I recently found myself in a career crossroads. Nothing in my life had changed, but somewhere along the lines money stopped being as available as it used to. I had come to a point in my career where I needed to make a change or go broke ignoring what was happening.
When you think about “having it all” what do you envision? When I was a girl, I imagined becoming an entertainment lawyer (because celebrities never run out of legal issues), some strapping bearded man I’d call husband, and a kid or two running around thinking I was the most fascinating person they know. That wasn’t how life played out, and I’m grateful for that. I learned a lot while traveling down my own personal career path, and the below are my top five lessons I’ve learned, that might help you as well.
1. Like Jack Sparrow once said, “They are more like guidelines than rules”. There are no laws that bind you to one path in life. Just because I announced my intentions of being an entertainment lawyer at the age of 10, doesn’t mean that I am stuck in that path for life. I’m pretty sure I also announced my intentions of being an oceanographer and a make-up artist at some point as well. None of which I am doing for a living, and that’s okay.
2. Mentors will be an invaluable tool in shaping your career path, no matter what age you decide to begin on it. They help you gain exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking, help to develop new skills and give advice on developing strengths and overcoming weaknesses. The use of mentors in businesses are a great way to develop a culture of personal and professional growth, enhancing your leadership and coaching skills in managers, improve staff morale and increase your staff engagement and retention within the company.
3. Steady incomes and job security aren’t for everyone, but they sure do come in handy. As a creative, I like the idea of working without a time clock but my reality is that I need that. As a single mother, my bills are coming in on a regular basis, and so should my income to pay them. I have many friends that are able to survive on a freelance lifestyle, I however, cannot. My situation may change in the future, but at this time, I need steady and secure income. Being able to adapt according to your changing lifestyle needs will increase your financial survival rate exponentially.
4. Like what you do. I’m a realist so I won’t say LOVE, but you have to at least like what you do. Look at it this way; you are spending 40+ hours a week at your job of choice. Do you really want to spend 40+ hours doing something you can’t stand, only to go home and complain about it for another 4-6+ hours until you have to go back to it? Yeah, me neither. Everyone is going to have bad days on the job, but you should never dread going into work.
5. Be the change you want to see. I know how cliché that sounds, but it is also true. It begins with the attitude in which you approach your work and continues into the actions needed to succeed. Elizabeth Gilbert said it best in her book, Eat Pray Love, “There's a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, "Dear saint-please, please, please...give me the grace to win the lottery." This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, "My son-please, please, please...buy a ticket.” Being able to articulate what you want is the first step, but sometimes it requires an extra action on your part to meet your goal. In order to have change occur, you must change yourself.
My willingness to adapt to the change has opened up many doorways of opportunity that wouldn’t have been available to me had I remained rigid and unmoving. Life is a highway, and I am making sure I am the one in the driver’s seat.