Cal Newport has become a known name in the self-improvement section of the library/bookstore. I recently read his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, hoping to improve my own life, writing, and work.
The title comes from an interview with Steve Martin (the comedian, not the famous animal behaviorist- it gets confusing when I mention these names because you never know…). His interviewer asked Steve his advice for aspiring comedians. “Be do good they can’t ignore you.”
This is incredible advice. It really is. The book goes on to explain how “follow your passion” is bad career advice. Better career advice is to work hard and become so amazing at your field, you are an expert who is sought out.
Okay, I completely agree with this line of thought for artists, writers, entrepreneurs. But not for the field of zookeeping. Zookeeping is the only field I honestly feel doesn’t follow his very sound advice. That’s because zookeepers get into their field through passion. For conservation, animals, whatever. It’s the passion which pushes them to go through school, get an unpaid internship, accrue thousands of dollars in debt, and then pursue a career which notoriously underpays even experienced personnel.
But even within the field, I can see how Cal Newport’s words ring somewhat true for anyone. Passion won’t get you the job you want. Especially in zookeeping. I mean, zoos will want you to be the best of the best. Be so good your zoo of choice can’t ignore you. This takes experience- volunteering, interning, studying, professional organization membership and involvement, attending conferences. But I tend to think only those with a true passion and calling will go to these lengths to pursue a career working with animals.
But zookeeping is my old career. And using passion to drive me is probably why I am going insane. It worked in my animal trainer days, but it is NOT working as a writer and fitness consultant. I have to change gears. Be so good they can’t ignore me.
It’s the same drill, I think. Writer conferences instead of animal professional conferences. Read more. Keep writing. But use your skills learned and IMPROVE my writing. Writing the same way fro 5 years isn’t going to help. Attend classes, join groups and take in feedback.
Keep optimizing my life and make improvements through the Optimize Coach program. Really pay attention during live sessions. Really let the information and lessons sink in and practice (REALLY PRACTICE) what we discuss each week.
Keep going. Keep working on myself, my craft, and well, my passion. ZooFit is a passion right now. Unless I up my game and change my mentality, that’s all it will be. But when I prove to others how great ZooFit and conservation fitness is for ourselves and the planet, I’ll be so good they can’t ignore me. Then it will be a movement. And watch out, world.