You may have heard the phrase “carve your own path,” but the million-dollar question is, how do you go about it? Believe it or not, it simply starts with a decision you make that, despite what others do, your life doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.
Seriously, how much are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to go after your dreams alone? If you’re really ready to carve your own path, you’ll have to unapologetically march to the beat of your own drum. You’ll have to trade the familiar for the unfamiliar. And most importantly, you’ll have to be bold about pursuing a vision that no one can see but you. Because, the truth is everything begins in the mind, and the success of your dreams lies in the execution.
Here are a few tips to help you carve your own career path:
1. Self-Assess and Explore
Whether you’re going along with a plan that your parents created for you or living up to the status quo, most of us go through life trying so hard to fit into someone’s else’s box, that we fail to recognize the genius within. Spend some time getting to know who you are.
To get started in the right direction, check out the 11 Best Career Quizzes to help you find your dream job. And don’t forget, traveling, reading, volunteering, and being insanely curious about the world beyond your own backyard is a great way to identify your passions.
2. Redefine Success on Your Own Terms
During this step, you’ll need to peel back the typical layers of success to figure out what success looks like for you. How does it make you feel? Is success about having the freedom to work from anywhere? Is it about making an impact on young women around the world?
Steer clear from making success about money, materialistic things, or titles, because these things are like moving targets that can be taken away from you at any second.
3. Embrace Disruption
To disrupt an industry, find a pain point in the system, create a shortcut, or remove an important element from a common service or product.
For instance, when Rica Elysée realized that many women were frustrated with long wait times at the hair salon, she created BeautyLynk, an on-location beauty-booking platform that delivers salon quality hair, makeup, and nail services in the comfort of your home, office, or hotel.
4. Turn “No” Into “Yes”
Sometimes “no” really means “not right now,” so don’t let one minor setback deter you from your dreams. For instance, when 14-year-old Zandra Azariah Cunningham couldn’t convince her dad to buy her more makeup, she literally took matters into her own hands and launched her own beauty product line. Additionally, when Tamara McNeil voiced her frustration on a public forum about not being able to find black characters in children’s books, someone snidely commented, “Instead of complaining, you should create your own, and you can feature every country in Africa if you want.” So, McNeil did just that, creating a children’s book subscription service that features stories with diverse characters called Just Like Me.
5. Turn Your Frustration Into a Social Movement or Business
What things frustrate you the most about your industry? Is there a something in your community that you would like to change? Nowadays, it’s very common for people to turn a message into a movement, especially using social media. For instance, Black Lives Matter is a social movement that started with a hashtag, but continues today as an organized crusade against racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.