I have some incredible friends. Girls and guys, I have a lot of people I can count on if I ever need anything – a ride to the airport or a spare kidney, I have no doubt that I’d be taken care of. There is one thing all of my close friends and I have in common: our careers aren’t where we’d like them to be. I’m not sure if it’s the current state of most employers (demand more, pay less), the crappy economy, or if the “quarterlife crisis” is a verifiable and inevitable phase. Either way, I have had the same conversation with 20 different friends in the past month, “How did we get here?”
Two weeks ago I had a dream that I went back to high school to visit my teachers and find my old essays on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was convinced that those essays would hold the key to what I’m in such a desperate search for today. The dream had a lot of twists, but in the end no essays were found and I woke up even more frustrated. I quickly sought the help of my friend (and Life Coach) Melody, whose first question was, Why would ‘high school Jenni’ know more than ‘current Jenni?’
<Insert John Mayer’s No Such Thing as background music>
I can only remember one essay I wrote in high school about my future career. I wanted to own a spa that was to be in a bungalow-style house with every room as a different treatment: nails in one room, massage in another, nutrition classes in the kitchen. I remember it so clearly because I was set on doing this my entire freshman year in high school. I had a diagram, I picked out the plush carpet, I fully believed I had found my calling. That is, until I discovered Kelly Ripa – having her job was my next calling in life. Enter three years of TV Productions class and presumably torturing my peers with my face on their daily TV morning announcements until graduation.
So where did it go? What happened to that drive and clear direction that seemed to come so easily before I actually needed it!? I truly believe that ‘high school Jenni’ (the decision-maker, confident and headstrong, actionable individual) is still in my brain somewhere, deep down, frantically waving red flags pointing toward the obvious answer of what it is I want to be ‘when I grow up.’
Tonight I found this article from Anthony Robbins and it helped me realize that it’s not so much “what” we want to be, it’s “where” we want to be – which is something I didn’t know in high school.
“If you want to control the direction of your life, you must consistently make good decisions. It’s not what you do once in a while that has an impact on the direction of your life—it’s what you do consistently. Make decisions today about how you are going to live in the years to come. For your decisions to really make a difference in your life it’s imperative to decide what results you’re committed to—and know specifically how these results will transform your life. It’s equally critical to decide what kind of person you’re committed to becoming. Get clear about what you want to be, do and have, and what your life will be like after you accomplish this. With that clarity, you’ll find it becomes easier to make the kinds of decisions that will move you in the direction you desire.
What are your standards? What will you demand from life? Decide today if you’ll accept life as it is or if you’ll live your life on your own terms, at the edge and at the highest level.”
So, to all of my close friends with our “how did I get here” mentality, how can we get “there?”