Finding Your Path

finding your path

Finding your path sucks. Here I sit in my early 40s…trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I feel I’m fighting years of conditioning: Go to school, pick a career, pour your life into it and become the best ever at the path you chose before your brain was even completely developed.

Yeah right. Who the hell knows what they want to do for an entire lifetime? Especially when only 18.

Many people find that the job they trained for isn’t what they were meant to do. Did you know that Julia Child was in advertising until she discovered cooking and wrote her first cookbook at age 50.

My friend, Sue, decided in her late 40s to go back to school for nursing after a career in marketing. She’s seen the great need for nurses in mental healthcare and wants to put her efforts there. Now at age 51 she is a much more serious student and driven to succeed in a way most of us couldn’t fathom when we were 20. I’m so proud of Sue!

Another friend, Jillian, had a highly successful career in pharmaceutical sales. After a battle with cancer she decided she needed a change and took a stab at flipping houses. She kept toying with real estate while her kids were little, but after helping a friend get their house ready to go on the market she realized she wanted to get her real estate license. Now Jillian offers a unique set of skills to her clients—helping them give their house a budget-friendly face lift by putting to use all her years of updating homes for flipping or rental. This combined with her great sales skills make her a cut above all the other new real estate agents out there!

My brother, Matthew, is another person who’s made a successful shift in careers. He was a teacher in his 20s, but now is a recruiter for career placement firm. I believe his success came from looking at what he is good at –like seeing potential in everyone and using his ability of being able to talk to anyone—then putting them together. Matthew is great at taking a nerve-racking situation like a job interview, making someone feel comfortable and finding their strengths. He took some of his core personality traits, paired them with his desire to work hard and is finding success.

What do all of these people have in common? They are doing something different than they originally planned. And they are all happier, more successful for it.

So back to finding your path…what makes you happy? What are your core traits that you would like to use in your daily life? Do you have a dream you’d like to pursue? Want to be a chef? An author? A stock broker? I saw somewhere that if you read an hour day in a particular subject, you’ll be an expert in seven years. Just by reading! No fancy, ivy-league degree needed!

In my Facebook feed the other day was an article about people who made their careers later in life. Hmm. Well, if they can do it you can too! Here are some other inspiring examples:

Remember the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith? That’s a true story. Chris Gardner was homeless father at one point but kept working as a stock broker and finally made his first million well into his 40s. Barack Obama was a successful author and made his first million before he became president. His book, Dreams From My Father, originally came out in 1995 but he re-released it when he was 43 when he first blossomed in politics. He’d made $4.6 million before ever becoming president!

Did you know Martha Stewart got her big break when she published her first book in her 40s? She was working as a caterer prior to that. Henry Ford – Heard of him? Yeah, he made the Model T car at age 45. Charles Darwin turned the scientific world upside down when he published “Origin of the Species” at age 50. J.K. Rowling created the world of Harry Potter in her 30s.   Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t publish Little House On The Prairie until she was 65.

So you too can be brave! Take a chance on yourself and start looking at what truly would make you happy. If doing something else in your daily life gives you a smile, pursue that. Investigate the root of what will give your purpose.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these.  Good luck!

PS – If you related to this post, read the follow up here. “One True Calling is B.S.”