Few days back while I was taking a stroll down the memory lane of 20 years old me, I decided to stop and talk to my 20-yr old self, who seemed to be so confused, lost, and surrounded by self-doubts. At 20, we all seem to be a bit off the lane, because everything seem so darn competitive; even living your days. Would you agree? And during this situation, making a career choice seems to be super demanding and the need of the hour. Broken and bruised by peers' high performance, colleague's promotion, family pressure, competition among the siblings, society's pressure, etc., can all make us feel us so little and inefficient to even make a good start in our career. Does any of this sound familiar?
I was once there too! But coming this far in life, I've had the opportinity to learn so much from life and experiences. And here is the advice that my 20-yr old self really needed. I hope this post helps you to find your direction in life and career- if you're in your 20s right now, and even if you're not- so that you don't spend much time planning and reseraching the perfect career path.
Dear 20-yr old me,
You seem to be so confused and lost in self-doubts right now. But let me tell you something; "you'll be doing amazing work in your 35s and 40s something. I see that your mind is blocked by questions like; why I'm not good as others, Why I always fail? Why me? What's next? What if I fall behind my peers? Listen, "you're not behind; you are just on your path." Don't wish to be somebody else. Just follow your heart and keep exploring. Grab all the opportunities that comes your way, and simply keep moving forward. You are going to do amazing stuffs! Trust me.
I know you feel lost, unsettled, unaware of your purpose, etc. But my dear you're still much younger to choose to settle in your life and career. You have endless possibilities ahead of you. Just keep exploring, and do not choose to settle. Do not worry about the world and people around you who seem to be so busy rushing making their high-profile career. While others are busy building their resume, you build your life and add meaning, purpose, and passion while you go.
You still have time, lots of possibilities before you. You're not old yet and therefore don't settle for anything. Things that you love doing right now might change. Just remember to keep learning and exploring different opportunities. Don't join the mad rush to find an ideal job just like others. This part of your life is all about understanding your likes/dislikes and strengths/weaknesses. The more you know, the more places you go- before you finally settle down making it big.
Your purpose should be to just get started, learn as much as you can along the way, and don't follow the pre-defined career path by others around you. Don't spend your most enchanting years of life [that's full of energy and dreams] by agonizing over your choices. Yes, it is absolutely normal to feel confused, lost, and frustrated, when you make mistakes, or lose an opportunity! You will feel discouraged when you'll realize that you're falling behind in the race of life; but do not stop. Instead of comparing, focus on what matters to you, where you want to be in 10 yrs from now. Try not to get influened by others' notions of success.
Again if you're feeling unsuccessful compared to those your age, turn your focus within yourself. Focus on yourself and not others. I know you have this constant feeling of wanting to get ahead everyone! But slow down and stop trying to figure things out now. Just stop worrying about where you're going next, and do every single job the best you can. You will learn a lot from each of these career experiences, and this is going to help you big time in your future.
Never stop learning. Oh, yes! And try to find outlets that will help you to explore your passion and interests. Invest time in learning about new things, about yourself- things that excite you to know more, to share with others. Find your unique voice that will guide you through the process of growing up.
Stop worrying and just believe. Believe that you're gifted with some unique powers to give your life and career a beautiful direction. And let me spoil the secret, "you are going to do extraordinary things with your unique talents and great ideas. You're going to make a difference in the world, and will be the change that you're wishing for today."
Take care and give your best!
Love you always.
Your Future Self
While observing others [around me, and in my family] navigating this shift into their 20s, or from 20s to 30s, I couldn't help but I decided to reflect back on the career advice that I wish I had received and known when I was in my 20s.
Main Image Credit-Photo by Kate Hliznitsova on Unsplash
My final and very important words or peice of advice to you honey is that, "it may be hard for you to get comfortable with uncertainty, but be patient about not knowing what you are going to be. You will anyways not be able to figure out the future now. Preferences will change as you move forward exploring all your interests, strengths, and about your passion. So just be you and enjoy the entire journey of growing up with lots of experiences and learning.