Even at a very young age, I have been blessed with a monster helping of beginners luck. I try something for the first time and execute it perfectly. Problem is, I usually can’t repeat such excellence. This has plagued me throughout my life. I’ve always felt like a Jack-of-all-Trades (Master of none.).
I spent my life envious of folks who always knew what they wanted to be. My sister always knew she wanted to be a nurse. How lucky for her! Each life choice that she had to make could be made in the direction that would help her to achieve becoming a nurse.
I joke that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Even though I’ve written about how I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, that in itself, doesn’t feel like a concrete thing. An entrepreneur can wear a gazillion different faces. An entrepreneur can own an online clothing shop. (See The Missing Piece Boutique) An entrepreneur can design and sell limited production Jeep soft tops (See American Convoy Soft Tops). An entrepreneur can own and operate a Tae Kwon Do school (See Majest Martial Arts). (Which was my former home away from home. HI-YA!)
To me, possessing the entrepreneurial spirit does not define a direction. And when you are a Jack-of–all-trades (again, Master of None), and are not an expert at any given thing, life can feel directionless and chaotic.
It’s a hard concept for experts and one-track minded folks (and I mean that lovingly, of course) to wrap their brains around. I’ve verbally danced around this topic, most of my adult life, with people who just don’t understand how it feels to lack direction. And when paralyzed by no direction, you end up letting life just happen to you. (I’ve had hundreds of conversations about this with my sister. Sorry Barbara.)
If you find yourself with these feelings of a directionless life, I encourage you to take charge and make a move to…something. Need help? A great read to help sort things out is Second Acts by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine. It’s full of stories of folks who have changed gears at different stages in their lives. It contains fun, self-reflective and “dissect-tive” exercises to help you drill down to what really makes you happy. For me, I was not handed a clear job description, but I was able to clearly identify job attributes that could help give me focus.
Through the exercises, I learned that I would be happiest doing work that was project based; (i.e. had a beginning and an end), work that allowed for opportunities for me to receive feedback from others (i.e, someone likes what I do…or doesn’t, I suppose), and, of course, [insert choir of angels here] has to be visually appealing to me. (And look at that. I’ve come full circle back to my Center…my obsession with BEAUTY. How nicely packaged is THAT?!)
It is never too late to pursue your passion. Grandma Moses didn’t start pursuing her self-taught art until her 70’s and was 78 years old before she was discovered by a collector. And if you haven’t had the opportunity to hear Jim Carrey’s 2014 commencement speech delivered to Maharishi University of Management, I encourage you to watch it. What he said smacked me hard upside the head. He said, and I summarize, that you can fail at something you hate, so why not do something you love.
This simple, beautiful truth got me up and moving. It’s a truth that I want to instill in my children and you! If that isn’t enough of a push to pursue your dreams, consider the biblical idea that fear of failure is a form of Pride. (I read that recently somewhere. Yikes.)
Each of us was born with gifts that we are meant to use and share. It would be a shame to let life just happen. It would be a shame to rob the world of your talents. Remember, the hive needs EVERY bee.
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