by competition can always be taken away from you if someone faster, cheaper, flashier or younger comes along. However, a lifestyle and the ability to create wealth generated by creation is yours forever.

Then I’ll suggest that "Desire is Power"...

The desire to do a thing is an indication that you have the power to do that thing. The urge you feel to play the piano, paint, draw, write a book, compose music, help others, save the environment or teach others is God’s way of seeking full expression through you. Your desire is your God-given ability trying to push its way out into the world. It may require training and practice for you to become better at the thing, but just the fact that you have the desire is evidence of something seeking expression.

By the same token, the lack of desire to do a thing—your lack of interest in playing the piano, drawing, writing, composing, etc. also provides valuable information. You see, where there is no interest, there is no power. That should be honored, too, and you shouldn’t force yourself to do a thing that you don’t have the interest, desire or passion to do. That will lead to frustration, dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment in life.

I’ll probably complicate the issue by telling them that at the same time, it’s also important to try new things to discover what you’re good at, and what you really like.

Then, I’ll share The Payoff and the Proof...

Someone asked me recently how successful I’ve been in pursuing my passion. My answer is that the very fact that my books exist is proof that there was something of value inside me that needed to be expressed. The fact that they sell enough to sustain me is proof that this value is recognized by others. The feedback I receive from customers who’ve been helped to pursue their dreams as a result of information I shared with them is proof that the books are helping me fulfill my purpose. The recognition I receive, (for instance, CNMI Senate Resolution No. 15-54 here on Saipan) is proof that its value is being acknowledged in a wider context.

But all that is just half the story, since there’s a personal payoff that means even more to me. The payoff for me is that I have the freedom to choose where I want to live, and as a result, rather than living a frustrating life in a cold climate, stuck in a career that someone else chose for me, doing something I don’t enjoy doing just to earn money, I have the honor and privilege of being here on a beautiful island, on a warm, sunny day surrounded by bright, intelligent students eager to learn new ways of thinking and being so that they can be all they want to be! What a career!

*And yes, I know Saipan is actually in the Western Pacific!

Winners of Monday’s MLK Day Poster Contest were:

Matthew W. Thomas 2nd Grade, Grace Christian Academy, Rota
Angela Ann Guiang, K-5, Grace Christian Academy, Rota
Nadia Jade Arriola, K-4, Grace Christian, Rota

Maria G. Terlaje 3rd Grade, Mount Carmel
Rency Camacho Grace 3rd Grade, Christian Academy-Rota
Audrey Lok Lum Yue, 4th Grade Grace Christian, Saipan

Chrisha Llana, 7th Grade, Grace Christian Academy, Rota
Glengela Guiang, 7th Grade, Grace Christian Academy, Rota
Carmelita Takeshi, 8th Grade, Grace Christian Academy, Rota

Special Mention goes to
Shiara Reyes Ladera International School
for a beautiful portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.
on display at

Winners on Saipan asked to contact Joe Hill at 234-6806 during business hours to arrange pick up of their $20 prize!

Note: Ever wanted to direct your friends and family to a set of websites that revealed the best things about Saipan? Do what I do: send them to!

Note: Fans and followers of the book, Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan are encouraged to place orders at A new shipment is coming soon, and people are already claiming their copies even before it arrives! Don’t miss out!

Until next week, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!--Walt

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