An idea about staying true to your present you, instead of your past you.
When I was a child, I dreamed to become a journalist. I admired them. Everybody did. They got to write (love it), be on the TV screen, appear well dressed and overall, be the smartest looking people I had ever seen.
Life turned out differently. When I went to college I didn’t study Journalism, as I thought I wanted since second grade. Reasons included my mother insisting I go with the crowd for business studies and me lacking self confidence that, indeed, I would turn journalism into a better option for the future.
At that point, I was disappointed at myself for not standing out, but relieved that I didn’t yet have to make a firm decision for my life.
After all, if business studies didn’t turned out lucrative, a part of me was ok, because if I failed, I could always blame mom for not supporting me to follow my calling, right?
Guess what? My BA is in International Business and Economics, and I loved it! Out of 25 different courses, I found most of them interesting and eye opening.
My favorite topics were international marketing and commercial international negotiations. To the 20 year old me back then, which was brought up in a rural, agrarian region, my courses seemed close to UFO studies. I was fascinated.
Researching for my assignments on marketing strategy and consumer targeting opened me to a new world.
Analyzing case studies on Daimler vs Chrysler, Komatsu vs Caterpillar, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, BMW and Mercedes made me think, at the time, that engineering these marketing strategies is definitely cooler than being a journalist.
And both during my college years and now, looking back, I wonder in amazement how I was fast to dismiss or even criticize something I knew nothing about — that is, anything else but journalism.
And what do you know? Life worked its magic, and brought me something I didn’t imagine before.
In mid 2009, during the economic crisis when most markets recorded 20% to 70% decrease vs the previous year and nobody was hiring, somehow I got an opportunity for an internship in the marketing department — and later a full time job — at the Coca-Cola bottler.
Years forward — after a lot of hard work, my career involved some of the activities I loved about being a journalist, when I was a child.
Working with smart people, doing work for which I saw the impact, constantly broadening my knowledge, researching, even also giving speeches and presentations on stage.
This led me to believe that it’s ok not to achieve your specific goals.
I feel now that doing your best where you are and being open to whatever opportunity life brings, is way smarter than being rigid about what you thought you wanted decades ago.
Why? Because what you decided, in childhood, that you’ll become later, was limited to your ‘universe’ at the time.
I had no idea marketing existed when I was 7 or 8.
Similarly, kids today rank being a YouTube star, followed by being an astronaut as the most frequently mentioned career dreams for when they grow up.
But what if, twenty years from now, we’ll have jobs we cannot even imagine now? like teaching live streaming classes, in a virtual reality environment, to global audiences on topics that now don’t exist? :) Like, how to 3D print a gold bracelet, using lead and the power of your mind to transform elements? ;)
Think about your own experiences. How many times apparently you ‘failed’ to achieve a goal, only to realize, in hindsight, that you went on a better path?
It’s ok not to reach your goals. It’s ok to go for what is keeping you up at night with excitement, now.