There is a frequent and nagging sentiment that seems as inherent in us as our desire to eat, breathe and love, and that is the desire to relegate our energy to that which will only benefit us in the long-term. Echoing throughout high schools decades past and still to this day, almost as frequently as the bells themselves, is the age old adage: “When am I ever going to need to use this?” Whether we are young and would much rather be doing something enjoyable, or we are getting older and beginning to attribute a quantifiable number to the time that we have, we, above all, rue having our time wasted.
Unfortunately, we are not always the best judges of how important the lessons we are learning might be. Think back to the most significant moments of your personal development, and I can almost assure you that you’ll arrive at something that seemed utterly insignificant at the time. Perhaps it was even something that you resented or dreaded doing in that moment. We have a great deal of trouble committing fully to exercises and lessons that we can’t see benefiting us in the scope of our vision of the future. For this reason, it is so very important to consider often how lessons in other areas of life can lead you to career success.
We might as well start with the big one. Outside of career, people tend to overwhelmingly commit the most of themselves to their relationships, be they familial, romantic, or platonic. In themselves, relationships are very much like a venture or an investment. While this might seem like a cynical view, you can’t argue that like anything else, you tend to get out of a relationship what you put in. That is to say, you should. Though sometimes, there is simply nothing to be gained, and in this scenario, many people fall victim to their own sunken-cost fallacy.
“It’s already been five years, what’s the rest of my life?” “I know things aren’t ideal, but I’ve already put so much time and effort into this, it would be a waste to just throw it away now.” This type of thinking is a logical fallacy that often dominates us in the midst of our less-than-ideal relationships. The fear of starting all over, of having to start from square one, can be totally overwhelming to the point that we will stay in the position that we have built, even if it is flawed, going nowhere, or even detrimental to our mental health. Sound familiar? That’s because it can apply to your professional life as well. Cutting your losses, quitting a job, or even making an entire career change is certainly terrifying, but you’re doing yourself a disservice by not occupying a space where you fit perfectly.
Everyone needs a mental health day from time to time, and you’ve no doubt learned this at some of the most stressful moments of your life. Unfortunately, in the professional world, a kind of paradox tends to permeate the general consciousness of workers everywhere. Somehow, you’re supposed to take time for yourself, but also hustle every single day. So much of what we’re bombarded with constantly revolves around the sentiment that we should always be on, be moving, be building. Put simply, this is complete fiction. Just as with your mental health, you’ll need to regularly give your professional drive a break if you want to keep it running. You simply can’t be on all the time.
The Little Things
Just to reiterate, the most important learning experiences of your life are often the things that seem absolutely ordinary in the moment, and this can easily be translated into creating your own professional identity and brand. The things you find attractive in terms of yourself, late-night browsing, individual or wholesale, are the things that your clients or customers will find attractive because they’re true to you. As cliche as it may sound, much of finding career success revolves totally around being true to yourself.
This article is written by Katy Messersmith.
Katy Messersmith is a Texas-based designer and entrepreneur with firm roots in the fashion industry that all began with one chanced incident of lost luggage. She spends much of her time operating her businesses, Katydid and Katydid Wholesale, where she sells wholesale apparel.