Connecting the DotsTuesday, April 15, 2008
Yesterday in the video clip from the commencement speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford, his first story was about connecting the dots and how aspects of your past and history shape and mold what you are doing today. He specifically shared a story about how he took a calligraphy class after he had dropped out of college, that years later inspired him to put that lettering style and typography knowledge into the Macintosh computers at Apple.
This concept has been on my mind over the past couple of months. Over lunch with my friend Kim a few weeks ago we discussed how nothing has been wasted in our lives and how a part of each previous job or life experience we've both had has come full circle in our current respective careers. Holly Becker recently discussed a similar idea on decor8 as part of her very informative series entitled "What to do when you don't know what to do", in which she shared that her career counselor in college had her do exercises remembering what it was she loved to do most as a child in order to figure out her career calling.
Whether you are just starting out as a wedding planner, or if you have been doing this for several years, there are multiple benefits on looking back in time and connecting the dots to your current situation. In doing so, you may find confirmation and reassurance that you are where you are supposed to be and doing what you love. You may also find that despite looking good on paper, and working in theory, that being a wedding consultant is just not the best fit for you and that you find more joy elsewhere. Either scenario will help you focus on what is best for you and your business and will help you determine how you can best avoid burnout, a malady all too common among professional wedding planners.
An easy way to determine this is to get a journal, or open up a Word document on your computer, and start thinking back to the things you liked to do as a child. Did you draw all the time? Were you organized? Did you constantly re-do scenes with your Barbies until they turned out exactly as you envisioned and every word and action was perfectly executed? (No? That was just me? Shoot.) In addition to having an insatiable need to have Barbie's events go just so, I was enamored with the idea of being an interior designer and I filled notebook upon notebook with sketches of potential living room layouts. Both of those experiences give a peek to how I tend to event planning details and to how much I love the design side of weddings.
Next, think of all the classes and jobs you may have had that you never expected to come up again. I remember telling my science teacher during my sophomore year of high school that I wasn't going to be an engineer so there was no point in my needing to know how to determine the flag pole's height by measuring its shadow and calculating angles. Sure enough, a couple of years ago I needed to know how much ribbon to buy in order to string lanterns from some very tall trees and instead of trying to find a ladder to determine the height of the branches, I was out there measuring that darn tree's shadow and eating the words I had uttered as a sixteen year old.
Another area of my life that isn't directly related to being a wedding planner but that has been tapped into time and time again is my love of writing and all the classes I took to that end. I now get to use those skills in blogging, writing articles, and on a book that will be released later this year. I also get to use my educational background in psychology every day as I talk with brides and their mothers during a time when emotions tend to hover at the surface.
While I love event planning and have been doing it for years, it was never my dream career. When the doors opened for me to start my own company, I took the leap of faith and did so. The timing was right and the way this career ties most of my passions and experiences together is confirmation for me that this is exactly where I need to be during this season of my life. And that confirmation gives me the courage I need to take entrepreneurial risks and set lofty goals that I would otherwise try to avoid out of fear or career insecurity.
What dots connect for you in your life? Does your career as a wedding planner bring other experiences full circle? Does this job make you happy?