I laughed when I googled the meaning of punching your ticket. It came as a surprise. In slang, it means, you’re a stiff. Dead. Passed on. Entered the Pearly Gates. With my definition, nothing could be further from the truth. Punching your ticket, to me, is filled with life giving, purpose-fulfilling possibilities. I have been intentionally punching my ticket for years and have grown in self-awareness, value to my employers, value to my family and friends, and as a bonus, I like myself a whole lot better. My definition presents the total opposite of lifeless and dead in every way.
Many years ago I focused all my career energy on one employer’s requests. I enjoyed sixteen years of many promotions and very “corporate” experiences. Management capitalized on a few of my innate competencies including recruiting and “selling the company”. I succeeded in that narrow field to the exclusion of other developmental opportunities which came my way. I put all my eggs in one basket with the belief that I would be taken care of as the company grew.
Unexpected change. Then, as many, many large companies did, they executed the unthinkable. They “restructured and downsized” as a result of the economic downturn of 2007. Many of us, including me, were casualties. That basket of eggs looked paltry when I had to take them to market and “fit” them into other company cultures. That is when “punching my ticket” became a clarion call. I started living my definition of “punching my ticket:” taking advantage of every opportunity which came my way to expand my options should I ever experience “rightsizing” again.
Keep growing. Since then, I have intentionally punched my ticket to gain new competencies, insights, and skill sets which benefit me personally and my employer professionally. As an example: I received a Six Sigma Green Belt in 2013, helped with recent Northern Arizona United Way campaigns, gained a certification as a Sr. Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) in 2012, a Notary designation through the State of Arizona in 2012, became a BLS instructor in 2015. All of these strengthen my ability to live my purpose which is to help people get where they need to be. I get to help point people in the right direction through health training, advising, instructing, connecting, and making their intentions legal.
Punching your ticket in an indirect way is taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others.
Want to punch your ticket too? A few suggestions:
- If you have 60 credits left to get your degree, finish it
- If you have been putting off finding out how to operate your own business, do it
- If you have been dreaming of hiking down the Grand Canyon, punch that ticket
- If your employer offers you optional training or opportunities to stretch your leadership abilities,say yes
Downturns in the economy will come and go but education, experiences, skills, and abilities will expand your options and increase the chances you will thrive. No one can take those “punches” away.
Get connected and make your intentions known. You will be more valuable to yourself and the world around you! Your resulting aliveness will shine. Tell us what’s in your future!