Hurray to Youth!
A few years ago when I was in a career in which one’s credibility is largely derived from age and experience, I felt that my youth (not age) was a hindrance. I felt too young. Now, I am happy to celebrate youth and the privileges that are associated with it. My social network is made up of friends and people at all stages of life and I have found it invalid to base my age-identity on whom I am surrounded by. Therefore, I have decided that I shall be whatever age I want to be. This post is dedicated to the youths and the youth-in-you.
About to graduate and not sure what to do? Great! Thinking of switching fields and job? Great! Fantasizing about a dream career? Great! Now is the time to experiment and find your calling(s).
I have been paid for working in different jobs, roles and industries. Each of them has either taught me new skills or drew out valuable insights about myself. Selling light sticks at concerts; selling uniforms in schools; a banquet waitress in hotels; selling shoes in a store; a service staff doubling up as the startup team of a bistro restaurant; a customer support officer in the country’s social security statutory board; a behavioural therapist for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder; a trainer speaking to hundreds of people regionally; serving the human resources team of a renowned international private bank; a freelance facilitator and workshop designer; boosting sales in an international executive education organization; self-employed as a coach helping people create fulfilling lives… and the list goes on, with anticipation. Most people look at my CV and find it hard to box me in a specific category or specialty. Me too, I am still figuring out my professional identity. The great thing though, is that these experiences have shaped me as a person and a professional; I have been able to deliver excellent results in these diverse roles, build fruitful relationships, and find joy in work.
Whatever form it takes, your work is going to fill up your life; do yourself a little justice by exploring and discovering where your passion and strengths lie. Made a mistake? No matter, start again, one step clearer than before. Experiment your way to clarity and work satisfaction. As famously quoted from Thomas Edison about his failures before the successful light bulb – ‘I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’.
This is nothing new to you – you’ve heard much about this and probably felt the same. There are so many sponsorships and opportunities available for youths, especially in Europe and if you are below 26 years of age. You just need to do a little digging and asking. Here is an article from Jeff Goins which I particularly enjoy, 3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young. (Ok I must admit that the inspiration for this article’s title most likely came from Jeff’s!)
If you do not have a mentor, I would highly encourage you to find one now. This is the time to learn from those who have paved their way to success and whom you respect. There are many (emphasis: MANY) who would love to be a mentor to an ambitious and motivated youth. As much as you will receive guidance and networks through your mentor, your mentor will receive inspiration and satisfaction through helping you succeed. The benefits are numerous and rich. I am very blessed to have a mentor whom I respect deeply and with whom I meet on a regular basis. There are also others who I go to for advice and guidance. All you need to do is, ask.
Despite singing the accolades of being a youth, I still stand by what I’ve found myself saying more and more often – never too young, never too old. Then, I was too young for being credible professionally and too old to pick up a childhood dream of learning to play the piano. Now, I am just perfect where I am, and so are you 😉
Even Evian agrees!