You know when you’re driving and it’s decision time at the proverbial “fork in the road”? Do you head left or right? Right is the route you planned to take, but left is unknown and somehow more tantalizing, scenic or risky. And for whatever reason, you just take it. No logic or real thought behind it. You just go for it. When you go past that right turn there is a little rush of excitement that comes over you. What lies ahead? What have I done? Should I go back? This is going to be great! Wait til I tell … I’m so glad I did! Never forget these feelings.
Career paths are very similar. When you are in high school, you picture in your mind a road that you will travel the rest of your life. This Right turn is: perhaps college or university, job, marriage, house, kids, Saturday night movies and summers in Muskoka. You don’t picture much past this. As your career begins, there are many Left turns that lie ahead. Most of these Lefts you will think out logically with plenty of real thought. However, don’t overthink them and simply take the same Right turn; be willing to take a few Lefts. You can always turn back. Taking a few Lefts allows you to find that fit, that feeling, that reason to get up each day with an excitement to see what’s going to happen next.
My roads were different. I graduated college in Sports Business, and as a tennis pro, I figured I would be teaching and running a racquet club for the rest of my life. That didn’t happen, so I took my first Left and got into the sporting goods business. Next Left was owning and running a sporting goods store in Oakville, next Left was putting up the “Back in 15 minutes” sign on the front door, and I never returned. Next Left? Film Sales with Superior Engravers, a.k.a. Brickworks. Even Brickworks made a hard Left some 20 years ago, evolving its business from a printing industry pre-press company into the Marketing and Communications firm we are today.
Once you find a fit, you tend to analyze the forks a little more. Money, prestige or a title with responsibility may or may not be the road for you. These Lefts are harder to choose, but you still have to consider them and be willing to have the courage to take them at any time. That’s what makes life interesting.
Your career road is ever fluid. That perfect fit may be just around the bend. Get into the Left lane and go. You’ve got lots of time later in life to put the cruise on in the Right lane.
So, hang a few Lefts – not as safe – but way more thrilling, fulfilling and rarely regretted.
Work Hard! Play Harder!! And relax …