When your future self looks back on your career, odds are you will discover that you didn’t have a successful one.
Because you won’t have just one career, you will have multiple careers.
When we think of a career, many envision a clear and linear path leading to success. However, the reality is much more complex and diverse. Your career will be full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and surprises. And that’s a good thing.
You will have multiple careers, different pursuits, roles, and diverse teams. Sometimes, you will be on two different paths simultaneously; other times, you will take a step down to step into new possibilities. You may spend decades at one company, work for many different businesses, launch a startup, or embrace an all-of-the-above strategy. And that’s perfectly okay.
Throughout your journey, you will experience both success and failure. You will have projects that go exceptionally well and others that don’t work out as planned. But with each experience, you will gain valuable skills and knowledge that will shape your future. You will pivot from one function to another as you explore and learn what you do best. You will tackle jobs you never saw coming and land ones you pursued for years. You may even return to school or reinvent yourself to better connect with what matters most.
Your career journey is a reflection of your life journey. It’s full of happiness and heartache, boredom and breakthroughs, troubles and triumphs. And it’s where growth happens. Embrace the unknown, take risks, and allow yourself to try new things. Stumble, fall, and try again. Permit yourself to leave a comfortable place to explore new horizons; it’s where you will learn the most.
Above all, seek the overlap between your passion, talent, and what the world will pay you to do. This is where you will discover your purpose and find true fulfillment. But remember, as you live out your different paths, what will remain are the memories, relationships, and experiences. Make it a bold and worthy adventure.
Don’t worry about having a linear or traditional career path. Instead, embrace the journey and all the opportunities it offers. Take risks, learn from your experiences, and find your passion. Your career journey will be unique, but it will be worth it.
1. How have your prior experiences molded your career journey?
2. Are you currently exploring new possibilities or stuck in a traditional career path?
3. What have you learned from past failures that will shape your future endeavors?
Identify one new opportunity in your current job and take the first step to explore it.
Make it a great day!
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.