22 Dec Your career path is a swirly mess. So what?
Continuing from my last blog post about permission, I think that permission-based thinking (if you give it power) messes up how you see your current potential- big time.
Let me explain.
With permission based thinking, you usually have some kind of track you were placed on early in life and people deemed you “successful” when you hit certain milestones or achievements. Whether it was academic, athletic or creative, you had to have a 5 year plan based on everything you planned to accomplish.
Like you’re psychic or something.
For a lot of us, we played that game for a while. We plowed through our track, met expectations, fought our way into some position or opportunity, etc. and then realized we hated what we were doing.
Some of us stayed in the crappy situation, continuing on that track, seeking applause…making more money….
Some of us chose to hop off the track and try something new. In fact, some of us have tried LOTS of new things, thinking we were finding our new “track” only to find that we pushed it as far it would go and we needed to move on. Again. Hence the swirly mess.
Here’s a truth bomb- Just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean you should keep doing it, but don’t forget about it either.
Growing up, I wanted to be an artist or a writer (I was even enamored with Microsoft Paint- remember that?), but was told that I’d never make any money at it. Some kind of business degree was imperative.
So I left behind my pencils and paintbrushes and went full throttle into my college experience, getting a degree in Hotel Management (seemed more fun than a normal business degree) and planned to go into either event management or sales. I was good at it and found a way to excel. That was addictive.
Continuing that path for several years after graduation…I was stuck in a weird combination of misery and the nagging desire to be the BEST and push harder.
Leaving didn’t seem like an option
I’d cry from the stress and dread Monday morning…leaving didn’t seem like an option. So much time and sacrifice – YEARS of it – had been spent getting me to that point (I never even took a summer break in school to just be lazy). What about my 5 year plan??
Well, long story short, I did finally leave. I felt like I was walking away from an entire identity- but felt relieved.
Don’t wanna bore you with all the details, but after that, I jumped around a lot, feeling like a complete failure…looking for that THING that would bring me praise and approval again. Self-doubt crept in. I was in outside sales and then became a stay-at-home mom for a while. Even went back to my artistic roots and opened four different Etsy shops (which introduced me to design and social media). I was a brokerage assistant and then a general manager for a commercial real estate firm…even taught hand painted wine glass classes on the side.
Yep, I had a swirly mess alright. My resume may as well have been a bowl of spaghetti.
But that mess became something awesome.
Like a mosaic made of random broken tiles, my life came together, to right here and now. I took all the broken pieces of my work experience, learned some new things that used to intimidate me, and made something new.
The best part is that NOTHING in my past was a waste of time. I’ve brought everything I’ve ever learned into what I’m doing right now. Even what I thought were failures became learning experiences instead.
Same goes for YOU.
That swirly mess isn’t actually a mess
In fact, it all makes perfect sense. Look back at everything you’ve done and I bet there’s a common thread running through it all, bringing you to this place. Feel gratitude for all that you’ve learned- even the stuff you didn’t enjoy.
If you stay in permission based thinking, your current potential gets side-lined because your mind tells you that since you’re always starting over, you’re somehow less valuable. What a crock of shit.
We don’t need permission to succeed or fail. We don’t need a group of people telling us whether or not we’re capable of something.
We need support- not permission. There’s a big difference!
Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Never stop pivoting into something that brings more value to the world.
And no, you don’t need a freaking 5 year plan to do it.