My first job ever was when I was 17. I got hired in as a host at Cracker Barrel. I would guide people to their seats while keeping track of which seats were clean and open. This job taught me a lot about what I didn’t like doing – interacting in that type of busy social setting – but it didn’t necessarily tell me what things I enjoyed doing.
I started understanding more about myself. That’s a very important step. You need to start painting a picture of you endgame – what you like, dislike and ultimately want you want your work to look like. Even if your endgame changes with time, the very fact that you’re aiming for something makes the drive behind your actions that much more purpose-driven.
When you’re young there’s not a lot you can say you’ve experienced. As time passes if you’re not diligent, it’s easy to simply take the situations life gives you without paying attention to what they mean for you. Ask yourself: What has this taught me about myself? Why did things happen the way they did?
Once you have an idea of what you’re like – what interests you and what turns you off, you can take some of the first big steps.
Now if you already have a family I can see how it would be much harder to both provide and transition through many different life changes. My advice would be to pay attention to the money first – make sure you have enough for your family. If you know you can take care of your family financially then you can start experimenting with side-businesses, side-jobs, side-hobbies, and side experiences.
Never lose sight of what you know you want to do, even if what you want to do is constantly changing. This strategy has definitely worked for me so far. I’ve begun to paint a clearer and clearer picture of what I want to do, even at a young age. I know it will continue to work for me in the future.
And who knows, there might be a day where you finally can see enough of your picture to take the first step forward.