“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
How many times has your answer to this question changed over the years?
I’m guessing when you were little your answer might have been astronaut, ballet dancer, pilot or checkout lady.
As you got older and you realised that people were not asking you what you actually WANTED to do, but what society would ALLOW you to do, how much did your answer change?
And then maybe you got even older and you realised you did what society / your parents / your teachers wanted you to do, but not necessarily what made YOU happy.
I receive several messages and emails every week from clients and readers who are not happy in their jobs or businesses, because they listened to others instead of themselves.
These lovely ladies are now a good 10-20 years into their careers and are miserable. They are counting the days down until weekends, holidays and retirement.
I recognise this. As I’ve done it before.
So why do you stay in a job you hate?
Because it’s safe and it’s comfortable. Outside, in the unknown, it’s so scary. Your life is based around that income. You know what to expect. You know you can do that job.
What if you take that big leap and the new job / business doesn’t work out?
I’ll tell you what will happen. You’ll be fine.
How do I know?
Because I’ve done it time and time again. In every decade of my working life. In different countries. At times when money was tight and when it wasn’t. As a parent and before kids.
It is scary as shit, but that’s how you know you’re onto something.
Life isn’t supposed to be lived in a cocoon with no highs or lows, no exciting butterflies in the stomach feelings, no fear.
When I was 23 I HATED my job with a vengeance. I was working as a trilingual PA to an odious man who made my stomach heave. And the job itself was ridiculously boring. What made it even worse? I was getting paid less as a graduate than when I was temping as a student.
Every morning when the alarm went off I snoozed it for as long as humanly possible and calculated how many years I had left until I could retire.
Honestly. At the age of 23!
I was miserable.
But I thought it would look flaky on my CV if I changed jobs and roles after just a few months.
Luckily I thought “screw this” and I handed in my notice whilst desperately applying for jobs as an English language teacher (I was living in France). I had a month to find a job and start because I had rent and bills to cover, zero savings and a student loan to pay back too.
Through sheer perseverance I got a job within that time frame – teaching English to adults in a language school. The thing was I’d never taught English before (just French) and I quickly realised I didn’t have a clue how this language of mine worked.
Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone!
I had to really quickly learn about things like Phrasal Verbs and the difference between the Past Simple and the Present Perfect tenses.
I spent several months living on the edge, waiting to be caught out, as I learnt the night before what I was teaching the next day. I lost over 20lb in the first few months in that job.
I won’t lie. The early days were HARD.
But little by little I knew what I was talking about, and I started to relax.
And I loved that job and thanked myself every day for taking that leap.
But I think I was born to have a patchwork CV because I have changed roles numerous times since then.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Can be asked throughout your life.
You no longer have to choose one career path for the rest of your days.
In this day and age it is perfectly easy and acceptable to have several / numerous different careers in one working lifetime.
In the nearly 20 years since I graduated I have worked as a:
- Bilingual and trilingual PA
- EFL teacher (English as a Foreign Language)
- Global PR manager of a scuba-diving equipment manufacturer
- Managing Director of a luxury travel agency
- Marketing Consultant for a company in the film industry and one in the IT industry
- Account Director in a digital marketing agency
- Author (of bilingual children’s book Elodie and the Pirates / Elodie et les Pirates)
- Online teacher (French courses for English-speakers + English courses for French-speakers)
- Lifestyle Entrepreneur (guiding, inspiring and motivating women to love their life via my Life Reboot Camp online programme, amongst other things)
And I have no doubt that in the next 20-30 years before I retire I will be and do many many more things (I have writing, speaking and organising retreats on the horizon).
I used to hate people asking my eldest daughter Léna “what do you want to be when you grow up?” as it felt like it was pushing her into making a decision of ONE role. ONE job.
But then I realised I could explain all her options to her, she didn’t just have to listen to society.
Over the years she has seen the different jobs I’ve done, and now, aged 11, she knows that she can do anything she wants to, whenever she wants to. Her only obstacle is her, what she believes and the work she’s prepared to put in.
Just the other day she came into my office while I was working and said to me “you really love your work, don’t you?” and sounded surprised. We talked about how I do love it, but how most people don’t, and it was a bit of a light bulb moment for her.
So I’m going to ask you this important question lovely “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. If you’re not doing something that makes your heart sing, at least most of the time, then it’s probably time for a little rethink.
If this scares the crap out of you, and you feel like you can’t do this alone, then make sure you sign up to my mailing list so you are among the first to hear about my upcoming Life Reboot Camp, where a whole module is dedicated to your work and career.
YOU get to choose what you spend the majority of your waking hours doing.
You. Not society. Not your parents. Not your teachers. Not your other half. You.
So make sure it’s something that makes you happy and fulfilled.
Ready to leave your comfort zone and start living?
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