Over the weekend I saw a fun, clever movie called “Here Comes the Boom.” In it, Kevin James plays an apathetic biology teacher. His major achievement, Teach of the Year, is eight years behind him. He is late for school, and generally lacks enthusiasm for anything.
But Kevin’s character is friends with the music teacher, played by Henry Winkler. When Kevin finds out that the music program will be discontinued due to lack of funds, he stands up and passionately states that somehow he will find the money to keep it going–$48,000.
Even though it seems like an impossible task, he sets forth to generate the money. What happens along the way provides some real life lessons in how to accomplish difficult tasks–like changing careers, finding a new job, or gaining a new position within a company. I’ve seen these steps work time and time again, just as they did in this bit of fiction:
- Start with what you know to do. It’s important to take action, even if you aren’t sure the action will be the final solution. In the movie, the teacher starts by teaching Citizenship classes. He knows it won’t possibly earn him the $48,000, but he knows it’s a start. In your job search, start with an information interview–with anyone you know. You’ll be surprised at the ideas that flow.
- Allow new people and ideas into your life. In the Citizenship class, Kevin meets a Dutch man–a martial arts fitness guru–who asks for extra help with his studies. In the process of helping his student, Kevin is introduced to the BIG idea–a form of mixed arts wrestling. This provides the vehicle for the teacher to meet his goal.
- Extend yourself and give to someone else. Kevin’s kindness in providing tutoring creates a karmic debt. The fitness guru wants to help his teacher in some way. That’s the way it works. If you reach out to help another job seeker, you will receive help in return. Always.
- Let synchronicity and networking do their magic. The martial arts expert can only help so far. But, he knows a boxing-wrestling coach that can take the teacher from rank amateur to professional status. This is where many job seekers quit–they don’t follow up with friends of friends. I find this “second level” of contact is actually GOLDEN. Your friends love you and want to help–and they frequently know just the right people who can help the most. Let them introduce you.
- Accept moral support from friends and family. Of course, in the process of winning the minor fights, the teacher gets injured and his goal seems hopeless. That’s when the school rallies and the entire school band shows up to support him in a fight. You can only get support from family and friends if you let them know your progress. Keep them informed about your little wins along the way. Ask them to send good thoughts and pray for successful interviews. The positive energy causes YOU to be more effective and hopeful. When you have people rooting for you, you will perform better.
- Notice that huge efforts energize your entire life. The teacher goes from being an apathetic couch potato to a vibrant, involved, determined, effective person. The one thing changes everything. In the movie, he reaches out to Salma Hayek, the school nurse. She has always rebuffed him before. But, with a renewed purpose in his life, she is suddenly interested and willing to let him in her life. His passion is appealing.
The Big Boom isn’t just the handle for the teacher-turned-professional-wrestler. It’s a metaphor for how determination and action cause a Big Boom in life. I’m hoping you get some inspiration for your career search.