Let’s Talk: I’m Not Succeeding Fast Enough
First of all, take a deep breath. I’m willing to bet money the person who told you that you’re not succeeding “fast enough” is none other than yourself – let’s start simple with one of my favorite quotes.
“At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA. At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare. At age 30, Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter. At age 51, Julia Child got her first cooking show. Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.”
The best thing about that quote is that it’s incomplete. The list goes on and on; I openly invite you to look for yourself. The point is that there is no rush. The point is that there’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to do more when and where you can, but the only person holding the gun to your head is you. This concept is something that I’ve struggled with my entire life because I don’t feel like it’s talked about nearly enough.
I was in the 4th grade back when computer monitors were still shaped like moving boxes, took up most of the table and it required 20 minutes of listening to screaming dial-up static to connect to your Neopets.
I made a PowerPoint presentation (complete with every awful slide in/out effect it had) to try to convince my parents to let me drop out of school and move to L.A. so that I could work as an actor.
I happen to be one of those people who knew from day one what they wanted, and some people aren’t. I repeat: that’s ok – I wish someone told me that.
When I hit high school, I started taking an interest in other aspects of the arts that weren’t theatre and I got grade-A confused. Quevenzhané Wallis was nominated the same year as the youngest person ever for an Academy Award for Best Actress and I somehow in all my self-centered glory managed to turn that into a failure upon myself. I got to the point where I was cornered and told I needed to pick what I wanted to major in for college because that’s what I’d do for the rest of my life so the time was now to decide! Now! Go! Here’s the paper! (You know the scene in The Little Mermaid where Ariel signs her voice/soul over to Ursula? That was my face for about 3 years).
So now I’m 24. I live in New York City, I have my Bachelors in Theatre Arts with an Emphasis in Performance and a Special Studies Minor in Media & Ethics – because I figured out I liked moviemaking, too. Yesterday I got accepted into Johns Hopkins Masters in Communications program with a concentration in Public & Media Relations – tell that to the 4th grader sitting at the Dell desktop. To be honest with you, I still don’t really know what to call myself or how to answer when people ask me what my “dream job” would be.
It’s not talked about enough and that’s not a good standard to just accept and live with.
Whether you feel like you’re in the right field and moving too slow or you’re just starting to think you’re in the wrong one – go. No single thing defines your success, you do.
Be the Meryl Streep of accounting and the Barack Obama of computer sciences. Carpe your diem so no one else does because you only get one.
Also by Katie: