Recently a lot of people have been asking me career advice, which is interesting since I was in this exact same boat myself until about five months ago. And even now, it’s not like I have a clear-cut vision with steps a, b, and c for getting to my goal. My biggest fear in life has been the fear of failure, and I’ve let it affect me to the point of paralysis before. I hope that this article helps you if you’re feeling that way today or if you ever do in the future.
1. Get an education.
For most of my life, I had no idea what to do career wise. There are so many opportunities out there in the world today; how do you know which one is right for you? I still don’t know for sure, but I have a much better idea now thanks to a college education and work experience in various fields. I let myself figure out what I don’t like so that I could narrow down the options of what I do like. Sometimes too many options can leave us paralyzed, but education and experience will give you momentum to move. And while you’re learning, you have the time to think about what makes you tick.
2. Remove the pressure.
My second piece of advice would be to take a load off, sister (or brother)! Very rarely is your first job your last job. The number of people I know who have stayed in the same career for 20+ years is less than 1%. As we change and evolve, so do our tastes and passions. If you’re genuinely working your hardest, what’s the reason for the pressure on yourself? One of my favorite passages in the Bible, Matthew 6:25-27, sums this up best:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
So take a load off and don’t be scared to take a step—or you might end up never moving at all.
3. Create a goal. Work toward it. Keep your hands open.
Some people say that a five-year plan is God’s favorite joke, and I understand the humor in that. We can’t plan for the unknowns of life, but we can plan around what we enjoy. My third piece of advice is to keep a goal in mind and work toward it. But keep your hands open for what the world may throw your way. My dad always said, “Work hard and the success will follow,” and looking at his life, I believe that. He has shown me that it takes incredible amounts of determination and hard work to provide for a family and have a career he’s proud of. I don’t know what it is about a lot of people these days (myself included sometimes), but we seem to want shortcuts. We want to know how to become successful fast or how to become rich in a year, but we’ve got to remember that what comes quickly, goes quickly.
4. Who’s got your back? Do you?
My husband helped me immensely when I was really struggling with the next step in my career. He made me sit down and create a list of what I enjoy, then we researched online for careers that embodied those ideas. One of my biggest passions in life has always been writing. I have filled journal after journal since I was a little kid, but I never thought I was good enough to start my own website centered around my writing. He put a stop to those doubts real quick and told me that if I never believed in myself, how the heck would I ever get off the ground?
This brings me to my fourth point. We need people in our lives who encourage us and push us. Not just people who tell us how great we are (sorry, no participation trophy here). Do you have people in your life like that? People who want you to win? The common saying is that it takes a village to raise a child. I believe that it takes a community to help you thrive. Thrive far and safely. We all know those superstars and geniuses who had major successes but didn’t have a strong community around them, and before we knew it they had an ungraceful fall from the top. With God and community as my stronghold, I’m ready to chase after my dreams—are you?