It’s funny to think about how my dreams have evolved over time.
When I was in high school, I had a very clear, linear plan to become a doctor—a pediatrician to be more specific. The plan was simple and very black and white:
Step one: get accepted into a major, out-of-state university.
Step two: fly through medical school.
Step three: start my own successful practice.
Step four: marry an equally successful doctor—of course.
But, while in college, I realized medical school was more time consuming, and expensive, than I ever thought. And the pediatric practice was more responsibility than I had imagined. Also I soon began to discover that spending time with sick children can be downright heartbreaking, although I still absolutely love kids.
In addition, I had an itch for writing that simply wouldn’t go away, due in huge part to my sister who encouraged me to develop my talent as a communicator. I realized my impenetrable, black-and-white plan had no room to pursue my deep passion for writing.
Communications—whether jotting thoughts in my personal diary, working on local newscast or crafting magazine articles—makes me feel alive, productive, and talented. I love molding and crafting stories, especially the stories of others. But I didn’t figure that this was a passion that could actually pay the bills.
However, when I decided to follow my love for writing, I landed my first job offer just four days out of college at a major TV network. It was a modest-paying job—but nonetheless, an amazing opportunity to grow in the field of journalism. My career has lead me to write, report and produce at a myriad of online, print, and broadcast TV media outlets. Today, I craft magazine pieces that feature some of the most compelling stories in business, entrepreneurship and marketing. I’m not just making a living; I adore what I do.
Rather than give up on my love for kids, I found another way to channel my ardor for them—childcare at my local church. My sister had begun to volunteer in the children’s ministry, and one day I simply followed along. I fell in love with those kids, and I like to think they took a strong liking to me too. So while I recognized that writing was my number one love, I remained committed to my passion for kids. I simply channeled that passion through volunteer work.
Over the years, several people had warned me that career and passion have nothing to do with each other—to them it’s a black and white reality. But as a young woman I realized that passion should feed your career, and your career should fuel your dreams.
In my opinion, to live a grey life you have to discover your passion (in my case writing and children), get a game plan (which for me meant landing actual journalism gigs and finding a way to contribute to the lives of kids), but still balance your responsibilities (getting that communications job that paid the bills and volunteering at the children’s ministry).
The way my career unfolded wasn’t linear or clear, but there was room for discovery, change and evolution. And it was, and still is, rewarding.
Allow your dreams to evolve as you grow. Every day, my goals—professional and personal—continue to evolve. Some goals I’ve accomplished, some I’ve grown past. Still others I’m patiently waiting to see come to fruition (hey, I’m still holding out hope for that successful surgeon husband!).
But I know that as long as I never give up and always reach towards new goals, I’m always living in the grey. And for me, that’s the best place to be.