Outline Your Life With Pencil, Not Pen

What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s a clown question bro! We ask young teenagers what they want from their future, but how could they really know? Honestly, when I was fourteen years old I just wanted to play video games with my friends, eat ice cream, and figure out what girls think (still working on that one). Also, how many times did your answer change? At one time or another you probably wanted to be an astronaut, a cowboy, a lawyer, etc etc. Things change, every single day.

The best advice I heard from one of my famous radio voices (Colin Cowherd), is to “outline your life with pencil, not pen.” I’ve found this advice to be as real as life itself, especially as I exit the academic world and enter the career environment.

Your Career Path Will Change

My original plan out of high school was to become a therapist(and hopefully a pro skimboarder… sigh). I wanted to connect with people. After my first college psychology class, I learned quickly I didn’t have the patience to be a therapist. What was the next closest thing? For me it was marketing. I realized I could connect with consumers through marketing efforts. Simply put, I had to take my whole high school plan and alter it. Essentially at the drop of a dime. Stats say you will have about ten different jobs by age 45.

Even as I develop in a digital marketing career, I have different side gigs that I hope can one day flourish and become a new career path. Technology is truly shaping every single environment we connect with, and with that, so do the careers around them. So keep your LinkedIn profile up to date at all times, and be willing to erase your career plan and make a new plan as opportunities arise.

Debt Kills Happiness

We live in the age of instant gratification. In conjunction with the career changes, be very careful to tread lightly on the waters of long-term debt. You want that new camera? Save for it, don’t put it on the credit card. Need that new car? Get something you can actually afford. A house? Set yourself a limit and stay within it as you peruse the market. I’ve seen close family and friends who have been absolutely destroyed by debt. They tried to outline where they would end up with pen and put loads of money into it, and then things changed. No erasing there. Make a budget and live within your means.

You Can’t Control Anything

With today’s political turmoil, I hope you have realized that nothing is permanent or a bet-the-mortgage type of deal. Trump’s administration (like any new administration) could create huge changes for the stock, business and healthcare worlds. It takes stepping back, breathing deep, and realizing you can’t let it stress you out. Take your own steps to be ready no matter what the next few years brings your way.

I haven’t quite figured this all out. But I for sure have thrown away all my pens in exchange for a #2 pencil.