When I originally started my career I didn’t know what I wanted to be nor in which direction I wanted to go.
All I knew was that I was fairly ambitious, wanted to grow and felt like I could do anything.
No amount of career path discussions helped, it did give me an understanding of options but I didn’t know which path I wanted to follow.
This was simply because I hadn’t had any experience to help me understand what I liked, disliked and to guide my direction.
After finishing my degree, I started out as a software developer and was quite happy in my job. For about a year I didn’t make much progress because I didn’t know what I wanted. Rather I focused on doing the job at hand without much consideration for the future.
These seemed reasonably logical, focus on doing my job well and opportunities will come.
At the time, I didn’t appreciate that it was up to me to make these opportunities and go grab them.
I pushed to become more involved in back end development, which was awesome yet wasn’t quite what I was after.
After speaking to the design team I turned my focus to front end development, which was quite enjoyable, but still not right for me.
However, I didn’t feel like I was progressing. Rather, I felt like my time had been wasted as I wasn’t fully satisfied in any of my roles.
Shortly afterwards, I turned to consulting, as I felt I wanted to be on the front line with customers.
Initially this was terrifying. There was immense pressure, you occasionally got yelled at and sometimes the requests just seemed to defy logic.
As I gained experience I started to relish the challenge of delivering the best solution and driving the outcome.
I’d started to find my niche.
Even though initially I had no idea of where I wanted to go taking action was resulting in progress and personal satisfaction.
If I hadn’t taken action I would not have made progress.
I now felt silly at the frustration I felt with my false starts and now realised they were necessary to help me refine my path, correct my actions and drive me forward.
If you feel like you aren’t progressing, regardless of where you are in you career, you must do something, anything to progress. Sitting around feeling sorry for yourself is not going to move you forward and if you are stuck remember the below points
Success comes from failure
When you try something new you’ll quickly discover if it’s for you or not. If you enjoy it, that’s wonderful. If you don’t enjoy it, at least you have gained clarity. You now know you went in the wrong direction and can correct back on track.
Front end development wasn’t for me and caused me to head in another direction, moving towards being on the front line with customers.
You must create and take your opportunities
By taking action things start to shift, conversations happen and opportunities arise. When they do arise it’s unlikely they will just land in your lap, you need to stretch out and grab them.
Do not expect someone to ask you if you want an opportunity, people are too busy, go and create it yourself.
You must dust yourself off and keep going
It’s rare that you will find what you want in your first attempt. Constantly probing different paths will cause you to refine and discover what you want and need to do to get there.
This can become tiring, demotivating and cause you to question if it’s worth it, however you need to dust yourself off and keep going.
What would have happened if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs gave up? What will happen if Elon Musk gives up?
Do not be afraid to pick the hard path, it is how you will reap the most rewards.
There is no end
You will never end up in the perfect role. Which seems quite demotivating but when you find something you love you’ll be enjoying is so much that you’ll want to dig deeper and find out more.
You’ll become more confident and focused which feeds upon itself to continually progress you.
If you are not where you want to be you need to take action immediately.
Do not be concerned if it’s the correct move or not, the important thing is to get out there and do something.
Through this you’ll refine your path and start to make progress.