Last week I answered part one of a question from a 20-something on how to decide, “What do I want to be?” A big a question with 20-somethings. The point at 40:20 Vision is to provide more than one perspective. So we are back here today with some different 40-something perspectives in part 2.
Q. There are so many interesting things to do in this world, how is it possible to merely choose one, not to mention that it be the right choice? How do I balance building a resume and building a life that’s right for the person I’m still learning to become? – 20-something.
First, read this. Writer, director and show runner Shonda Rhimes’ Dartmouth commencement address from this past weekend: Real Talk for Dartmouth Grads: Dreams Are for Losers. It’s honest, funny and perfectly pointed to this conversation.
And more 40-somethings respond:
One of the worst things I did was to take a really great job after I graduated that I hated. I didn’t know that I was going to hate it but I did. It has set the trajectory for my life, which I perpetuated because I married a soldier and moved frequently and it was much quicker to get a job with the skillset that I acquired. I wish I had changed immediately and pursued a field that I am trying to pursue now at 48. I would be having a much easier time right now had I decided to pursue my passion in my 20s. I believe there are many things I would like to do. My advice is to go for one of them and see where it takes you. Connections beget connections and opportunities. – 40-something, consulting, Washington DC
I wish someone had told me that no matter the plan you make, it won’t play out the way you think. You just can’t control things. You may hate a job you thought you would like. You may like the work but hate the culture. You may get fired. You may discover new skills you didn’t know you could excel at or enjoy. You may make a connection that takes you in a different direction. You may go back to school. But it’s okay. You just make the best decision you can at the time and then at each decision point do that all over again. It may not be the linear path you foresaw but if you work hard, challenge yourself to continually learn, keep an eye open to opportunities and and avoid burning bridges..…you can always be moving forward. – 20-something, New Jersey.
There are millions of things to do and be, but what you are not mentioning, is what are you good at, what do you gravitate towards, what have you spent time doing? Assuming you have either worked or gone to school, what did you focus on? You can narrow your scope and minimize feeling overwhelmed by focusing on yourself and what makes you tick. Yes, it is interesting to be a marine biologist, a sculptor and the VIP of IBM, but these can be eliminated if your interests do no lie here. I would suggest making a list of skills you have and are good at (i.e.: finance management, managing stressful situations, listening, and organizing) and a list of things that interest you (i.e.: nutrition, art, money, cooking, yoga) and think about putting those lists together to help direct yourself towards a more focused journey. Making decisions can be stressful, but with focused thought, you can make focused steps more comfortably.