I’ve always been intrigued by people who just knew what they wanted to do. They knew how to find their own path. They knew who they were. They knew how to live their own life. Sometimes these people just pick up and move because they’re ready to. Sometimes they quit jobs and start businesses. It seems as if there’s something inside them that just knows. And they trust that.
Practical to a Fault
It seems risky. Too risky for someone like me. My thoughts race. What if it doesn’t work? I’ve always marveled at these people. I have kind of been stuck between admiration and fear for them. What if they follow their dream and the dream doesn’t yield the results they were looking for? What do they do? What do they do when they need that income to pay for living expenses? To pay their health premiums for their chronic illness? How do they take the leap of faith knowing all of that? I am practical to a fault. I realize that even seemingly sure things cannot work out, and I know that “risky” things could but the practical path often pans out. It’s not always fun. Actually it never really is, but it does make a lot of sense. Or at least I thought it did.
The pandemic has given me time to reflect a bit. It’s given me time to think about what is next on my path. I re-listened to our Podcast this week and initially didn’t think any more of changing paths. I have a good job. I am able to afford my basic expenses and buy books. And I was fine. Until enduring a meeting in which an idea I had presented (a year ago—that they ultimately decided not to do) became the focus of the project’s plan for the students. The idea I had suggested and explained was going to be the focus of the students’ summer project. My mouth dropped. Almost on video chat. That was it. It was a moment I looked at myself and my practicality.
I had already been thinking about a new direction I could head in, and this sealed it. In that moment, I realized I really need to be in charge of my trajectory. I need to be in charge of these projects. I proposed the project. I have the plan. I have executed pieces of it before AND I know how it works. Students like it and they are engaged. And to see this group work with someone else to do the exact same work I had already planned!
It was at that moment when it dawned me: I can jump out and do my own thing. My practicality, while it had served me well for some time, was now in the way!
Am I an Expert Though?
My practicality has something to say; just one question. It wants to know if I am expert. Normally, this would be enough to dissuade me. But I’ve got an answer this time. Listen, I’m not going to say I’m an expert at everything, but there are things I can explain and do that no else can. I have experience and tried and true methods that work. I am not an imposter in this. I have improved outcomes for those around me and I’m damn good at it. I can show you my consistent results and I have credible third-party references. I have years of experience. It’s time.
I’m sure it’s time for you, too. Thank your practicality for their service, but they need to sit down. Maybe you don’t want to be an entrepreneur; entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Maybe you want to find another place to be. Maybe a new environment will let you shine. Finding where you belong is key to being on the right path. Working for yourself or creating a role for yourself within an existing space may be what’s best for you.
So am I an expert? Yes. I have a level of expertise, a skillset, and knowledge that others are seeking. Doesn’t mean I can’t learn more. Doesn’t mean I won’t take a class here and there. But I am knowledgeable. And you are, too.
Conducting Your Life
How do you become the conductor of your own life? It’s true there are demands on us. Parenthood places demands that must be met. Being partnered has its own demands. Maybe chronic illness or your health means that you have to be strategic in how you conduct your life. All of that’s okay.
I’ve been working with my therapist and as she tells me on most occasions, “There is enough time.” There is. It does not have to be finished in five minutes. She also recently told me, as I was planning out the next steps on my path, “You don’t have to have the whole thing planned tomorrow. What’s the next step?” When I tell you that I was able to breath a sigh of relief, I exhaled so completely and thoroughly.
And you know what happened? The stress of not having to plan every single outcome and step evaporated. And guess what else? It appeared. What I want to do. I already knew what I didn’t want to do. And for a long while, it felt like I’d never have direction on what I wanted to do. That all changed a few days ago. And knowing what I want to do has finally led me to follow my own path.
Are you ready to conduct your own life? Of course you are. Here are some things that can help:
- Listen in to the Podcast.
- Plan one step at a time.
- Give yourself permission to not have every movement mapped out.
- Remember: There is enough time.
You’ve got this. You can be the conductor of your own life. Walk your path confidently.