When I was in high school, I was told that I needed to work out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was 17. And I had NFI. My subjects at school were Indonesian, Maths, Graphic Design, English, Chemistry, Studio Art and Biology. Clearly the curriculum of a single minded student, NOT! I decided I wanted to go into Advertising, and at my University Entrance Interview I said I wanted to be an Art Director.
I did not know what that was.
Once I found out, I did not want to be one anymore. I thought I might like to be a copywriter. I liked to write, I had fun ideas, and I couldn't draw. Also, that was the only other option in my course.
I ended up taking another course after that one and becoming an Account Manager. Mainly, ok exclusively, because I had by that point spent 4.5 years at university.
It's not a secret that I did not find my passion in my work, but throughout my twenties I didn't think of doing something else. I was exactly where I had said I would be, where I had planned to be.
Miserable, but on plan. Working towards Account Director and a six-figure income.
At the start of my 30s, I was living in Germany, freshly married, planning to come back to Australia, get another job in Advertising, and save up for a house. Then the plan was to move back to Germany and start a family.
Now, I'm divorced. I work in a job as far away from Advertising as possible, and have a business that I love.
Nothing at all like I planned.
And I love it.
Because what I did was get off my script and into my life. I have created the life I live and love now based on who I want to be.
It's an important difference. Not what I want to be - WHO I want to be.
Looking back, I think I "got it" when I was a little girl. I didn't know what my Barbie was - she just went off to some random workplace everyday (i.e. out into the hallway for about 5 minutes). But I knew who she was - she was fun and smart and happy, independent and respected, what she did was important, and she had many pairs of fabulous shoes.
But this way of thinking isn't encouraged as we grow up. We are asked WHAT we want to be when we grow up. Not WHO we want to be.
And that can lead us to living on a script - the script of the Copywriter, the Teacher, the Whatever You Slogged it Out For Years At Uni-er. I know for sure I did. I was definitely living the life of an account manager.
I also know that if, when I'd thought about what I wanted to "be when I grow up", and my list had stayed like my Barbie - fun, smart, happy, independent and respected - there is no way I could have ever walked through the doors of an advertising agency. Let alone worked in that industry for 10 years!
It was through looking at that list, however, and comparing it to what I had become (since I guess I'm "grown up" now!), that I saw the chasm between the two. And could see that I just had to do something about it.
The thing about a script is, it's acting. Becoming the person you most want to be - well that's the truest, most honest and magical expression of yourself.
So - who do you want to be when you grow up? Are you her already, or is something holding you back from becoming her? Imagine nothing changes at all in your life - how do you feel a year from now? Content, excited ... miserable?
Give it a couple of minutes this week and just think about it: who do you want to be, and how can you start living that life?
That is who you are meant to be. No one can be a better YOU than you can. Make your list, and start making the changes in your life that will move that list from a wish-list, to a simple description of your life.
And take it from someone who knows - it is possible to do it in many pairs of fabulous shoes.