If you could look into your own future, what would you consider a success? Or if you went to your twentieth reunion, say, would you be reflecting on a career so far that would make sense to the you of twenty years earlier?
I don’t know quite what I envisioned for myself at 38 when I was 18, but I’m certain it wasn’t exactly where I’ve ended up. One road leads to another, and following them leads you to new ideas, new experiences.
The struggle for most 18-year-olds (and their parents, double) is to understand that where they’re aiming is the center of a very large bullseye.
All sorts of careers lie on that target, many that you haven’t even imagined. Take aim, but accept where your arrow lands. Then, if that experience delights you, you can make it the bullseye of your next shot. Take enough shots and you have found a career and the ability to hit your personal bullseye regularly.
Many teenagers see their targets like this, though.
It might be starring on Broadway, or a gold record, or a Pulitzer Prize. Miss that bullseye and you’ve landed in failure, destitute and homeless.
Remember that this isn’t reality. Almost no one hits their initial bullseyes and almost everyone finds a career.
Missing the bullseye isn’t failure, it’s the first shot in a series that leads you to your life.