Yesterday afternoon I was reviewing my notes in preparation for volunteering to be a guest speaker in the fashion business class at our local community college today, an opportunity to share experiences and insights from my former career and hopefully provide helpful information and guidance as these students identify and pursue their career goals. At an unrelated moment, also yesterday afternoon, our daughter happened to comment that when she grows up, she’s going to be a singer, a dancer and a “horse rider and teacher!” With my past goals and our daughter’s future dreams on my mind, my thoughts turned their attention toward aspirations and how they often evolve and change along the course of one’s life.
As a young child, one of my aspirations was that universally popular childhood dream of becoming a famous performer! Singing and dancing weren’t in the cards for me nor was acting, but by the time I was in high school, I had decided to pursue a career in broadcasting. I interned at radio and television stations while in high school and college and earned a B.A. in communications with a broadcasting emphasis. Upon graduating from college, I veered off the broadcasting path (when I realized most entry level opportunities were located in the Midwest, but I was too apprehensive to move there) and accepted an offer as a management trainee in the retail industry. My original intent was to explore this career alternative temporarily until I could find a way to enter the broadcasting field here on the West Coast. That “temporary” career in the retail, and later wholesale, fashion industry ended up lasting over twenty years! Obviously, I never became a news anchor or an actress (ha ha!); however, my communications and broadcasting background still served me well in numerous situations throughout my career and continue to do so in a variety of public speaking situations like today’s guest speaker appearance, my monthly “Picture of the Month” art docent lessons at our daughter’s school and the recent addition of creative instruction (papercrafting workshops) to my small business portfolio.
As I spoke to today’s business class, I elaborated on what I believe to be an important characteristic for success in the fast paced and constantly changing world of the fashion industry - the ability to translate and adapt past experiences, knowledge and skills to new and different circumstances. Not only does this apply to career success, but I’ve learned it also applies to life in general as I’ve “reinvented” myself from broadcasting to fashion to creative entrepreneurship. Our dreams and goals may meander or change course, but our past experiences and the strengths we’ve developed along the way can help guide and propel us forward if we tap in and utilize them. We need only remember that when our aspirations are transformed, we hold the power within to successfully transform ourselves, too!