Most people have dreams and ambitions, and not just of winning millions of dollars and living a life of luxury. For many people, their main goals in life are far more modest, but then again much more realistic and achievable, such as following a career they love or having a family.
One of the main regrets people express as they age and approach the end of their lives is that they didn’t do more; didn’t achieve an elusive goal, or take a chance when they had one, but if you can’t see how to achieve your goal, it can be difficult to pursue your dream.
One area where people often miss out on living a more rewarding life is with their career path. So many people dream of being actors, singers, athletes, artists, and writers, but very few have the combination of talent, drive, and lucky breaks it takes to make a career in such industries.
The same is true of other professions, like the medical field, law, teaching; pretty much any job has its elite practitioners at the top and various tiers in a hierarchy below. You might feel that if you can’t be the best, there’s no point trying. However, it’s a very limiting viewpoint, and if that’s the one you have, then success is likely to elude you.
Luckily, there are ways to succeed in enjoying a successful career path in your dream profession that you might not have considered:
Take a sideways step
Sometimes people are so focused on the ambition they have that they become blinkered to other possibilities. If you’re finding it hard to make any headway as a novelist, why not consider different ways of earning a living from your writing? Perhaps you have an area of expertise about which you could write a non-fiction book, or you have an undiscovered talent for writing blog posts and online content. You might find your talent lies in investigative journalism, or maybe the problem is that you’re writing fiction for adults when your voice is better suited to a tween or teen audience.
Combine different areas of expertise
Sometimes people have talents in several seemingly different areas and believe they have to choose between them when following a career path, or they discover a talent or passion they never knew they had quite by accident, and don’t know whether to stick with what they were doing or pursue the new interest. Rather than having to choose between your talents and interests, how about combining them?
Say you trained as a nurse, a profession that is most often one people follow because it’s a vocation. You’re an excellent nurse, but you also feel that you could do a much better job of managing your ward or the nursing department than whoever’s doing it now. Who says you can’t? Have a look online, and you’ll see there are courses available for nurses who wish to pursue a career path in management, like the RN to MSN FNP online that combines a masters in nursing with an MBA.
While the advice that you can do anything you want if you try hard enough is excellent motivational talk, sometimes there are insurmountable barriers to success in specific fields. For example, if you’re an 80-year-old woman with osteoporosis, your chances of becoming a prima ballerina are remote! However, what often seem like barriers needn’t be if you employ a degree of lateral thinking.
For instance, if you were a highly skilled rider and then sustained an injury that meant you couldn’t get back on a horse, you might think all was lost. However, being a trainer doesn’t require you to be able to ride yourself if you learn how to communicate your knowledge verbally. This is a great career path for those who are too old to safely ride as well. Helping others to improve their riding and build up better relationships with their animals means your life is still revolving around being with horses, just in a different way.
There are so many possibilities if you take off the blinkers that are driving you to keep walking the same path in life. If you’ve always wanted to act, but you aren’t getting any parts, you could keep going, telling yourself you are at least pursuing your dream. Or you could try something different, like going for new types of roles, taking acting classes with a new teacher, writing your own parts, having a go at directing, or moving into a different area of entertainment altogether, like standup comedy.
Don’t give up, but don’t be restricted by having too narrow a focus for your career path. Whatever your dream is, there’s a way you can get close to it, if you look hard enough.