So, here’s the deal. Imagine a fork in the road of your life. You have at least one decision to make (maybe more) regarding your career. Maybe it’s selecting a college major or an internship. Remember that Stephen Covey says we need to begin with the end in mind. So, you’re deciding on what it is you want to do. You’re going to be as specific as possible in your goal, right? It’s not, “I want to do something in marketing.”
So many students and young professionals I encounter say to me “I’m afraid that if I make a decision that’s too specific, I’ll have wasted my time going down a path that won’t be correct.”
But, there are three reasons that you shouldn’t worry about this, one bit:
Yes, in taking your time to go down a path that isn’t going to be your intended career choice, it’s likely that not everything you do will be fruitful. But, that’s going to be the case in any choice you make.
There is also a chance that the decision you made is correct, and you’ll be well ahead of everyone else who haven’t started their career decisions, yet.
Odds are you’ll have gained enormous amounts of transferable skills that will help you in your next role. For example, if you thought you were going to be in sales and you wind up in medical school, it’s likely you’ll use your management and sales skills in running your own office or becoming a hospital manager. Etc. Etc.
But, let’s think of the absolute worst case scenario:
1- You chose a path that did not yield any fruitful results.
2- Your decision was not correct.
3- There is absolutely no commonalities between your intended career choice and what you’ve chosen to do, now.
Your anxiety tells you that when you turn around and head back to that fork in the road, there will be someone waiting there for you (a friend, perhaps, or relative). And, they will remind you that you took a wrong turn and claim that you wasted your time. First of all, pay no mind to anyone watching you live. Odds are they aren’t paying that close attention. And, if they are, it matters not. It has absolutely no bearing on your actions
But, secondly, that person is at the fork in the road because they haven’t moved from it. And, when you and them get to a distress point or pivot, you’ll have a ton of experience to discuss. Even if it’s not relevant, it makes you interesting. It makes you humble. And, it makes you resilient. You have dirty shoes, filled with stories. Theirs are clean and boring.