As I am constantly reflecting on my past experiences, this post was inspired by a conversation I was having with my brother about something Elon Musk said. It was this:
“Focus on 3-5 years down the line. Most people don’t realize the life they live right now is based solely on DECISIONS they made 3-5 years ago.”Elon Musk
Naturally, we both got to talking about where we were 3-5 years ago, and what decisions brought us to where we are now. When we really broke it down… we were left pretty speechless because everything we did 4 or 5 years ago has played a huge role for us when we look at where we are now.
I’ll give you an example. 5 years ago around this time, I was a Peer Advisor at FIU. I presented an educational session on a topic that always interested me and wanted to further explore: the stages of group development and team conflict. What am I back in school for? Organizational Development.
THREE years ago, I was wildly unhappy and unfulfilled at my job. I was commuting over 30 miles each way (and even had to pay for my own parking), and made the decision that I could not stick around if it cost me my happiness, time, and energy. So I quit. I had absolutely no backup plan and was left unemployed for eight months (totally my choice). note: I am not suggesting to quit your job 🙂
Why did I quit? I was after something better. I knew what I wanted and decided I would do everything possible to change my situation. It started with my initial intention. Even before I left my job I was looking sooo hard for jobs I wanted to apply for. I would get interviews and upon further research, I would skip the interview because I couldn’t connect to their values (or find them). A big part of the decisions you make should center around alignment. Are their values in alignment with who you are and what you believe? I had also started this blog and my instagram in the months leading up to my departure (I clearly knew what I wanted to do).
I even reached out to big names on social media like Gary Vee and Richard Branson messaging them for the off chance a member of their team would respond to me! (haha)
This message is cringe-worthy but so funny at the same time! My mindset at the time was , “why not!” I knew I wouldn’t get a response but I knew there was opportunity on the horizon to work for the company right in my hometown! I had to do literally everything I could! I think I sent a few emails over 3 months trying to get in touch with their recruitment team- I even asked to work for free! (I don’t recommend doing that).
Well fast forward 3 years later, and I’ve just passed my two-year mark at Virgin Voyages and it has been the longest stint I’ve held at a company in my career (for those who know my experience, you know I held jobs in many areas of hospitality).
The point I’m trying to make is, even in the face of uncertainty you must be strategic in the decisions you make today for it will set you up years down the line- even if you can’t totally see that far ahead. How many of you are standing in your own way?
There were plenty of opportunities for me to take the first job that came around with an offer when I was unemployed but I denied them because I knew I wanted to work for Virgin. I put all my effort and energy into finding the companies that were right for me, and I took the eight months to work on myself. I contributed more to this blog, I did Fight Camp, and just enjoyed my time off without any pressure. (by the way, if you are currently still searching for a job, check out my tips on unemployment).
Even one year ago, I decided to enroll in a free course at HarvardEDX online just for the hell of it during quarantine- that one class inspired me to continue my education with a Master’s Degree, receive my Chief Happiness Officer certification and even start my own coaching business during a pandemic (but I could have easily decided not to pursue those things until I found the “right time.”)
Young professionals today are struggling enough to find a job, let alone one that makes them happy. There’s too much pressure out there just to find a good job to be successful, that many are dropping their own personal growth and self-development and this is NOT okay. Self-awareness is one of the most important skills you will need in life and in your career. It’s “grind” this and “let’s get this bread” but in the end, people are not happy. Too many limiting beliefs that stop many early on.
So when you look back on your life 3-5 years ago, what were those decisions you made that brought you to where you are now?
For my young professional out there that feels like they are just riding the wave, and want to be able to create a deeper sense of fulfillment and meaning in your life and career… head on over to this page to figure out how! You too, can create more happiness in your life and learn the strategies and tools you need to succeed.
If you haven’t already, make sure to join the conversation on Instagram @generationziz for more tips and tools on the science of happiness. See you there!