Updated: Aug 8, 2018
This is sort of a 5 year plan in review, and why I think planning your life out five years in advanced really sets you up for failure.
Five years ago, picture it: I am 28 years old, I am a Behavioral Health Worker in a low income school district making $25,000 a year with no health insurance. I am still "dating," I was in a committed relationship with my now husband but we weren't even engaged then. If you asked 28 year old me what my five year plan was, I would have quickly answered, "Furthering my education in pursuit of a career as a teacher. I will have a full time teaching job, and helping those with behavioral health issues. I will be married (and hell depending on the day you caught me on I may have even told you with kids)." Money didn't really matter to me then, partying and living for the weekend was my entire world. I will be honest, I put in pretty short days. I worked 7:30 am to 2:30 pm and had time to go to the gym after work at 3 times a week, I drank a lot, I still smoked, I drove a VW Beetle for crying out loud. I also struggled to make my $200/month car payment, I had my cell phone shut off at times, I had no savings, and borrowed money off my parents on a regular basis.
Fast forward to the Summer of 2013 and I received word that my department was going to eliminated from the state budget. At first I was angry, how can children with the most needs be the first place to cut funding? But being the pragmatic me that I am, that lasted about three seconds and I thought, well I need a job. I should mention I also always worked a part time retail job (I mean come on I made $25k a year). I fell back into what I knew even longer than working in education, retail. I began scanning Indeed and other job sites for full time retail positions. I came across working as a store manager at my hometown Hallmark store. Perfect! I literally had always wanted to work there when I was in high school, it was a dream come true. I quickly applied and before I knew it I was interviewed, hired, and training. It was amazing! Working in a beautiful store surrounded by beautiful merchandise! I had so much fun everyday and would find myself working 12-13 hour days because I was so engaged in growing sales and there was always something to improve on or to work with and it felt like it was all mine inside those four walls. Little did I know it at the time but this would be the platform for me to find myself and my true drive.
This particular Hallmark store was owned by a local franchisee, a family owned business. I was able to talk to our owner on a regular basis, and he listened. It was a novel idea that I had never experience in my past career, our bosses were always politicians working hours a way making decisions about the greater good of the education of my clients. But now I had a direct line to the top. I was able to grow, I was able to get feedback, and I was given a chance: a chance to learn how to market, how to engage in Social Media, how to drive business, how to buy for a retail store. I was able to become the Director of Retail Operations and Marketing and really found my sea legs. I was able to grow my salary as well based on my merit and the new challenges I found myself asking for the responsibility over. I found myself looking forward to work, and working on the weekends. I found that working more made me more money, and I knew that I had found a passion for what I wanted to do. I loved telling a story through marketing, I mean people it was Hallmark, one photo of the right ornament sparked memories for so many people, it was like cutting through warm butter on Social Media. I also fell on my face a few times. But I had found a mentor in my boss that he helped to encourage me to figure out why I fell on my face and to fix it.
I have since left Hallmark. But I took so many amazing lessons that I learned from my co-workers, and my boss who became an incredible inspiration to me in my career. Now between my full time career as a Marketing Director, and beginning my own media consulting and management company on the side I am easily clearing three times that income, I am driven, I have purpose, and I don't have a clue where I will be in five years. I know that how you increase your happiness, your wealth, your freedom is to be open to the universe. Don't pass up opportunities, don't look at anything as a restriction or a set back, don't be afraid to hear no. If after loosing my job in education I stayed on my path to become a teacher I would have started that school year substitute teaching, and maybe have landed a full time gig down the road. But I would be miserable, I would be working for the weekend and the summers, and I would be at a job I know I would have become jaded from. Often times when we plan everything in our lives, it simply sets us up for disappointment and failure. If we aren't hitting our goals perhaps it's not the goal for us. We need to just keep dreaming and reinventing. Making more time for what makes us happy in life. If you want to write... write. If you want to be a photographer... take pictures. If you want to be a business owner... open a business.
Don't spend time planning what you want to do, just work towards what you want now and keep your mind and your heart open. Everyone's path is different, be prepared for possibilities of a few curvy roads.
~ No matter our path in life, dress fabulous and let's practice some social graces.