Sometimes I think of how I wish I can go back in time and give my 20-something-year-old-self a knock on the head with some insightful advice on how to live life, that would have made my ‘now’ so much better; saved money when it was coming in like there was no tomorrow, control impulsive spending like it was going out of fashion, never buy ANYTHING on loan, take relationships more seriously and avoid the ones that really put me in big mess, invest in some stock that would have yielded great results now or pursued my passion despite the challenges I faced; I would have been rich and famous by now! But you know what? I can’t turn the hands of time, I can’t go back into the past, I just have ‘here’, ‘now’ and the ‘future’.
I have had lots of “dreams” over the years! All I wanted to do was to design something, anything. At 15, I wanted to be a fashion designer and worked as an illustrator for fashion designers but they won’t pay me and that kind of job was not taken seriously then, so I gave up. I loved drawing so, I studied art and ended up majoring in sculpture. Then I became a single mum and had to buy pampers and baby food- you know how expensive babies are- and needed a job. I got a job as a curator and gallery manager and had to learn skills that involved organising exhibitions and designing processes on how the gallery will be run and managed, then moved on to start my own art consulting business that led me to documenting art collections and selling art. After a year, the business went bankrupt due to the recession. I had to re-evaluate my mistakes and asked myself what other career I can achieve that involves design? Then I had a new passion, to be an Interior Designer! But again, I was faced with big challenges of paying for my school fees and afterwards getting a job. Overtime, I realised that designing is not just making beautiful art, furniture or products, it’s a part of our everyday life! We use design everyday as a tool for our personal, social, cultural and economic development but I had to figure out how to turn my failures to purpose.
My passion has always been, to become a designer. But because I can’t be a full-time sculptor, fashion designer, interior designer or failed at my first attempt of running a business, does that mean that I am a failure? I thought I was especially being in my 30’s, but instead of staying defeated I re-evaluated myself, my past mistakes and experiences and turned my failure to passion and then to purpose. I am still and always will be a designer. My new career, I design stories and content for social media platforms. My passion fuels my purpose to read and educate myself every day in this new career that I have found myself in, so that I can be the best at what I do!
“If one person tells you you’re a horse, they are crazy. If three people tell you you’re a horse, there’s conspiracy afoot. If ten people tell you you’re a horse, it’s time to buy a saddle”― Jack Rosenblum
Do you want to take that passion you have and turn it into a lifelong purpose? Here are some steps I took that got me to stop “feeling defeated” and “start making things happen”!
What makes you itch? Sit down with a piece of paper and write- What gets me very excited? What keeps me up at night? What wakes me up in the morning? What problems can I solve?
What is your social capital? You don’t need finance to start your ‘WHAT’. Look around you- What is your ‘Social Capital’? Is it your Laptop? Your Phone? Your friend who won’t mind you using his office for twice a week? Your kitchen? Your blog that hasn’t been visited in days, months? That camera you have that is sitting down and gathering dust? There’s got to be something! Look around you!
Understand that having passion is not enough. To turn your passion into a lifelong career, you have to cultivate habits that compliment your core skills. Take steps to acquire knowledge that will equip you with tools that you will use to become so good at what you have decided to do. Go for trainings and if you can’t do that you have a new best friend- the internet. Do your research. Drink in as much knowledge as you can and practice.
Believe in yourself. John Maxwell in his book, ‘Put your dream to test’ wrote, “Be willing to bet on yourself. You may succeed if nobody believes in you, but you will never succeed if you don’t believe in yourself.”
Start small and start NOW. Procrastination kills more dreams than failure ever will. Trust me! I know! I’m still dealing with that.
Deal with fear. Fear is the biggest obstacle to pursuing your dreams. It is crippling and can steal your dreams from under you. You constantly tell yourself that you’ll go after your dreams when we you have acquired more skills, or more money, or more time, but the truth is, that will never happen. Only when you can finally move on from your fears and recognize how it is holding you back, then can you begin to move forward.
I dealt with my fears and took that big step! Don’t get me wrong, fear still creeps in once in a while. That little voice in my head- I think it’s the one with the red horns- creeps in and tells me I’m not good enough…what the heck do you know about Social Media…there are gurus out there and nobody knows you…you are a little fish in the big ocean of big fishes…you are going to fail again… But you know what I do? I ask myself this question- “What Would You Attempt to Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?”
You can stay defeated and watch things happen or get back up and make things happen. Maybe you are in your 30’s or 40’s, you have lost your direction and you think it’s too late? Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate yourself, your past mistakes and experiences and use it has a springboard to be the best that you can be! So, what do you do with HERE and NOW? What do you do with the FUTURE?
What advice would give your 30-something-year-old self? What obstacles stand in your way from turning your passion to purpose? I would really love to hear your opinion!