Thanks for the insightful and comprehensive post, Angela! For me, it drove home two points that are relevant to anyone at any stage of life:
1) “What do YOU really want?”
Look inward. Focus on what energizes you, what motivates you, what makes your heart sing. When you talk or write about these things, your passion and enthusiasm are contagious. The power of this cannot be overstated.
2) “There is No ‘Right Story’”
It’s easy to fall prey to the idea that you need to have a certain upbringing, credentials, or life experiences to successfully achieve a personal or professional goal, whether that’s landing a job or publishing a book.
There may be an easier or more common path, but there’s no absolutely right path. Instead of diverting your energy by thinking about others or trying to “game the system,” expend your energy reflecting on yourself, your unique life, and your goals/desires. Tell this story, and make sure it comes from the heart. When you speak from the heart, it has the ability to touch another’s’ heart.
Side note: I’ve learned that if you think you’re not unique, then you’re not digging deep enough or conversely, you’re in too deep and you need someone to help you zoom out and see your uniqueness. That’s when it helps to have a thought partner that will walk you through a life-mapping exercise.