By Susan Diane Howell, MBA



Such a myriad of career choices are laid out before you. To be successful in any career path, you will have to be in the top 10% of skill and competency. Law students who achieve the top 10% of grade averages are most likely to be invited into the most prestigious law firms. The top 10% rule applies in every field. Your ability to make good earnings equivocates with your excellence. You must be the best of the best. The best techniques, the best computer skills, the best practical knowledge, the best educational background, the best reputation, the best customer service, the best tools of trade, the best advertising campaigns, the best communication skills, the best storefront and interior design, the best interpersonal skills, the best portfolios, the best internships, the best resume, the best professional contacts and the best problem solving skills. The top 10% requires absolute focus on your endeavor at hand. Rather than being a jack of all trades at all times, you will be the master of one priority at every point in your life’s journey.


As most personal empowerment speakers would conclude, what would you do if money were not an issue? What do you love to do in hobbies, in your free time and for fun? Are you a creative? Do you enjoy dabbling with paintbrushes, training at the gym, doodling with fashion design ideas? Are you a humanitarian at heart? Do you enjoy charity volunteering, working with autistic children, or feeding the hungry? Are you an analyst? Do you like number games, chess or philosophy? Are you a socialite? Do you like to be the center of the party, the perfect dinner hostess or the keynote speaker at the local business club? Maybe you like to work on sports cars (for you tomboys) or you like to ski, travel to exotic locations, or you speak five languages. What do you love to do? What would you do if you never had to make rent or the car payment or the phone bill? This is your true passion. When you identify your highest purpose, you are happy just in the act of doing, of being, of dreaming. This passion and talent was put into your heart because this is what the heavens want you to pursue and this is where you are most likely to excel in a rewarding career.


I loved to sing. I was not born an exceptional singer. I was not wired with an innate vocal technique and I did not have a natural voice that stood out from the crowd. I just wanted to sing. I had to sing. I sang scales everyday. I practiced every kind of music I could find. I went to New York City to learn. I went to Italy to learn. I sang at church. I sang at karaoke clubs. I sang in school choirs. I sang when I was not making a cent. I could not stop. Many times I cried because I was not yet good enough to make big shows and studio projects. I was not confident enough to sing in front of groups without my lip quivering. I remembered someone shouting out at me at a small talent show, “Don’t quit your day job!” I still did not stop singing. I was not revered as star talent or special, but I kept singing, knowing that God would not let me down if I would never give up. I trusted God when I did not trust myself. I even earned a Masters in Business Administration, as I wanted to be successful in “Show Business”. One day, something clicked and my voice kicked in. People’s eyes would pop when I opened my mouth and sang. I became the topic of conversation in small circles. I eventually had a singing career that filled my soul, enabled me to travel the world and put lifestyle into my pocket. I went strictly professional!


Follow the passion of what you love to do. Often, you can recognize your highest passions by reflecting on what interested you as a young child. Do what you love and the money will come. This may mean burning both ends of a candle when you can’t leave the day job yet or moonlighting in something crummy for the rent. The money will come in your passion if you continue to pursue excellence. Excellence is attained thru job experience. Go work for someone who is doing what you want to be doing. Take self-education seminars. Build on your knowledge. Take computer classes or guitar lessons in a college extension program. Learn marketing thru a SCORE workshop. Read books about your industry.Find a mentor who has been where you are and has achieved where you want to go. Greatness takes years of expanding your knowledge and honing your craft. Greatness takes risks to pack up your things and move to a major market.Greatness means sacrifice of social relationships, immediate money, television and the familiar. Greatness takes courage, self-respect and faith. Professionals do the work.


“Success….My nomination for the single most important

ingredient is energy well directed.”

--Louis B Lundborg


Susan Diane Howell, MBA is the Executive Director of Entertainment and a Master Vocal Coach at the Academy of Diva Arts, Las Vegas. You can reach her at the Academy website or by phone at (888)340-7444.