Before you can write or dream of communicating your own story, you have to explore and discover who you truly are. This is not to be confused with who others think you are, or who you have been taught to believe you are.
For a long time I knew I wanted to be a writer. I loved storytelling, I loved reading – I still do. I would bury my head in books from the age of 8 and escape in my imagination to those places and spaces, reliving each character’s experience, sometimes even reimagining the ending. Many days, dreaming that I would be able to write my own someday.
Yet, interestingly enough, from a career perspective, I am a successful technologist and leader at a global company. You see, while I had a desire to write, I did not choose Journalism at Community College or Undergraduate level – I chose Technology. I fell into the thinking at the time that this would be the best career choice for me. The individuals I trusted advised me to pursue it as options in the field I was passionate about were limited at that time. This was absolutely true, and while I am so very thankful for the career Technology affords me, I still find myself wondering, what if I had the courage to pursue that field 12 years ago? What if I really tapped into my desire and ability to write with impact, translate messages to audiences and communicate the essence of a moment, an event or a
lifetime? What would that life have looked like for me?
I’m sure you have those moments too.
Fortunately, my love for communication helped me land promotions because of my ability to frame the narrative, communicate what matters most, and deliver compelling messages to my audience in the technology space and on a daily basis, I have the honor of working with students and professionals in the Caribbean and North America coaching them through their own narratives in support of landing jobs, scholarships or admissions to prestigious universities. I see one trend in all of my time with them as a communications coach. They are so busy trying to fit in to what the required expectation of them is, versus, what they desire to be.
This happens to everyone. We often times wind up in careers that were chosen for us by parents, or societal expectation. After some time, we begin to believe this is our true desire too. As a result, we find ourselves stuck. Stuck living a life that we ‘chose’ but may not have known why. Stuck and settled in careers that provide no fulfilment or simply stuck in limiting thinking and beliefs that really perpetuate a constant feeling of ‘How is this my life?’ or most importantly, ‘How do I change my life?’.
Good news is that we are not trees! Despite countless narratives that tell us differently, life is a series of events and choices that allow us to pivot and change direction at any point in time. Changing course is not something that only the ‘young’ can do. It’s something that each of us, can do.
Here are some tips for you as you discover who you are and how to outline or communicate your vision for your future:
What was the turning point for you when you discovered you wanted a change?
All else being equal, if you could do only one job/ task for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What were some of the biggest lessons that life taught you? What were the experiences that happened to you that underscored the importance of these lessons?
How have you contributed to others around you to bring more meaning to them, how would this be amplified with education or a new role?
Before you can write or dream of communicating your own story, you have to explore and discover who you truly are. This is not to be confused with who others think you are, or who you have been taught to believe you are. Remember, your current job title is not who you are. Your parents’ expectations nor society’s expectations are who you are. Your story, your experiences, your values, your commitment, your spark, your gifts, your individuality – that’s who you are. The world deserves to know it and you deserve to honor it.
Island Advantage helps students and professionals unlock the power of their story to achieve academic and professional goals. Subscribe to our mailing list to take advantage of free webinars, consultations and other events.