No, It's Not Too Late [To Pivot, Restart, Be Happy]
Updated: Oct 18, 2022
This is a part of the "THIS IS THE STORY OF" series, a collection of stories about people and their trials and tribulations of becoming a driver in their career.
What if I’m not good enough?
Do I have what it takes?
Will I be successful?
Will I be happy?
If you have any of this noise in your head, hit "mute" on it right now.
When you’re facing a career pivot or any transition in life, everything seems just out of reach. It’s easy to fall into the black hole of your self-limitations, and it’s okay to have a lot of crappy feelings. But, are you going to let them stop you? Hell no!
In the words of Jen Sincero, "You are a badass" (BTW - a great book on "How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life"), whether you believe it or not. You might have no idea about what the f#*k to do, and that’s okay. The important thing is to start. Even in the time of 'rona, you deserve to thrive.
Taking On the World – My Story
Hi 👋 I'm Jamie Gianne,
and I graduated in Spring of 2019 with a degree I already knew – for almost a year, at that point – I had no intention of using. Sports Psychology and Leadership majors weren’t trained to become storytellers and video producers – but I felt that was my calling.
After three years of dragging my feet through the mud, I stopped and asked myself, "Are you really willing to feel this way for the rest of your life?" I felt empty. I worked my ass off to succeed in my department, but I didn't care for what I was learning and eventually was just there to pass. It wasn't fair for anyone:
not my patients – who deserved quality care; not my family – who wanted me to invest in myself; and not me – who deserves to be happy. As risky as it felt, it was time.
I had no experience in the field and it was a little late for me to restart my undergrad journey, but I had side hustles and passion projects galore. The art of job hunting was still a complete mystery, but I had the audacity to think my extracurricular experience was enough to land me a job. Wildly optimistic, I know. But, I had a plan! Or at least I thought I did:
Take a gap year
Gain some experience
Prep for grad school
Make it into NYU
BOOM! Problem solved... right?
Wrong, very wrong.
Sometimes, things don’t go as we plan. Post-grad depression SUCKED, and I spent most of my time missing my friends and school while repeatedly getting rejected from any and every job. No one told me it was going to be this hard. So, I made a very difficult, conscious decision:
I allowed myself to settle. I believed that I just had to let this phase of my life... suck.
I didn’t feel like I had any wins or lifelines I could call into. No triumphs, just trials and tribulations. I hoped for some miracle to point me in the right direction.
And the worst part of it all? I almost let myself give up on what I believed was worthwhile. No employer wanted to take me on, so I thought maybe it was because I wasn’t worth it.
Meeting M[s]. Miyagi
Fast forward nine months. I landed a temporary gig as a paralegal. I became an *un-paid* social media manager to get "some" experience. I started looking at – not studying – GRE prep materials. And the worst of it all, I dyed my hair. That was the sign: I was on the brink of giving up. (Doesn't everyone go through some drastic hair change when a crisis is impending?)
Then, of course, Mr. 'Rona came along and introduced himself to the world. I’ll spare you the details of my initial reaction, but this was the final sign that really clarified that I didn’t have any direction in my life. I was just doing things that sounded right but didn’t have a clue about what I actually should be doing. Until I met my real-life M[s]. Miyagi.
Lynn (our fearless 2.0 founder!) was a tidal wave to meet. I went out on a limb and attended my first virtual conference with Create + Cultivate having no previous networking experience, let alone how to do it online. Shooting in the dark, I left my quick elevator pitch in the networking Slack channel. I never thought anyone would reach out, but Lynn did.
She told me about her company, The 2.0 Collective (yes, that’s us!), and how she wanted to support professionals embarking on their journey to the '2.0' (next-best version) of themselves. Next, she turned my world upside-down when she asked,
"What do you want for yourself?"
"What are you doing right now that is benefitting your goals?"
"If what you’re doing now isn’t benefiting you, then why do it?"
And if I can guess what you’re wondering, yeah – those were really f#*king hard questions to try to answer on the spot, and yes, I was stumped. But, it was okay that I didn't know yet. That was the beauty of the moment – I woke TF up and realized I had to take a more active role in my life and career, but I didn’t know where to start. But, of course, Lynn did, and she unlocked something in me that I needed to become a driver in my career. (Aren't we all looking for someone like that to help us thrive?)
Instead of bringing me on as a member, she offered me an internship at 2.0 and told me that by the end of the summer, I would be an Assistant Writer. She gave me a growth plan and benchmarks to hit. It was surreal that someone could have so much faith in me. Little did I know, that moment was a catalyst that made me have faith in myself.
Now, I could spill all the deets on what I learned and how I feel more confident in my ability to achieve my goals – which is a kick-ass feeling, by the way – but I wanted to get real and talk about the hardest aspect of an internship:
Let's really quick define imposter syndrome: (n.) the feeling of inadequacy and as if you shouldn’t be where you are, despite the fact that you are *here.* You may downplay your talents. It's exemplified by self doubt, self-deprecation, and guilt.
Coming into an internship as the oldest intern rings in a lot of insecurities, especially when you’re the only one in your cohort who’s out of college and taking on your first one. My fellow interns were young, vibrant, talented, and hardworking. I could go on and on about how gifted they are, but truthfully, the most intimidating thing about them? The fact that they were so driven, ambitious and were doing the most for their careers at such a young age. I felt behind.
It’s pretty damn discouraging when you start comparing timelines and journeys and whatnot. That’s what made the beginning of this experience so overwhelming. It didn’t feel like I had the *it* factor that I should’ve had to even get the internship in the first place. But, then I met my Yoda.
Paige has been one of the most encouraging and influential mentors I’ve had in my journey. Not only did she actually take the time to work through materials with me, but she also understood the intimidating nature of chasing your dreams. And let me tell you, did I let a SIGH out. But, here's the kicker: she feels imposter syndrome on a regular basis, too. Feeling like you're not enough isn't reserved for people who are just starting out - self-doubt affects us all.
It’s nice to be validated that it’s OKAY to be scared about chasing your dreams but to be real, you need to start validating yourself. Yes, I was fortunate enough to meet Lynn and Paige who have only ever boosted me up (and you could meet your own Lynn/Paige if you #JoinTheCollective!), but if there’s anything that I’ve learned from them it’s that –
You are Boss. As. Hell. for being brave enough to admit to yourself that you don’t want to be in the place you’re at. That’s hard. Let me say it louder for the people in the back: It doesn’t matter *when* you figured it out, it matters that you did.
The Student Becomes a Teacher
I have to admit, the journey was a struggle, I'm still nowhere near where I want to be. For a while, I felt like I was off-roading and had no way to find my original path. But after a couple of bumps in the road, I realized, maybe I'm actually where I'm meant to be. It may not have been pretty, but I feel ready for whatever's coming my way, and I hope whoever has read this far gets to experience that feeling, too. So whether you’re going through a transitional phase or realizing you need something new but can’t figure out what, here are some lessons I’ve learned:
1. Find Your Passion and Your Patience
It’s absolutely okay to admit to yourself that the life you have isn’t the life you want. It’s brave. But take the time to sit down and ask yourself, “What is my passion? What is my purpose?" Yeah, that's another scary-ass question. I nearly lost my mind over it. But when you really boil it down, those questions are really asking, "What will make you happy? And what will make you feel fulfilled?"
I loved healthcare. It served my purpose of wanting to help others but didn't feed me or my happiness. The decision to switch from healthcare to creative took me years to make because I could never see how storytelling could help others. The thought of becoming a storyteller taunted me for years until I realized how so many people need to be heard. I love listening to other people's life stories, and it made me realize how so many people undersell the value of their experiences just because they feel like no one's paying attention. And if my writing could help others realize their full value, then my passion and purpose could finally be my dynamic duo.
If you don't feel like you have a passion or a purpose, that's okay. Maybe you're not driven by passion or purpose, but you have a lifestyle you want to achieve. There are a couple of things you do at work you're pretty good at – maybe even enjoy. Maybe you just want to make sure you can travel the world and say you've had an adventure for a lifetime. Maybe that's what drives you.
You deserve to be happy, so take the time to let yourself figure out what you truly want. Because you're not going to figure it out in a day, a week, a month, a year. Develop patience for yourself. It’s going to take time to fully realize AND actualize your dreams, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Progress isn’t linear because it allows you to iterate and develop your dreams into something you really want. That’s the beauty of the journey.
2. Become Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Growth isn’t always pretty, and it was never meant to be. Trial, error, challenge, failure – they’re all key elements in building your character. So, with whatever you want to do, start small. Find out what skills you need to develop and practice. It doesn’t matter if you fail as long as you are always willing to learn from it.
Like I mentioned earlier, imposter syndrome was killer. I didn't feel like I belonged on the team because everything seemed out of my skillset, I lacked experience in the field I was pursuing, and I felt like I wasn't ready. Trying my hardest didn't seem good enough until I wrote my first brand story. I threw a dash of caution into the wind and typed my heart away. Presenting it to the team was also nerve-wracking because I was getting critiqued in front of my peers, but the result? I made my team proud. It wasn't necessarily the brand story they were looking for, but I was given the pointers I needed to make it just that. 2.0 gave me the space to learn. And I realized that it was an opportunity to grow as a writer, and become the writer of my 5-year-old-self's wildest dreams.
You can also take each failure as a lesson and use it as an opportunity to figure out what works and what doesn’t, so you can keep propelling towards the next-best you (aka your 2.0). Stagnation is your enemy – this is your story. Write it how you want.
3. Create Your Community
It’s hard hustling alone, so find a Hustle Buddy. Find people who not only are going to hold you accountable for your goals but people you want to do the same for. Why? Because it's almost
impossible to accomplish everything on your own. I don't think that I would even have tried to pursue such a 180
of a career pivot if it weren't for my best friends. The thing I love (and sometimes hate) about them is that they want to see me succeed... but they're also not afraid to slap me in the face when my head's in my ass. One of them in particular literally told me, and I quote, "Shut up. We know you've been wanting to do this, so go do it." Their *tough* love and support made the world a lot less scary – and I'm all the better for it.
If you don't feel like you have this within your current circles or want to expand them, put yourself out there. I know it's hard making friends as an adult! Reach out of your comfort zone and connect with people who share the same passions as you. Slide into those emails, those DMs, those LinkedIn mails. It never hurts to grab a virtual coffee and network with people both inside and outside of your circle. Whether it be professional advice or a job opportunity, taking the time to get to know more about those around you may open a door you never knew about. It’s like the Room of Requirement. If I never sent that elevator pitch out, I wouldn't be here. And if you don’t know how to start [virtually], we got you covered.
4. Focus on You and Yours
It's easy to get wrapped up in the idea of needing to be successful earlier in life, especially when superstars like Zendaya make it look like it should be easy. But, when you really look into her career, there’s something that we forget to acknowledge: the Zendayas of this world have been working tirelessly for years before we saw their first spark of success. It just so happened that they found their passion or purpose earlier in life, and that has nothing to do with you and yours.
I'm extremely guilty of doing this. Comparison, while negative, is natural. It's easy to feel like you're behind when you start seeing friends and peers looking further in their careers than you. But the reality is, your struggles are different. Your goals are different. And your journeys are meant to be different because your idea of a fulfilling life isn't necessarily theirs. What matters now is taking that first step towards your own success. Remember, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a news anchor, and look at her now!
. . .
The Rest Is Still Unwritten
It might sound cheesy, but don’t give up on yourself. That’s something to hold onto, so hold on tight and jump. The roller-coasters in life make our journeys worthwhile. If you need a silver lining for this indefinite time indoors, this is the time you can use to uncap your potential.
You don't need to wait for a sign to pursue what makes you happy. Sometimes you just need to jump. A way to think about it is, if you wait until you're ready, will you ever be? I would have never met Lynn or Paige if I had waited to be ready or "skilled enough." And that's what I almost did. But letting go of the idea of following a plan led me here. Yes, it was scary as hell. But hey, look at me, ma - I'm writing now! You're really reading my words (like, my 5-year-old self is screaming that this is even real)! I got to learn and grow more than I could have ever imagined by just rolling with the tides, regardless of feeling like I was late to the game. But, really, time doesn't matter as long as you start.
So, if you’re scared of embarking on your next journey cause you think you’re too old, too inexperienced, too unaccomplished, I'm here to tell you –
No, it’s not too late.