When I mention my decision to give up being a lawyer, a lot of people ask me why I have given up law after having dedicated 8 years of my life to it- law school + work experience. My answer usually is that I don’t see a point in dedicating another 8 years of my life to something I no longer have any interest in pursuing. Instead, I prefer to cut my losses now and move onto something I will find more fulfilling. A follow-up question to this which I was recently asked was,”How do you know that you will enjoy doing whatever you decide to do next?” Honestly, I don’t know. I have no idea whether my next course of action will be to my liking or not. At one point in time, I genuinely believed that I wanted to be a lawyer but once I actually started working, I realised that that is not for me. I also understand that the same could happen to whatever I move on to next.
The one most important fact I have learnt to come to terms with is that I really do not know how things will turn out and that no amount of planning can make things turn out the way I want them to. In some cases, I just have to go with the flow and more importantly, know when to give up. I could have chosen to continue working as a lawyer simply because it is the only thing I know how to do even though I knew that it is not something that makes me happy. In fact, I had my whole career path charted out and planned out. Instead, I find myself covering uncharted territory and figuring out how to make money so that I can fulfill my lifelong dream of travelling.
The biggest shift in my thinking has been to understand that I need to try. As someone who has always been scared of failure, I find it a lot easier to say that I did not try than to say that I tried and failed. Strangely, I have never really experienced failure but I find it scary to contemplate it. Now, however, I understand that I have to try and open myself up to the possibility of failure and pick up the pieces if I fail. I understand that I have to embrace failure and not be fearful of it. I also have to know when to move on and not hold on to something which is failing just to prove to myself that I could be successful.
My new interest lies in the field of social media marketing and I have spent a significant amount of time reading up about it and planning mock campaigns for some start-ups which could benefit greatly if they choose to harness the power of social media. However, at the same time, I have not taken any steps towards contacting any of these start-ups and laying down ideas before them. So, what is it that stops me? Honestly, it is just that I am afraid that they will not like my ideas and they will tell me (politely) to fuck off. At some level, I feel that it is the fact that I do not have credentials (so to speak) to back me up. I mean who will want to hire a social media marketer who has learnt everything she knows from reading about it on the net, right?
As far as I can see, there is only one way to find out and that is to approach these start-ups and offer them my services. I have to be prepared for them to say ‘no’ and be conscious about the fact that just because one start-up said ‘no’ to me does not mean the other 10 would also say ‘no’ to me. At the same time, I am also willing to acknowledge that once I start actively doing social media marketing, I may not like it. At that point in time, if it comes, I am willing to move on to something else which strikes my fancy.
I, no longer, want to be bound by my own choices just because I made them. I have learnt that it is alright to acknowledge that I may have made a wrong choice or that I have evolved into someone who needs to make different choices. What made sense 8 years ago, no longer makes sense now. Similarly, what makes sense now, may not make sense 8 months later. I am willing to make whatever change I need to when I need to.
- Embrace failure. Understand that it is better to try and fail than to not try at all.
- Accept rejection and adapt accordingly but do not give up on my dreams.
- Untether from my choices and decisions. These are my choices and decisions and I have the right to move on from them.
- As I grow and evolve, my needs and wants will change. What I wanted 6 months back is not what I want now and what I want now, may not be what I want 6 months from now. I am allowed to change my mind.