career dreams life passion Pausch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life

I write this post as I have just been transferred into a new role within one of the group companies – a role which I don’t know much about. I will be marketing premium / performance bicycles in India – neither do I know cycling and neither do I know anything about marketing. As I take up this new assignment I took some time off to think about where am I heading with my career.

One of my favourite songs is “Everybody’s Free” by Baz Luhrmann – it’s a song that always makes me reflect. One of the lines in the song goes like this – “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t”. I take inspiration from this song as I write this post – and also a big cheeers to everyone out there who still don’t know what they want to do with their life. Remember, you are not alone.

Wendell Berry in his article on “work-life balance asks “why should one think of life as distinct from work”. He questions the concept of “work life balance” – according to him one would need work life balance only when you are not living your calling and only if you are not enjoying what you are doing. Many people say that you need to find your passion and then convert that into your career – but the larger question lies in how do you find out what you are passionate about. It’s not always easy to figure that out. I often reflect what makes me tick – and I still find it very hard to answer the question. Moreover, can your job always be your passion? or should you pursue your passion in your free time?.I have varied experiences in life – be it an executive assistant role at murugappa, a general management role at aiesec, a hr role at Taj or a marketing role at tata interactive. So what am I passionate about? About hr? about leading people? About transformation and change? About marketing? About anything entrepreneurial? Maybe all of the above? Or maybe none of the above? Or is it something that changes over a period of time.
One thing I have come to understand is that if you want to understand your passion – you need to see what you are “good at” or what you are “happy about”. Rahul Bose made a lot of sense in his recent talk where he spoke about how you should look for that “one day at work that makes your happy the most” and try to do more of it – if need be, by shifting jobs. At the same times its critical to listen to other people’s advice to understand what you are good at or to understand what makes you happy. The understanding comes from personal reflection as much as from external advice. It can take time – and one should give it time.
As I look back at all external advice and person reflection to connect the dots (as Steve Jobs mentions in his Stanford speech), I can make some sense of my life. I don’t think I know exactly where I am headed but I know the direction. I have understood that I am good at building relationships and I am process oriented and that I have dreamt of being an entrepreneur since my adolescence. Though its not a clear dream, nor a clear goal, I know I am going to turn entrepreneur in the near future because I recognize that my dream should have a priority in my life. With my dream is in the background – my varied experiences are going to play a critical role in shaping the person I want to be. Especially my marketing role because I will have to connect with the consumer to ensure profitability of my segment – this skill is going to be critical to me as an entrepreneur.

As I complete this post, I urge you to watch this video on “Achieving Your Childhood dreams” by Late. Prof. Randy Pausch. This is most inspiring video I have ever seen.

A wise man once said “For a dream to become a reality you have to treat it like it’s real”. I would love to hear from you on whether you are following your dream and how far you are in making your dream real.