Some little girls want to be a ballerina when they grow up. Others want to be a nurse (or a doctor!). Me – I think I wanted to be an entrepreneur, whether I knew what that meant at the time or not.
From a young age, I was always trying to make a buck. Around the age of 10, I started making friendship bracelets for classmates. I had a display board made of cardboard with examples of different designs. I took custom orders for friends long before Etsy was a thing (and in all honestly, before the Internet was a thing). Then I moved into selling stationary and Christmas ornaments door-to-door – all of which were hand-painted by me. Eventually, I became more skilled and started selling nicer handmade ornaments at a craft co-op in our town. I always babysat for neighbors and, for a time, even ‘published’ a hand-written Babysitter’s Club-type newsletter. By the time I was 16, I had a job at the local grocery store and have basically been employed ever since. Even in college and while in the military, I took on part-time jobs to make a little extra money.
I guess I have always been searching for the perfect side hustle, but I have to admit, as I have gotten older, the confidence has waned. I don’t remember being nervous about most of my early business ventures. There was never that concern that I would fail. I simply went out there and did it. And I dealt with the challenges that came my way one at a time, always believing I would end up on top.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could approach the professional challenges in our life in that same enthusiastic way? I will tell you, having a son has made me reignite some of that. Just seeing all the challenges a child overcomes before their second birthday makes me feel like it’s a bit silly to whine about not getting that dream job or having a couple of people say no to my next big idea.
While it is certainly easy to see how life can throw us a few curve balls, causing us to doubt our own abilities, those memories shouldn’t stop us from moving forward in life. Yes, we all have responsibilities to tend to as adults, and I am not suggesting anyone leave all their worldly possessions behind and become a monk (but if that’s your thing and you can make it happen, I’m not stopping you), but we can choose to get out of our self-imposed comfort zones and try new things. Most of the time, we have no idea where a particular idea or venture will lead.
Think about who you used to be, before all the baggage of life got piled up on you. You may just find that you have skills and passions that have been hidden away for a long time. Gaining some perspective on what used to make you tick may lead you in entirely new directions, whether in your current job or through new work opportunities.
And stay tuned over the next few weeks as I discuss self-awareness and passion, and how these traits can lead you to a career path you never imagined, often in ways you wouldn’t expect.