Raise your standards.
I believe that if you work hard in the spirit of continuous improvement, opportunities come your way. I don’t believe there is a “right path”. I believe if we want fulfillment, we have to create our own paths. Being willing to constantly reinvent yourself through a self-discovery process in service of just trying to be better is powerful. And if you raise your standards, the universe will meet you there.
Four years into my career I was living that consultant life at Accenture, and while I was learning a lot and loved the people I worked with, I knew this was not my jam. For me, I needed to be closer to the action, I wanted to be part of the solution, I wanted to see things through and feel ownership. But, aside from those things … I really had no idea what WAS my jam. So I decided, at the age of 25, that instead of continuing on in a job that I didn’t love, to quit and do something I knew I would … something I’d always wanted to do. I joined the Peace Corps.
For the first half of my career, I could not articulate exactly what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a north star I was chasing. Not knowing where I was going was super frustrating. If I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career, then how could I really dig into my current job situation? I felt lost and unmotivated.
While living in a tiny little casita in the middle of the coffee fields of El Salvador, I had plenty of time to reflect and dig into where I wanted to go. I created a mini construct that I’ve used to guide me throughout my career in pursuit of finding fulfillment. This is an iterative exercise for me. It looks like this:
What I don’t like doing.
I get clear on what I don’t like, or what drains me. Honestly, this was the biggest exercise early in my career because it was easier than figuring out what I did like doing … basically weeding through what I don’t like, to get to what I do like. I don’t like work that: isn’t tangible, where I can’t see the impact I’m having, that doesn’t work in a team environment, that isn’t aligned with my values system, where I’m not creating, just to name a few. When I found myself in those scenarios, I knew I had to pivot.
What gives me energy.
In the absence of a north star, or a clear guide on where I wanted to go, I went to things that gave me energy. The Peace Corps felt right because I felt I was making a huge impact and able to create initiatives that meant something to people. Business school was the right next step for me because I love to learn. Retail felt right because you get immediate validation by the consumer on your strategy – (they either buy it or they don’t!) And so on…
Exploit what I’m good at.
As I went to things that gave me energy, I started to see where I excel and I shaped my path. I would always ask myself how I could level up something I saw that I could do well. (I raised my standards!)
For example, I get my energy from connecting with people and I’m pretty good at building things. A couple of months ago, I started a group called The Catalyst Circle with Kayd and Carly because I knew we could level up helping people navigate their career. I didn’t start with an endgame in mind, I just wanted to put my energy towards things I like, and I knew I could have impact. It’s been incredibly fulfilling for me. We’ll see where it goes!
As I write this … I’ve had an awesome corporate career in retail, have been lucky enough to start Fly Feet with an incredible team, and still do a good bit of consulting work in the beauty industry. It’s not perfect, and while I love what I’m doing, I still have my days where I ask myself if I’m in the right spot. Be true to yourself, commit to self-discovery and trust the process. Fulfillment is a fluid feeling that you must continue to renew. Raise your standards, and the universe will meet you there. That’s my mantra!