People are very optimistic when it comes to their career. Why not? For me that’s the most important thing especially as you get started in your journey. Have a glimpse of that day in kindergarten when you were first asked what you want to become when you grow up. Remember that strong conviction that one day you will be a doctor, a pilot, a teacher, a police, or you might have even thought of being an astronaut! It is exciting. Then you start to plot the ideal route that you will take to get there — from your choices of school, circle of friends, and other activities you would want to engage. Yes, I said ideal, because that route isn’t going to be seamless and there will be setbacks along the way that can potentially create gaps between the career path you’ve established and the reality.
A Series of “Accidents”
That’s how I used to think about my journey towards my career. Coming from a family experiencing the curses of extreme poverty, I’ve learned how to make huge dreams and plan an ideal path for myself. I have a clear outline, and I’ve been very vocal about them. But not a single thing from this clear picture in my mind became a reality. I studied in the University at the bottom of my list, took up the course that I hated, and lived far from the city, which I thought was the place where big dreams for a Manileño come true.
After my college years, as I look for my first job, I have high hopes that my degree could lead me into something that pays well. I’ve received a couple of emails and there is this one offer that captured my attention. I was promised an Associate DB Admin role, and so, I accepted it – only to find out that I will be doing a Technical Support role. It’s not bad at all and I managed to master it, but I am totally frustrated. I never dreamed of a job that will require me to talk a lot.
Great Things Begin from the Inside
As I go through these things, which I thought won’t lead me anywhere, I was taught that the perfect setup to achieve what you want is not found anywhere else but within yourself. It is about how you can use your situation to your advantage. I’ve read somewhere that “If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. But if broken by an inside force, life begins”. There will always be gaps between our ideal career path and the reality but you can bridge these gaps. Don’t allow these gaps to break you from the outside.
Here are five things that helped me do it:
Accept Your Reality
Where you are right now is not an accident or a misfortune. It may not be ideal, but certainly, it’s the REALITY. And the very first thing that you need to do in order to move forward is to acknowledge and accept your reality. Don’t blame your parents for not being able to give you a great start, or your school for not equipping you with the best training for your job, but acknowledge where you are and think about what you need to get from point A to point B.
Establish a Growth Mindset
A fixed mindset believes that your ability is fixed, and failure is seen as a personal shortcoming. It keeps you enclosed in a box of limitations and does not allow you to thrive. A growth mindset says that intelligence and ability is grown through effort, and failures or setbacks are opportunities for growth. Don’t let your disappointments limit your capacity to turn your current reality into something useful. Have that GRIT –
“The perfect combination of passion and perseverance for a very long term goal. Having Stamina. Sticking in your future. Working very hard to make your dreams a reality.” (Angela Lee Duckworth, 2016).
Smallify Big Dreams
We normally want to achieve something big. Nothing is wrong with that, being taught to always dream big. Although sometimes, they get too big and we find it hard to determine if they are still realistic or if we are in any way getting closer to achieving them. Try to cut those big dreams into smaller chunks that you achieve piece by piece and when put together, still leads to that big dream. It will be easy for you to celebrate those small achievements, keeping you motivated, while you are on your way to that DREAM.
Be Open to Options
The steps towards your goal are not usually packaged in the way you want to see them. Don’t always say no to opportunities that come just because they don’t look like part of the steps you outlined for yourself. You might be taking a route just because you have no choice at this point but consider it as a milestone. Remember that as long as your eyes remain focused on your ultimate goal and you remain passionate about it, all the side trips become part of it, equipping you with whatever you need to get there.
Submit Your Plans
No matter how much we deny it, it is absolute that there is one sovereign God who has established plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). His plans for you are greater than your plans for yourself (Isaiah 55:8-9). Trust in His plans because He knows better. It’s hard for us to determine if we are on the right path, and somewhere at the middle of our journey, we always have the tendency to lose sight of the right direction. At times when we are unsure, always seek guidance and wisdom from the Lord, and trust that your journey has been written already. Have faith, stay passionate, and be humble always
It Feels so Good to Get Lost Where You are Meant To Be
After all the “accidents” in my career, I felt so good that I was led to something that gives me a sense of fulfillment. Now I see all of these as preparation steps for me to thrive where I am called to be. Whenever I’m taking the time to look back, I always tell myself how it feels so good to get lost where I am meant to be. I know that it’s not yet the finish line for me and I am excited for what’s ahead. To God be all the glory!