I am writing this to my 20-something self, a younger version of who I am today. First of all, I know at 30-something I have so much more to learn in this life. But my 20s started it all. It started the years of refinement of who I am today.
To my younger self…
You just graduated college with a degree you felt was the best fit for you at the time. The truth is, you were a little too scared to sit down and take the leap into what you enjoyed doing. You were on a mission to graduate in four years. Get in and get out. The degree you chose was “close enough” to your passions but it wouldn’t be enough to really get you into a career you wanted.
You didn’t take unpaid internships to learn more about the trade you desired because that didn’t pay the bills. There were only so many hours in the day (and when you took out the hours after a social life) every working hour had to put money in the bank. Even then, you didn’t allow yourself to fully dream. There were bills to pay and parents to please. More on your parents later…
Your future vision…
Even then, you viewed yourself as a leader. Throughout high school, you were drawn to leadership roles. A teacher shared his glimpse of your future and it included running a company someday. A position of some sorts in a high performing, high achieving role. His statement has stuck with you all this time. It’s just who you’ve always been at the core. In college, by the fate of a rock-paper-scissors game, you scored an Executive Director position for a campus organization. That role was the foundation of learning how to lead others. It was also a lesson to not take any role in life lightly. It’s there to teach you something. Be open to it and be grateful for it.
You had always imagined yourself working hard and running a company. Being the boss. Being the leader. You didn’t know where or what, but the role of leadership was implanted inside of you. You knew working for a good company and bringing home a solid paycheck was part of growing up. When job searching, paycheck trumped passion. Every time. Before long, you were working your way to leading people in a corporate setting. It’s what part of your future vision included. But it also took you farther away from your dreams.
Dreams don’t pay the bills…
Yep. Hard truth right there. Dreams don’t pay the bills. You were too scared to ever talk to your parents about what you really wanted to do with your degree because you wouldn’t be making money quickly. You felt as if you’d be failing them because you might need financial assistance a little longer than planned and you didn’t want to let them down. The goal was to get done with college in four years and get working. Taking unpaid internships or extra classes would have prolonged that and in turn, costed more money. It didn’t feel like a route that should be pursued. As a parent today, you hope and pray your kids have the courage to communicate better than this. You can also see now that it’s not how your parents would have wanted it either. They would have wanted to know there was something more.
While dreams don’t pay the bills at first, they do align you with your purpose. God wants us to be the best versions of ourselves so he places dreams in our hearts. He has given each of us (yes, YOU) special and unique talents to share with this world. It comes in all forms and are perfectly etched within you for His purpose and glory. They aren’t there by accident. Those “silly” dreams you can’t stop thinking about trying? They keep surfacing for a reason. You are meant to act on them.
Action is everything.
Somewhere along the way you started to confuse action with busyness. You had three jobs at one point to make sure you were filling all of your waking hours with income. After graduation, you quickly lost the dreams that were inside you. You were in the working world now. This was a one way ticket to the rest of your life. It’s how things were going to be. But action and being busy are not the same thing. Being busy is easy. It’s easy to fill up your schedule with things to do. A full calendar can sometimes make you feel important, needed, and useful. But don’t confuse a busy calendar with a calendar filled with action.
Action is what moves you forward in life. It propels you towards your heart’s desires. You can be in action while working a job you don’t necessarily love. These days that action is called a side hustle. That side hustle is where your heart and dreams live. It’s where you come alive. It’s where passion and purpose collide. You will be challenged to take a leap of faith. Time to let the busy thing you don’t love go so you can take full action on your deep desire. Don’t ignore this stirring in your heart.
This is it. The moment you’ve been working and waiting for. Go after it! If it doesn’t work out as planned? So what! Chances are you still learned a great lesson and you are a better person because of it. You will be closer to who you are meant to be in this life. And that, is totally worth it. So dear younger self, it’s time you take action towards the dreams stirring in your heart. It’s never too late.