If you didn’t do what you do, what would you do? Craig Turnbull

Jonathan ChancellorSeptember 15, 20160 min read


When I was seven, I decided I wanted to be an Astronaut, right after the moon landings.

Then a few years later, I realized I could never be an Astronaut because I wasn’t an American (though in the last decade or so that has changed). So I thought I would be a fighter pilot instead. I reached Year 11 in High School and enrolled in all the classes I needed, including the double maths classes.

I quickly realized that I could not cope with the x’s and y’z over z’s. I was only any good with numbers that had dollar signs in front of them. So I dropped out of the high level maths, to the mid-level maths class and so ended my fighter pilot ambitions.

I toyed with the idea of being an air traffic controller but that didn’t work because I didn’t have the multi-tasking skills required. Two years after I finished high school, the Air Force changed the maths requirements – the mid level maths would have been enough for me to qualify as a pilot.

But for the sake of an administrative policy I may have had a career flying F-111 or F-18’s and maybe retired to fly Jumbo jets as a commercial pilot. And I would not have had a career that included real estate sales – new homes and established, finance broking, financial planning, property investing, renovating and finally real estate development. And I would not have written five books on real estate investing, nor spent years educating thousands of people on how to achieve wealth via property.

Gone are the days when what you do, you did for life. You trained for one career and that was it. Now, it is likely that my four year old son could have up to six different career paths over a forty year working life. Much of this is due to technological changes making some roles obsolete. Some of it is due to the aspirations of humans who want more from their daily roles than their parents demanded.

Right through our school lives, as children, we are encouraged to decide what we want to “do” when we grow up. My experience has been that not so many teenagers can be sure of what they want to do. I know of many who began one university course only to leave or change to a totally different academic stream. When I left school, still crushed from not being able to become a fighter pilot, I decided that I would be rich instead.

I looked through the newspapers and found that the highest paying job around at the time was as a mining engineer. So I headed off to Kalgoorlie to the School of Mines. I lasted 18 months, quickly realizing it wasn’t for me and discovering that if I wanted to make a lot of cash all I had to do was work underground, which I did for several years. I saved enough money to start investing in property, which started me down another path.

All I wanted to do was make money and it seemed property investing, renovating and ultimately development was what I should be doing. I’m glad I’m on this path of doing. I have made many mistakes along the way, but every day I learn something new and I have been successful over the years.

I do what I do because I love it. I get a charge from creating beautiful affordable homes and land for people who want to own a piece of the great Australian dream. I do it to make money but I don’t judge the success of what I do by how much I may make. Rather, I like to drive by a development five years after it is finished and see what it looks like. Are there happy families living there? Does it still look fabulous? Did the people who bought make money themselves?

Over decades of working with and educating thousands of people on real estate investing, I have recognized that few are really happy with what they “do” every day. I have had people in tears, telling me they hate their jobs and the only reason they go to work is to get paid so they can pay their bills. That must be an awful feeling spending so much time doing something you don’t really want to do.

Life is far too short for that.

So – if you didn’t do what you do – what would you do?

There are so many choices these days. You can train and re-train for just about anything. It is easier to start your own business that ever before. The only limits really are the ones you place on yourself. If youaren’t completely happy doing what you do every day, my suggestion to you is to make a change as soon as you can. There are plenty of choices. If you don’t really know what you want to do, find a way to experiment. Take some part-time roles in a new field or industry. Explore.

If you aren’t doing what you really want to do, what is stopping you?

Do what you really want to do, whatever that is. You will find that life will be much happier.

Craig Turnbull is an author, property developer and real estate investor. He can be contacted here.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.
Investment Property
Real Estate Sales
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