There were so many options available I really didn’t know which one to choose. Only a few months left before the end of high school and everyone else seemed to know what they would do next. I was now faced with a dilemma. I had to choose what I wanted to study and I really wished I could be given one more year or to experiment with a career and figure it all out. I was only 17 at the time and it felt like this choice was a huge commitment. If I made the wrong choice I would end up being stuck in a career I didn’t really like. I didn’t know back then I would switch careers more time than I could count and that it wouldn’t be a problem, and this choice felt like a possible death sentence without any chance of parole.
I dreamed of being an architect, a trilingual executive assistant, a concierge in a palace, a dancer, a singer… I hesitated between going to business school, dance school and communications school and whatever else school and I really didn’t know how I was supposed to make that choice with the little knowledge I had about what life would be like after I got whichever diploma I would choose.
Then we got an idea… but didn’t do anything about it.
That’s when my sister and I had our first business idea. We would call it “One year to think” (yeah I know the name was a bit lame, but we didn’t go far enough with it to try and make it better). Our idea was to give people like us, freshly out of high school who didn’t really know what to do in college, a whole year to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. We had imagined some kind of program where we could try different kind of jobs, do some internships and get quality career counseling. So this was your classical solving your own problem kind of business idea.
One year was an arbitrary choice of time, but we thought that with a whole year, we would have plenty of time to experiment and could be back in school in September in our chosen specialty having only “lost” one year. However what we didn’t realise back then was that a whole year wouldn’t be enough to figure it out. We didn’t know that 15 years later we’d both still be rethinking our professional choices and would have to do it again and again.
But the core of the matter is we of course never did anything to make it a reality. After all we were only two 17 year old girls knowing nothing about the job market and career choices so we got discouraged. However, this is no reason not to do anything when you feel like doing something new. What we didn’t know then was that we could start a small scale project to test our idea.
Experiment with your ideas
Although it’s important to ask yourself the right questions before making a decision that might involve a few months (if not years) of your life, it is not the best solution to wait until you have it all figured out to do anything. Because you simply don’t have all the information yet to make the best decision.
Honestly if I hadn’t tried becoming a professional dancer I wouldn’t have known I didn’t love it enough to make it a full career. If I hadn’t done 2 internships as a press officer, I wouldn’t have known I hated it. And more recently if I hadn’t challenged myself to start this blog I wouldn’t have known I loved it.
So my approach is pretty much going like this.
Step 1 : Experiment
Try something you really want to do or are simply curious about. That can be a new career path you might be considering, a project or business idea you’re drawn to, or simply a new subject you want to learn about.
- Give yourself a set amount of time to experiment (from a few days to a few months). Nothing too overwhelming for you, but long enough for you to realise if you like it or not.
- Start small. If your big dream is organizing a whole festival with rock music and comedians like a client of mine wanted to, make it a small project that can be implemented in the short time you’ve given yourself to experiment. So this won’t be a huge festival, but maybe only one evening with 2 rock bands and 2 comedians.
So whatever the experiment is. Give it a time frame, make it small, play with it and have fun.
Step 2 : Reflect
Now that your initial experiment is over, reflect on what you liked and disliked about it. Maybe you thought the whole organizing part of the event would be fun, but it really wasn’t. Maybe you dreaded the idea of speaking in front of whole group of strangers but found out you really enjoyed it. Whatever you liked or disliked, take notes and don’t forget there are more than one way to do things, maybe the traditional way is not for you but you can find your own.
Step 3 : Repeat
Then you can decide what do about this experiment. You can either decide to move forward with your project, while adapting it to fit your personality, ditching the parts you didn’t enjoy, and keeping the ones you loved. Or you can ditch it altogether because the idea was great, but it really wasn’t for you. If you hated the experiment, don’t feel like you’re stuck with it. Move on and start a new one. But if you loved it or simply feel like you need more experimenting to figure it out, repeat the whole process.
How I applied this process to Why Only One?
My first experiment was during John Williams’ 30 day Challenge. I started small, creating this blog and sharing stories of multitalented people and loved it. But deep down I knew I wanted to turn it into a way to help other curious explorers like myself find their way to their most fullfilling lives even if I didn’t really knew how.
- So I tried writing about different subjects for a few months. (I kind of liked it)
- I tried changing how often I would write and even stopped for several months to see if I would get more clarity on what I wanted to do. (I didn’t)
- I started creating my own coaching process and experimented with it on a few people. (I loved it)
- I did a worskshop for the Cohome Festival last January. (Loved it)
- I got my first paying coaching client. (Awesome!)
From each experiment I learned a lot and tweaked. And I still am.
More stuff are in the works and have kept me away from keyboard since the beginning of 2016. Thank you for still reading my blog by the way!
So be ready for a lot of changes and new things from me in the coming months.
What about you ?
Let me know in the comments what projects you’ve been experimenting with lately or are thinking of starting. I love learning about other people’s projects and maybe I can help!