If you’ve ever felt the pressure to have your whole career planned out when you didn’t feel ready, if you’ve felt torn between doing what you love and the idea of success, if you’re shuffling between what your folks say you should do vs what you want to, this one’s for you.
Not having the right clarity about your career can feel daunting. Right from the time you hit a double-digit age, you’re expected to articulate big dreams of what you want to be when you grow up, when you’ve barely learnt how to make your own breakfast!
Thanks to our ‘systems’ we’re meant to have our lives planned out at a pretty young age. With the exception of the gifted ones who’ve always been crystal clear and have killed it in the execution of that vision, a lot of young adults are burdened with the shame of lacking the right direction. Added to that is, the pressure from the parents, judgements from teachers and peers and of course comparisons with the high achieving older siblings or cousins.
Arghh if only you could burry your head in the sand somewhere!
If this situation sounds familiar to you, I want you to keep the head up high because much against your beliefs, you’ve actually got an unfair advantage! So bear with me because what you’re about to read now may be something that hasn’t been emphasised before.
If you are unclear of your career:
You can become an expert-generalist: Yep that’s right! In the process of figuring out what you want to do in life, you are exposed to a whole range of fields. . Stay interested enough and you’re on your way to potentially becoming a pro in many different disciplines. In fact, the ability and curiosity to master and collect expertise in multi- disciplines, industries, skills and capabilities, aka an expert generalist! is claimed to be one of the essential survival skills of the 21st century.
The idea however is not to get overwhelmed but to dive deeper into the stuff that really excites you. You can literally become a person of many talents, something a lot of people miss out on when they just stick to one lane.
Possibilities become unlimited: Thanks to the internet, this is no longer motivational jargon. Like music? Go on to making some! Enjoy good videos? Learn how to shoot and edit! Have a knack for writing? Start your own blog! We’re living in the most fascinating times where the passion economy fuelled by digital creators has opened up a plethora of opportunities, where being an online creator is a real deal and you actually can earn doing what you love. Substack’s top writer earns more than $500,000 a year from reader subscriptions. Video course platform Podia’s top content writer makes more than a 100k per month! You get the drift. So don’t hold back from levelling up your game with some stellar skills and capitalise on your creativity.
Learning becomes fun: When you dedicate yourself to a subject, out of your own curiosity and will and not to pass an exam or gain someone’s approval learning becomes fun coz the motivation to do so is intrinsic.. Before you know it, you find learning omnipresent, whether it’s in conversations with new people you meet, the books you read, the everyday experiences you encounter including your failures, all of which are characteristic of a life-long learner. Whatever you do all adds up, because each skill or experience will add to your overall development of the person you envision yourself to be.
You get to know the person that’s you: Rather than getting stuck in a cycle of limiting beliefs of not being smart enough, this is literally your opportunity to spend time on getting to know yourself better. Instead of blindly following a mainstream career or someone else’s idea of achievement ask yourself insightful questions, that could go alone the lines of:
What am I naturally inclined to doing and enjoying?
What makes me lose track of time?
What do people compliment me the most for?
What are my core values that really matter to me?
What are my unique gifts that I can use to make a difference?
Of course this is not about having all the answers ready at one go, but to initiate the process of self-inquiry, because that is where your greatest development lies.
Bottom line, take the pressure off your head, let go of the expectations and fears of how something should turn out and just start taking action with a sense of play, that’s all. The trick is to reconnect with your inner child where you would do things out of joy and see where it takes you.
As challenging as it may feel, you don’t need to have all the answers right now, you don’t need to feel shit about yourself for not being as clear on your direction as your peers.
All you gotta do is shift your perspective and give yourself the permission to ditch the crowds and move with your inner flow knowing that you will eventually find your calling.