At 22 I was becoming a suit-wearing businesswoman.
At 24 I was becoming a real estate developer.
At 26 I was becoming a published author.
At 28 I was becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur.
At 30 I noticed a central thread that wove through each of these experiences: my interest in building smart collaborations to fuel business growth.
Going all-in on my “random” curiosities may have looked unstructured in the moment, but in hindsight, each pivot has added a key piece to my unique skillset of understanding business and helping online entrepreneurs grow.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”Steve Jobs
And even with the clarity and confidence of the direction I’m moving towards… the future is still fuzzy—as it should be.
It’s not about having it all “figured out”, it’s about adopting a mindset that lets you live a life that unfolds effortlessly.
It’s why David Epstein’s book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World caught my eye immediately. A book that finally goes against the traditional view of a single path to excellence—to start early, specialize soon, and narrow your focus. We needed a story for the other half of the population—those who sample widely, want to gain a breadth of experiences, who take detours, and who experiment relentlessly.
As we stand on the brink of a technological revolution—the Fourth Industrial Revolution—the way in which we live, work, and relate to one another is fundamentally changing. It’s what David Epstein refers to as a “wicked” learning environment. The rules of the game are ever-evolving, often unclear or incomplete, and up to us to figure out, knowing damn well they’re subject to change without notice.
The opportunity to succeed by building context over specialization is going to be limitless. And it’s about time we start empowering this type of career trajectory over idolizing those who follow the same path their whole life.
The one caveat I will make is to not confuse wandering aimlessly with being an intentional generalist. In my experience, ensuring that you are moving forward comes from adopting two mindsets:
1. How you do anything is how you do everything.
Looking at the current job you have—regardless of whether you enjoy it or not—how can you become the best at it? In my eyes, we all have two options: either quit or become the best at what you do. Every single experience is capable of bringing on growth, so it’s time we get intentional about the growth we get from everything we touch.
If you want success, then know what it looks like for you. Success does not look the same for everyone, so following society’s marching orders is the quickest way to march even further away from it.
If you want fulfilment, then go all in on yourself. As Oprah would say, fill your cup and let it overflow to others in your life. Fulfilment does not come to people pleasers who are running on an empty tank.
And if you want freedom, step up to the plate and claim it. Freedom is not handed out, it’s taken.
Our experiences are the greatest teachers. If you skip it, you’re no better off than the students who have their parents do their homework for them. You’re letting others live your life for you.
2. Be comfortable with reinvention.
Don’t trap yourself in a decision you made at 22, or 26, or 30. Pursue new curiosities, take the lessons you gained, and don’t overstay your welcome.
In this exact moment, everything feels more permanent than it really is. We only know the world we’re in right now, and anything else seems unattainable. Until you make a change and wonder what you were so scared about! In six months from now you could have transformed your current life and be feeling comfortable in the new one.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.”John D Rockefeller
The future of work is with entrepreneurs… those who choose to be innovative and who seek continuous improvements of everything around them. Whether that’s in your own business or as an intrapreneur within a mission-driven company.
So regardless of age or situation, let’s start making the most out of our current opportunities, but also not being afraid to reinvent.
Giving yourself a timeline to “figure it out” is another way of saying that you plan to stop growing by that age. Don’t strive to have life figured out. Strive to embrace the unknown future with arms wide open. And more importantly, let’s drop that arbitrary age restriction to have every goal achieved by!