It is alleged that back in the 1700’s Napoleon called the UK ‘a nation of …
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This was the question I remember being asked most frequently as a child.
“A ballerina” I would reply confidently.
I started taking ballet lessons at the age of 3 and as an avid reader of my favourite book, the ‘Child’s Concise Encyclopedia Of The World’, my careful research had revealed to me that the very famous ballerina Anna Pavlova hadn’t decided that she wanted to be a dancer until she was 8, so therefore I knew that time was on my side.
How did I know this was the right career?
I knew this because I discovered that Anna and I shared the same birthday, i.e. 31st January; although in some books it did say her birthday was 12th February, but that didn’t matter as that was my great grandmother’s birthday and so that was double proof. I was going to be a famous ballerina.
I loved the swirly dresses, the pink ballet shoes and putting on shows with the rest of the class, believing that during these public displays my potential shone through and everyone in the audience could see that it was just a matter of time.
I started to take tap and acrobatic lessons too, to show my versatility; and as time passed I started to find that I enjoyed the acrobatics more than the ballet.
I persuaded by Mum and Dad to let me join a gymnastics club and said that I didn’t want to go to ballet and tap anymore; they weren’t too impressed, as they had only recently bought me new shoes.
But a gymnast I knew I was going to be. Olga Korbut was my hero and I even saw her at Wembley Arena, which really spurred me on. I was first to get the whole set of medals at gymnastics club and I knew this was the path for me.
Around this time my friends started to attend a local Martial Arts class, Aikido to be precise. So being curious, I thought I would go along, and I loved it!
Before they would buy me my white suit, I had to really prove to my Mum and Dad that I was serious this time. I attended classes religiously and even insisting they watched the TV series ‘Kung Fu’ with me, likening myself to the young ‘Grasshopper’; to show how determined I was.
It wasn’t so easy to see where this career would take me; however, I felt that this was the way and my true path would reveal itself, just as it had with my hero Bruce Lee. I got my suit and raced through the grades from red, through white to yellow and then …
… I discovered chemistry.
I think the captivating Magnus Pyke had a lot to do with this. I didn’t really understand what he said, but he made it sound exciting and motivated me so much that I asked for a Chemistry Set for Christmas.
THIS was what I was going to do; I was going to work in a laboratory! And interestingly that is exactly what I did do when I left school; I worked there for 5 years.
Then I decided I wanted to work in an Office and after being on the receiving end of another Christmas request, a typewriter, so that I could teach myself to type; an Office was exactly where I moved to next.
I liked it there but decided I would like to help people to develop their skills, so thought I’d like to work in the Unemployment Office and then later the Job Centre, then I took a shine to the thought of being a Fraud Investigator; after that decided being a Business Analyst would be cool, then how about a Project Manager? That sounds interesting! Why not an Entrepreneur and Business Owner?
And I did all of those things, including becoming an Image Consultant in between.
So I continued how I started out; you see for me, what I was going to be was never something that was final, it has always been about what I wanted to do for the time that it was right for me.
It is a common belief that people should not only know what they are going to do in their Career but also in Life as if it is some final destination and this can make people afraid of making the wrong decision and put themselves under pressure to get it right.
What is the best Career Guidance?
In our NLP Trainings, we talk about what we do in a Career and Life as being like a series of stepping stones, as we move from one step to the other, enjoying the journey, we learn from each and what we learn we use to keep us moving forward in the direction that we want to go.
If this sounds like a mindset that you would like to adopt, why don’t you call one of our Coaches for a chat? Until then, in the words of one of my many heroes, Bruce Lee, “Remember, success is a journey, not a destination.”