“Maybe someday we’ll figure all this out. Try to put an end to all our doubt. Try to find a way to make things better now. And maybe someday we’ll live our lives out loud. We’ll be better off somehow someday.”
Rob Thomas, Someday.
Like most people, I have a morning routine. I wake up, check social media, brush my teeth, and then head to the kitchen to make my morning cup of coffee. This morning as I waited for my Keurig to warm up like usual I found myself lost in thought. Unlike most mornings I wasn’t thinking about what I needed to do today. Instead, I found myself thinking about my coffee cup. Sounds odd, I know. I place emotional value on a lot of my possessions and this coffee cup was no exception. It was my Charlotte, NC Starbucks mug. The one with a giant crack down the front from years of use. My morning reminder that “someday we’ll figure this all out.”
Why does this specific mug remind me that someday I’ll figure things out? My dad bought me this mug my senior year of high school. At the time I wanted nothing more than to be a pastry chef and I had been accepted at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, my dream school. My dad had taken me to tour the campus, but we arrived early and stopped at the Starbucks across from university to kill some time. I was thrilled to see they had a mug with my name on it (for those of you who don’t know, my first name is actually Charlotte). We grabbed our coffee and my mug and then headed to the tour.
There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like about the campus and yet something didn’t feel right. No matter how many times I faked a smile that day, my father he knew the difference in me saying I was happy versus how I really felt. I was conflicted and I didn’t know why. This was everything I wanted and yet I couldn’t shake this feeling that it wasn’t where I was supposed to go to college. I decided after that day to go to business school first and then revisit culinary school since ultimately I had wanted to own my bakery. This is actually what led to my impromptu decision to attend Georgia College and State University that I mentioned in my last post.
This morning many years later I found myself lost in thought not about my culinary dreams, but about that feeling I got at while touring Johnson and Wales. Something felt off. A little voice in my head that I didn’t understand was telling me it wasn’t the right decision. And while at the time I was conflicted and didn’t understand it, looking back I can see I was better off.
I didn’t know then but being a pastry chef wasn’t my dream job. In fact had I not listened to my gut and continued to chased that dream I would have sadly been disappointed several years later when I was diagnosed with my gluten intolerance. I can’t exactly bake award winning pastries and make spectacular wedding cakes if I can’t taste what I’m making. Maybe it was God steering me away, maybe it was divine intervention, or maybe it was just my own intuition. Whatever it was, nine years later staring at my coffee cup I’m very grateful I listened to that feeling.
That’s not the only time that gut feeling has been right. I’ve gotten that same distinct feeling many times throughout the years. Some times I listen to it. Some times I ignore it and get lucky when the decision is made for me. After being with my postgraduate employer for a little over a year I applied for an internal promotion as a HR benefits specialist. This particular role was also responsible for leading our new hire orientation classes and that was the primary reason I applied for it. I wanted to help our new associates adjust to their new careers.
When I applied for the job I felt like it was the perfect fit for me, but once again that little voice crept back in. This time I was in the middle of interviewing for the job and I didn’t listen to it. I didn’t end the interview and thank them for their time. I kept going in the process. I was relieved when I got the call letting me know I didn’t get the job. I didn’t know why and I didn’t know where my career was going to go next, but I was relieved.
It wasn’t until several months later that I understood why that position wasn’t the right career move for me. A college recruiting position came available. That was my perfect position. That would allow me to help confused and lost college students scared of graduating and joining the real world just like I had been. That gave me the chance to pay forward all the help and support my company had given me. Recruiting and hiring was an unknown passion of mine. That was where I would shine.
It’s funny. That gut feeling I get has never steered me wrong and yet as I sit here and type, I want to ignore it again. I’m faced with another tough decision. One I can’t talk about just yet. It’s one I have to figure out on my own and one I can’t hope someone else will make for me. While I know being an adult means making tough calls and I recognize my intuition has never steered me wrong, I still question it. It would be so much easier to stay complacent and ignore this feeling feeling I have, but as my old, cracked Charlotte coffee mug has reminded me this morning, I have to trust myself. I’m going to figure this out. I’m going to live my life out loud and I’m going to be better off for it.
I hope when faced with difficult decisions, you do the same. Don’t leave your life decisions in the hands of others to make. Trust yourself.
Still trying to figure it out,