Everyone wants to know how I got my job. I get asked this all of the time and it’s a valid question because what I do is definitely unique.
But the answer isn’t that I got it as most people get jobs—by searching, applying and landing them.
The truth is that I kind of made it. It’s an interesting story actually.
You may not know this, but I wasn’t hired at our company to speak, write or do media. I was hired as the Youth Projects Coordinator to develop products for youth and teens, and that’s what I did for the first eight months I was on the team.
Then, in May of 2010, Dave’s daughter Rachel Cruze graduated from college and joined our team to be the face of our youth brands. A sales advisor on our team had worked out a deal with a Christian conference for that summer. We would send Rachel to speak at all 20 of their events across the country, and they would sell our bible study, Generation Change, at their events. It was teeing up to be a win-win deal.
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However, through a series of miscommunications, the conference booked her travel—and it turned out to be more than we agreed to. They had Rachel traveling to a different city every day that summer and spending 16-18 hours each day in an airport or on a plane.
Dave saw the schedule they created and decided to pull her from half of the events to reduce her travel. He agreed that she could do ten of them, any ten that the conference chose, but no more than that based on the schedule.
Now, during this time as the Youth Projects Coordinator, I was the lucky person that inherited this arrangement that was quickly taking a downward turn. The sales advisor had stepped out of the picture, which meant I got to be the bearer of bad news to the conference. I had to inform them that two weeks before she was supposed to go on the road, Rachel would not be doing that crazy schedule.
I prayed, took a deep breath and made the call. When I spoke with the coordinator from the conference, I apologized for making such a last-minute change but explained that the travel schedule booked was more than we had agreed to. I said that Rachel could be at ten of the events, but no more.
“But Christy,” he responded while panicking, “we have her slotted for 20 dates, not 10. What am I going to do for those other 10 speaking events?”
And without thinking or having run this by anyone, I answered him with the best idea I had in the moment.
“I’ll do them.”
“What?” he said. “Can you speak?”
“I think so,” I said with an inexplicable confidence that came from only God knows where.
Had I ever spoken before? Sure—to twenty teenagers crammed in someone’s living room for a 15 minute “talk” about Jesus for Young Life. Sure. That counted.
So that summer, I went on the road with Rachel. I went to all ten of her speaking events and ran her presentation for her, and then I went to the other ten events and did the talk also.
But that was just the beginning. That fall, our team realized that our company was in desperate need of more speakers. We were turning down 3,000 events a year for Dave because he couldn’t do them all. That’s when the Speaker’s Group was created.
And who do you think just slid into that group with no questions asked? You guessed it: me. That’s right—I never had an audition, speaker sizzle reel, or application. I never interviewed for that job and I never knew I wanted it, because it didn’t even exist when I started.
Instead, I solved a problem. The conference needed a speaker, we needed to fulfill our commitment, and I stepped up to the plate.
Sheryl Sandberg says in her book Lean In that many of the best career advancements don’t come from seeking a certain position and applying for them. They come from you simply doing something to solve a problem, and then that “thing” becomes your job.
That may not be true for everyone, but I can say from experience that it’s certainly true for me. Solving a problem turned into a position on the Speaker’s Group, which has now turned into being a Ramsey Personality.
Make no mistake—I didn’t get here alone. I am definitely a turtle on a fencepost that was put here through other people. God opens doors, Dave generously shares his platform and many leaders believe in me to allow me to do this. But none of this would have happened if I wasn’t willing to put myself out there and make the jump.
And the same is true for you. If you want something unique and special, if you want a job that is awesome and may not yet exist, you may just need to step up to the plate.
Who knows? The problem you’re solving may actually be an opportunity you’re seizing without realizing it.
Then you don’t have to wait to “get” a job. You can go out there and make it.