Is NOT Having a Degree REALLY Holding You Back in Your Career?

This is a topic close to my heart –

(as someone who has no degree, but who has addressed MBA students at UCT Graduate School of Business; as someone with a basic matric, but who has been invited as guest speaker addressing Professors and Heads of Department at for eg. Central University of Technology; as someone with no formal training, but who has been quoted in Business Day, Financial Mail and other illustrious media)

– and it shatters a myth that keeps people low, hopeless and accepting of mediocrity, when more is possible, sooner than they think. It’s a piece by Steve Chandler:

 Credentials were vital in the old world—the world of my father and mother.

You’d apply for a job and people would say, “Where did you get your degree?” or “What’s your degree in?”

“Alcoholism,” I would say.  “Bankruptcy and divorce.”

And you know what?  They didn’t care.

Oh, they weren’t exactly happy with my credentials.  But they moved quickly to the next question-the question they really wanted to ask—-“Can you help us?”

Yes, I think so, or at least let’s do a pilot seminar, a trial workshop and find out.  I ended up training more than 20 Fortune 500 companies that way and a couple hundred smaller businesses, schools and organizations.

Not because of my credentials.  But because I could help.  I could serve.

That’s good news for all of us today.  It’s no longer who you know or what your credentials are, now it’s WHAT YOU CAN DO!

This allows you to build your skills and deepen your professional strength any way you like.  It’s all online now.  What do you want to learn how to do?  It’s all right there.

A woman client told me not long ago in subdued, breathy tones (the kind of voice reserved for the most sacred stories of suffering and victimization, stories that have formed the helpless robot), “I am sad that I never had the education that I should have had.  Not being given that educational advantage, my ability to get a high-paying job has been limited.”

And I could hear the hushed reverence in her voice as she described the tenets of her victim religion.  It was deeply personal for her, and the fact that she was “sharing” her weakness with me was an example of how “authentic” she had learned to be.

Except for one little thing.  One flaw in the presentation:  it was all nonsense.  She could have learned anything any time including now.  This now, yes.  This very minute inside this very day today.

People hire you today because of what you can do.

[Of course when entering the job market with any qualification or experience, but especially if you have no degree, etc, you HAVE TO present yourself more powerfully, aggressively and in a smart, focussed way. Your CV, for eg. has to be hard hitting. Contact me about helping you with yours, I’m at gerardlr [at]


Is This What’s Stopping You From Chasing Your Dreams?

Maybe you’re thinking: “I have no time … to learn a new skill … to follow my passion … to develop a passion … to build my dream … to dabble in a new sideline business (that I can grow into my retirement empire!”

No time. Too busy. This piece then is for you. Also have just written CVs for several very high earning Executives and am amazed at how much they pack into their days and months. Astonishing. They’re focussed alright. Maybe that’s a key. First knowing what we want. Then going for it.

I’m rambling. Read this rather. Thought provoking piece from Seth Godin.

But it’s better than TV

At the local health food store lunch buffet, they offer stir fried tempeh.
I never get it. Not because I don’t like it, but because there are always so many other things on the buffet that I prefer.

That’s why I don’t watch TV. At all. There are so many other things I’d rather do in that moment.

Broadcast TV was a great choice when a> there weren’t a lot of other options and b> when everyone else was watching the same thing, so you needed to see it to be educated.

Now, though, you could:

  • Run a little store on eBay
  • Write a daily blog
  • Write a novel
  • Start an online community about your favorite passion
  • Go to meetups in your town
  • Volunteer to tutor a kid, in person or online
  • Learn a new language, verbal or programming
  • Write hand written thank you notes each evening to people who helped you out or did a good job
  • Produce small films and publish them online
  • Listen to the one thousand most important operas
  • Read a book or two every evening
  • Play a game of Scrabble with your family

None of them are perfect. Each of them are better than TV.

Clay Shirky has noticed the trend of talented people putting five or six hours an evening to work instead of to waste. Add that up across a million or ten million people and the output is astonishing. He calls it cognitive surplus and it’s one of the underappreciated world-changing stories of our time.


Oh and remember – if you’re not sure what you want, if you feel directionless and a bit lost – go to “Life’s Greatest Question” here: it’ll guide through the exact steps you need to get the focus and passion high achievers always seem to have naturally. The link is safe. Go there now.

Encouraging: Honda Video, “Failure: The Secret to Success”

Job hunting can be demoralising. For the first time in your life you can feel like a failure. You wonder if you’ll ever succeed again. The truth is this: you can. And not only you can. You can come back wiser, more successful, with more insight, more empathy, more of a grip on what’s important in life. A better person. More valuable.

By the way – I wouldn’t be being a friend if I weren’t to also just make it clear that sometimes we’re the architect of our own demise/crisis. Through a lack of direction, poor choices, bad habits. I recommend this to help you turn it around – to help you ID what you love and how to chase it.

It’s called “Life’s Greatest Question” – life is too short for a crisis, check it out:

2 Clues to Motivation

Doing my hill sprints this morning – with a bit of a drizzle and in a gentle cool breeze (life!!!) after a major heat wave – I was thinking of why we do stuff.

I asked Ethan (my 5 year old son): “Hey, why don’t you come with me?” And he said: “I’m too sleepy” while lying in the warm spot in my bed I had vacated at 5:39. Cute. But NOT cute when we’re adults and our response is the same.

Why stay in a lousy job instead of moving? Why don’t we do the very things that can give us our desired result (like a new job), why don’t we like trying new methods? I get this a lot with job hunters – just doing the same old things, over and over and over. They’re not motivated to try new things or to persist.

Why don’t we exercise when so clearly it’s good for us? What motivates us for more than a day or two to make a change? What keeps us going through the hard yards … to the finish … to our ideal?

2 Clues That Occurred to Me

Just plain “maturity” can sometimes get us going: knowing that life involves some tough assignments, so knuckle down and get them done; and “progress” is another: once we start seeing positive results we’re motivated to keep going. But it’s complicated with fear playing a big part too.

A Scary Observation

It’s pretty scary thinking that perhaps we’ll look back on our life and see – too late – that our ‘dream life’ or just a ‘better life’ was just a few steps away all the time. We missed it because we just weren’t motivated enough to take and keep taking steps in the right direction.

Ok, I’m getting way too philosophical! But it’s important. If you’d like to read more on the topic you should check this out. Some real lightbulb moments ahead on the topic of motivation.