successcircles course correct blog

Course Correct To Your Dream Career and Life

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You have to course correct on a regular basis, or as the peak performance coach Tony Robbins says “2mm shifts”, to get to where you want to be.

The path to being successful in your career and life is never a straight line. Although money is important, it’s really the passion pulling you forward that will bring sustainability in your career and overall happiness.

For many of you who don’t know me personally, here is a bit of my story.

In the early 1990s, I went to a top engineering college in the Tri-State area. I didn’t know what I wanted to do during this time. All things considered, I was decent at a lot of things. However, I was not exceptional at any one. This is the reason I chose Chemical Engineering as my career path. I thought it was the highest paid field at that time. Regrettably, I chose it for the wrong reasons.

Fast forward 3 years later. I became a Junior Process Engineer at a chemical plant near the southern tip of New Jersey. On one of many lengthy drives to my full-time co-op assignment, I was driving my 1992 Honda Civic close to 80 miles an hour. Unfortunately, it skidded and hit the side of a bridge on a fast moving highway. As a result, my car caught fire and was completely totaled.

I walked away with just a minor case of whiplash thanks to the safety air bags. Afterward, a friendly police officer drove me back to my dormitory room. I laid in a fetal position for the next few hours both grateful to be alive and felt a sense of numbness. I had a gnawing feeling of a lack of purpose and knew something had to shift.

It’s Time to Course Correct

I realized that I would need to course correct in my career. It took that moment of dancing with death for me to realize that I didn’t want to die doing something that I wasn’t passionate about.

What I was beginning to be passionate about was technology. I had seen an early stage of the Internet which to me was so much more exciting. In each of my co-op jobs during college, it was those technical skills that stood out.

Create a Roadmap

I created a roadmap for the next two years using an Excel spreadsheet. I saw that by doubling on credits and taking summer classes, I could follow my new passion in technology and graduate with a degree in Computer Engineering in addition to Chemical Engineering.

What that life changing accident taught me is that we each have an internal GPS system. Just as a driver with a GPS system needs to make adjustments due to the hundreds of different variables in the way, we each need to continually course correct to arrive at our dreams. Success is never a straight line.

That which is measured, improves. That which is measured and reported, improves exponentially.Pearson’s Law

Seven Careers in a Lifetime?

An average person makes 7 career changes over a lifetime. In my case, I already made 6 major career shifts over the past 20 years. This made me realize that it’s never too late to follow our passions. Sometimes, those passions change and that’s okay.

We often need to be reminded of our own greatness. As such, having the right peer support team makes a world of difference. I was able to course correct and did that career shift in college was because of my encouraging peer group.

It so happened that my dorm roommate was studying to be a computer engineer, as was my neighbor, and many of my close friends. It didn’t hurt that the boom was underway and many of us could predict that it would be big and exciting.

Your Peer Group and Environment is Stronger than Willpower

After I graduated from Engineering School, my two new roommates and some college friends became my new peer group. I would spend most of my weekends with them. One of my roommates, Victor, got incorporated and began to flourish in his 1099 technology consulting work. He mentored me and I followed suit, leaving my first full-time job to do the same.

Likewise, I mentored our other roommate. Several months later, he followed our footsteps and would eventually work at his dream job for Cisco Systems. He is still there to this day.

As my peer group evolved over the years, I found my career choices shifted as well. Often, I needed to course correct based on failures. I prefer to call them breakdowns. What I’ve learned is that behind every breakdown, there is a breakthrough or opportunity if you’re ready to see it.

After 9/11, I realized that I no longer wanted to work in a cubicle. I wanted to use the skills that I had learned to build communities and make a difference in the world. That lead me to start a nonprofit called Metrofly. For the two years that we ran it, its mission was to adopt a different charity organization each month and throw a party with a purpose. I learned the skill of marketing through running that nonprofit. I still use those skills today.

Over the years, I got better at reframing challenges and see what’s possible on the other side. In fact, this is one of the core daily coaching questions used in SuccessCircles, a peer-to-peer support and accountability community that I started more than 10 years ago. It has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and job seekers around the world reach their dreams.

Course Correct10 Lessons I’ve Learned

I have learned 10 lessons over the years that may help you on your journey:

  1. It’s helpful to have a goal and a roadmap of where we want to be. At the same time, we need to be flexible on our journey to get there. We naturally steer toward what we focus on. The road itself will have different obstacles and curves but it’s up to us to keep our eye on the prize we are after. Plot your roadmap in a way that you can review it often. You can download one for free at
  2. The dashes on the highway of our life connect. With each step on our career path, there will be some skills that allow us to course correct and shift into a future career. When you show up to work, be your very best no matter what. Some of the best skills I have developed came from my earliest high school jobs i.e. catering, volunteering, and customer relations.
  3. We learn from every breakdown. As such, failure doesn’t exist unless we believe it does. Behind every breakdown, we can find an opportunity if we’re willing to see it. You simply keep asking the question, “What have I learned from this challenge and what new opportunities have now shown up?” Let’s take personal responsibility for our breakdowns. The moment we own the journey, the fog in front of us will begin to clear.
  4. Develop the mindset of perpetual pursuit. Imagine that each spoke of the bicycle wheel in the picture above represents an area of life i.e. Career, Money, Leisure/Fun, Family, Health, and Personal Growth. If any one of these spokes is out of whack, it can affect other areas. It’s likely that the bike won’t go too far. Therefore, it’s important that you lead a balanced life.
  5. Personal reflection is a great thing. However, it doesn’t spend too much time looking at the rear-view mirror. Journal your growth and victories on a daily basis. Remember that each big victory becomes a reference point. And, you can do it again. These cumulative wins will give you a new found confidence that you can do anything.
  6. Track and measure your progress. If something is repeatedly not working, course correct. Remember Pearson’s law.
  7. Gamify your approach and make it fun. Every game has rules of success. And, it begins with a huddle to strategize the plays, a scoreboard to keep track of results, and a team of people playing with you. For over 10 years, I began almost ever single workday with a 20-30 minute huddle call with a member from SuccessCircles.
  8. Your GPS system will best be realigned with the support of the right peer group. Generally, it can be an amazing reminder system because people are supporting you and cheering you on. Consequently, you may attain paradigm shifts toward your goals and dreams. What is needed is you receive feedback or another unique perspective on a problem. You are the average of the 5 closest people around you. It takes having the right mentor and team to propel you forward to your dreams. It takes accountability.
  9. Be courageous and practice the art of asking for support because people want to help you. Usually, you never have to go at it alone.
  10. Once you learn a skill or a trade, pay it forward. Above all, mentor another person. Humility is the pathway to abundance. Furthermore, remember to never give up and always move forward.

There are a number of support networks available. If you are willing, search your local area or think virtually. Are you interested in joining a support community for the next 90 days? Consider my mastermind community at


Joseph Varghese aka “The Breakthrough Engineer” is a Peak Performance Coach and Online Marketing Strategist. Also, he is the Co-Organizer of the New York Power Team. It’s New York’s largest monthly personal development and leadership community. He empowers others to stay focused, driven, and living their highest potential. For over 12 years, he is immersed in the science of peak performance, productivity, and gamification. As a result, Joseph is a thought leader in the area of peer accountability.

Since 2005, Joseph has been facilitating SuccessCircles and PeerMomentum which is a Peer-to-Peer Mastermind and Accountability Community. These programs are the ultimate blend of productivity and relationships, delivering the highest impact. Each member is a success story.

Do this daily and make your dreams come alive!

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They say that most every person has somewhere in the range of 65,000 thoughts per day. 90% of these thoughts are repetitive, useless and past based. Many of these repetitive thoughts create vicious cycles in our mind and keep us in inaction instead of being in action in the things that matter.

Many people medicate themselves with poor habits or meditate themselves to minimize these thoughts so they can function on an ongoing basis.

I have a lot of direct experience in this area which is one of the reasons for writing this. My Dad was more or less a minimalist and he was someone who made things happen, from investments, building projects, and most to him importantly bringing family together. His background as a missionary in India humbled him to make this happen and create an amazing life for his family.

After my Dad passed away ten years ago, I took on being more like him and simplifying my life. Up until that point, there were serious clutter issues from years of collecting stuff, open loops from promises being made that weren’t met. My home at the time in NJ was full of excess furniture, trinkets from travels, engineering books from my college days, party material and clothes. It was basically “stuff ” that held me back to different phases of my life before, hence the old me. Read More

Relationship Success Tips: About Accountability Circles, Peer-Leaders and Your Personal Posse

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Have you ever noticed that every successful person has a team with whom they surround themselves?

For example, the head coach of any sports team has countless assistants and trainers. Every CEO has a board of directors. Of course, the President has his cabinet, as well as numerous other advisers and consultants.

And what about you? Who is in your cabinet? Who are your assistant coaches? And who is on your board of directors? Do you have anybody?

One big reason people have difficulty accomplishing their goals is they try to do all the work on their own. In other words, they try to do everything in a vacuum, all by themselves, and without outside assistance. Read More

Perception of Time

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By Evan Lenz

I recently signed up for an amazing service called Peer Success Circles. It has absolutely transformed the way I go about my work. With a daily accountability partner, I’ve been much more effective and efficient at getting things done and moving forward on my goals. I’m now in my fifth week of this program, and I’m still loving it. It has become a new way of life. I should have started this long ago.

But one thing I’m learning this week is that I still need to take time for reflection. (Thankfully, the questions in this program naturally drive you into doing that too.) In the past, I actually reflected—or daydreamed—too much. I’ve now become much more action-oriented. Each day, I create a plan of attack, complete with a specific schedule of how I’m hoping to spend my time. And I track how I do—how closely I stick to the schedule, taking note of where I deviated. I’m developing new habits. Rather than habitually looking back at where I just was, I move forward. Reviewing how I did at the end of each day does wonders for my self-awareness, for staying on track, and for finding ways of doing better tomorrow. Read More

The Accountability Factor…

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Hello my friends… There is something very important that I have to share with you today. It’s called ‘Accountability’. If used, this simple and very easy to use strategy can literally skyrocket the results you are getting in your life right now.

Did you ever stop and think about how much you used to get done during your younger school years? It’s something I’ve pondered about… and what I’ve come up with was we were being kept accountable… we didn’t want to be, but we were!

If you think about it, you definitely achieved a whole lot. If I think back to all I accomplished in school and sports… it blows my mind! I now believe a lot of that success came down to being held accountable to other people. Just like all of you I had parents, teachers and coaches that I had to so call ‘answer’ to.

Now I’m not saying you need to ‘answer’ to anyone, but what I have found is if you are accountable to someone besides yourself… you are more likely to get things done and be more productive. Read More

A Fresh Start In the Day

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Four years ago, I just wasn’t getting the results in my business and personal life that I wanted. In fact many days seemed to be the same story. I kept telling myself, “There’s too much to do and I’m overwhelmed!”, “I’m not getting enough clients,” “I don’t have time for the gym.”

I had been struggling for a few years playing with being an entrepreneur and often missing the structure of working in corporate. I just wasn’t making ends meet.

It also seemed as if the same vicious cycle was happening week after week,

But once I realized that I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, I called my buddy Dan up.

Dan was experiencing almost the exact same problem. He had a great coach, yet not enough momentum in his business and personal life. Read More