Four Lessons From A Late Bloomer on Finding Your Niche

Today’s post is from a woman who found her stride after she started experimenting and branching out on her definition of success.


I spent a lot of my career trying to fit a mold of what I thought was the thing to do.  Not because I felt I had to but because it fit my aspirational image of myself. Don’t get me wrong – I was playing around on the fringes of what I wanted to do and I enjoyed much of it. But certain parts of climbing up the ladder made me feel like a fish out of water. But of course I had to go up – it is what you do.


Then I realized not everyone can go up and up and up the same line. The organization would topple over. But you can find your way to lead at what you love doing if you stop focusing on what the next step in your particular position is and focus on what the next advancement for you is. I met a woman who likened her career to a tree. You can let go of one branch and grab another. That doesn’t mean you can’t go back to the first branch at another point.  It does mean you can branch out. Just don’t go falling down to the bottom over and over again. And don’t go to far our on a dead limb!  So as I a climbed around on that tree…here is what I have learned:


1. Don’t confuse people liking you with success.  If someone – your boss, a colleague or a client– doesn’t like you that doesn’t mean you aren’t good at your job, smart, etc.  It just means they don’t like you. Not everyone is going to.


2. You have to take yourself seriously before anyone else can.  To take yourself seriously you have to be honest with yourself.  Are you pursuing a career track because you are good at it or you like it …or because it is what you think success looks like?


3. When you are confortable with yourself and like what you do you excel naturally. When you are trying to be something you are not…you can struggle.  That is when you don’t project confidence.  Ask yourself… why are you pursuing it? What are your motivations? If it is just a skill set you are missing — get it. Take a class. Get a mentor. Ask. If it is something else…think about exploring other angles and trajectories using your strengths.


4. Everyone is insecure to some degree. Even the most confident appearing people have something they struggle with internally. Some just learn to cover it up better than others – through superiority, sarcasm, being the funny one, being the go-to for details or some other strategy.  So you figure out your strategy.  Or explore what you can do that you feel most authentic doing.

40-something, marketing, writing, Columbus, Ohio

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