Over the last few years, I’ve had a lot of angst about my progress in life. I’ll be the first person to tell you that I’m no where near where I thought I’d be when I got out of school. Even if you asked me where I’d be now three years ago, it’d still be different from reality. I’ve ventured down many paths. In the last five years alone, I’ve been an HR Generalist, Recruiter, Career Consultant, Relationship Blogger, Personal Development Blogger, Executive Editor, Website Administrator, and now a Podcaster. Each thing brought me some degree of success (some things still are), whether a new job, writing gig, award, or speaking engagement. But even with all that, I’ve still found myself anxious and, in many cases, bored.
There was always someone knocking it out the park in their craft and seemingly loving what they did. Always someone getting greater accolades in areas where I found myself saying “I could do that too. Probably better. Maybe that would excite me more than some of the stuff I’m doing now.” Someone “winning” while I felt like I was still struggling despite the success I’d had (or am having). So what did I do when I saw people seemingly blowing past me while having the best time ever? I’d change gears and switch focus. It’d be time to pursue a new path that would get me closer to where I wanted to be, somewhere exciting…even though I didn’t quite know where that was. If you the know the feeling, your legs are tired too. It takes a lot to chase someone else’s dream.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson recently though. Well, let me not lie. I’ve been aware of this lesson for a while, but just accepted in the last few days.
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, which means I’m right on time.
I turned 31 on March 10th. Yes, I’m officially in my 30s. There was (and still is some) angst about that. There’s still pressure to progress, though it’s good pressure. But why am I right on time? Why do I feel better about where I am now compared to previous years?
The majority of the people I see taking off in their fields are 30-35. I’ve also learned that they’ve been dedicated to some version of their craft for at least 3-5 years. In many cases, longer than that. There was no short trip to where they are today. It took years of hard work and mistakes. It took missteps and realizing where they could make the most impact or offer the most value while remaining happy. At some point, they each had a moment where they got comfortable with themselves and decided, “this is it.”
Coincidentally, I just had a similar realization and it’s nothing new. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years that’s tapped me on the shoulder multiple times to say, “hey, I’m still here.” I’d think about it for a bit, maybe take some steps toward it, but always end up back at the same place; frustrated and anxious.
Now that I know what the real path looks like, I’m comfortable with it taking some time. I don’t expect success to happen overnight. It’ll be an extension of the current journey, and I already know how the story ends. But I’m going to enjoy the process of getting there. Unknown things will still pop up. Setbacks will be a mainstay. Achievements will reinvigorate me in moments of doubt. Regardless, at the end of the day, I’m right on time. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
You probably are too.