A new book by Jay Conrad Levinson & Andrew Neitlich

The One Career Asset You Have that is Precious and Irreplaceable

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There is one career asset that you have that you can't replace if you waste it, and that is absolutely precious compared to any other asset.

It's not your network, because there are billions of people on the planet and you can always meet more people. It's not money, because, if you are creative, you can make more money even if you are broke. It's not your skills, because you can constantly upgrade those and develop new ones.

A colleague of mine who used to play professional basketball in the NBA knows what it is, because he tells the youth he mentors about it all the time. The kids he speaks to often come from difficult backgrounds and are one bad decision away from going to jail for a long time. Similarly, he works with many young pro athletes who -- despite making millions of dollars -- lack the moral compass to make smart decisions; they could end up in jail as soon as their playing days are over.

What does jail take away? Among other things, it takes away your time. You can't get back time that you waste.

Now, I know that most readers aren't going to go to jail. But, as one popular book from the 1970s said in its title, "We are all doing time." Many of us are in jobs that we hate, living lives that we don't love, living in places we don't like, or not living up to our fullest potential. We are wasting our precious time -- and we can never get it back.

This is not a practice life. As far as we know, this is the only life we get, and time moves faster and faster the older we get.

Are you wasting your time? Are you spending too much time watching television, eating and drinking junk, and tolerating work that you can't stand or that doesn't matter?

In my own case, I've designed my career around how I want to spend my life. I figured out about 15 years ago that my passion is writing, teaching, and speaking. I also figured out -- after traveling every single week for business during a 3-year stint in consulting -- that I wanted to be close to family, work from home, and have the freedom to play tennis, take long walks by the beach, and go on vacation.

So I created my career around these goals. It took a few years to land on my feet, and I made some big mistakes along the way. Now I am spending my time exactly how I want to, on my terms. I don't make as much money as many of my business school classmates from way back when, but I am probably one of the most fortunate in terms of flexibility and time. And my income is plenty to cover a fine lifestyle, retirement, and kids' education.

What about you? How are you spending your brief time on this planet? I sincerely hope you have no regrets.

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