Don’t Let Anyone Tell You What You SHOULD Be – Be What You Want

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When I was in college studying Criminal Justice, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it, maybe become an attorney or work in a forensics lab.  Although I didn’t’ know, I was given plenty of suggestions.

My brother squelched the attorney thought (he was right) and my dad said I should be a Park Ranger. Wait, what? Now I love the outdoors and the fishing/hiking trips my family took but to go all in?  That one really took me and my mom for a loop.  I think he was suggesting that because he was an avid fisherman and outdoors guy and having a daughter who was a Park Ranger could be beneficial to see more national parks.

Needless to say, I did not become a Park Ranger or an attorney.

I was reminded of this quirky family story the other day when I got an unexpected email. The sender was super excited to tell me about the jobs listed within the email for which I was a perfect match! These positions included:

  • Facilities Coordinator
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Team Leader- Electronic Monitoring
  • Trial Attorney
  • Concierge
  • Project Manager

I am not making those up.  How in the world am I qualified to be a Trial Attorney? Seriously? I thought about it once, but really? But this email got me to thinking about ‘advice’.

Sometimes we get stuck where we are and are not sure what we want to do next or even what we want to be when we grow up. That is when we ask for advice. In this moment of doubt about ourselves or our career, we may start giving other people’s opinions more credence than our own. Stop that.

One of the most important and often underutilized or recognized tools in job searching, career changing, or really life is your gut. Listen to it. Listen to it more than you do anyone else.

It is okay not to know what to do next.  There is nothing wrong with that, it is normal. Just stay in that place for a bit and instead of asking everyone else first, ask yourself: what do you want to do.  Notice I did not say what are you qualified to do, what kind of job do you think you could get – no, what do you want to do?

Do not get caught up in the “I have only ever done this” or “I am not qualified to do that”. What do you want to do? When you acknowledge it, does it feel right in your gut? Great, that is your starting point.  Now you can start planning.  Look at your transferable skills, how to they match up?  How do you break into that field? Is there a lower level that your skills match up with to gain the experience? Is there training or education that you can earn? Where there is a will, there is a way. You just need a North to set your compass.

It may not happen in a day or week or month, it may take over a year or so; but having a goal that rings true to you is worth pursuing.

I am not saying do not ask advice, it is wonderful to get the input of our friends, family and others. Yet we need to take it in with a filter. If someone suggests you try a whole new avenue in your career, instead of just going with it, ask them why.  Maybe they see something in you that you have not seen before or in yourself.  In that situation, fantastic – they are helping you learn more about yourself.

If they can’t give you a solid reason, take it with a grain of salt, smile and thank them.

This is your path to create and we continue to create it throughout our entire career.  It is not a one and done so take your time. Spend time listening to your gut, intuition, the little voice – whatever you want to call it.  Remember your filters when soliciting advice from others and above all else – enjoy the process of change and discovery!


A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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