Ever since I was in preschool, people have been asking me what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve wanted to be a dentist, cop, cart pusher, nurse, computer programmer, pilot, psychologist, coach, exercise physiologist, paranormal investigator, artist, dog whisperer, professional gamer, business executive, and certified chocolate-chip cookie taster. This is a hard question! Yeah, let me tell you at eight years old what I’m going to do for the rest my life. Sure.
Regardless of which answer I gave, my elders would always tell me the same path to each one: finish high school, go to college, start doing it full time, pay my dues and just slowly grind my way up the business ladder. I needed to do really well in school, join every extracurricular activity, and do super well on my SAT/ACT or else I would be a failure, no college would want me, and no one would love me. Okay, maybe not the love part, but you know what I’m talking about. So it’s always been in my head that going that route is the best way to go.
When I was in high school, I was almost certain that I wanted a career in nursing. It’s a respected career with a great salary, excellent flexibility, and tremendous opportunity for growth. I was so certain that I dedicated my four years of high school to attend a vocational school and studied nursing. But the time I was eighteen I had a slough of certifications in the medical field. A month after I graduated, I accepted a job in cardiology where I was the youngest and least inexperienced, but I was making almost twenty dollars an hour, had paid-time off, full educational reimbursement, and was going to college on a scholarship that covered every cent of my tuition. But I didn’t want it.
After only a couple of weeks of going to work, I realized that this wasn’t what I wanted anymore. The responsibility and esteem of working in healthcare that I once craved turned into something I couldn’t bare. I wanted the idea of health care, not a career in health care itself.
Naturally though, everyone around me said I was nuts. Who gives up a scholarship and a job like that right out of high school to chase “some dream”? I’m supposed to follow the standard life pattern as everyone else:
High school > Graduation > College > Job > Two Kids + White Picket Fence + Black Lab named Chompy > Retirement > Death
Here’s the part where I’m supposed to say, “Be a renegade! Forget what everyone else thinks! Just follow your dreams and wish upon a star”. One of my favorite speakers, Scott Backovich once said, “When you actually wish upon a star, you’re actually wishing on a flaming ball of gas. That’s like the equivalent of your friend lighting his fart on fire, and you wishing for a pony”. It’s so true though.
What am I saying then? I’m saying be real with yourself.
It’s so easy to fall into the grind of life. The fact of the matter is though: life does not have to be some hard, treacherous process that is filled with feelings of dissatisfaction. Even though the people around you might have fallen into this “slave to life” victim mentality and want you to do the same, you simply don’t have to.
You already know what that one thing is you love with every bit of your being. Allow that thing to become your legacy and success story. No you’re not crazy or doing something wrong. Yes, you are going against the shoulds and supposed tos that many others have written down in some unofficial rule book. But if it weren’t for the people that strayed away from the standard life pattern, there would be no Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), McDondalds (Ray Croc), Disney World (Walt Disney), or awesome collaborations with Pitbull (Christina Aguilera). Be one of those people.
Tim Frie is a life coach and entrepreneur with a mission to encourage young people to live life on their own terms. Connect with Tim on Twitter @thatfrieguy
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Category: Personal Branding