The other day, I must admit, I was jealous. It all started while listening to friend talk about a possible promotion. Internally, I had mixed emotions: I was happy for my friend, but I kept thinking, “What about me?” After some reflection, I realized that I was not jealous of the potential position, but rather jealous of my friend’s confidence; they knew what the next steps were in their career path and I did not. So, I thought: “What am I chasing? What are the next steps for my career?” A new focus allowed me to view the future of my career in a whole new light.
Now, I ask you: Are you chasing after a particular career path? A next expected step? A dream of your parents'? A paycheck? Recognition? Fame? Societal expectations? Or are you just sticking to what is safe and familiar with no risk involved?
We all are chasing something. By having your career path outlined, you have taken your first step towards giving your path direction and purpose. However, let me suggest that you outline it in pencil and in not pen. As we gain more experience, our ideas and dreams can change. So, do not be afraid to erase or modify the outline to fit your needs.
It is possible that when you reach your original goal, you may realize the packaging is deceiving, the day-to-day operations are not suited for you, or your goal was simply based on someone else's expectations and not your own. If you remain flexible and open to new opportunities, you will be able to overcome this disappointment, and steer yourself in a new direction. For example, the moment I realized that I did not want the job my friend was being offered, I was able to release myself from the disappointment that weighed me down and clung to the opportunities around me.
What are you chasing? If you do not already know, find out! However, be warned! Set your sights on the right goals for you. And it does not stop there. Once you know what you are chasing, figure out why you are chasing it. Be ready to answer these questions to a potential employer, but more importantly to yourself. Then, start running.
J. Matthew King, Co-founder