how to pursue your career - based ambitions (even in a pandemic)
if you are anything like me, you are goal orientated. maybe you have multiple goals for your life, or just one. maybe they seem unachievable and too far - fetched, or maybe they just need some planning and proper research behind them.
I have always been ambitious - there has never been a time in my childhood where I wasn't thinking about what I want my career to be, what my goals are, and where I saw myself as I got older.
within the first six months of the year, we have witnessed almost every bad thing that could possibly happen to anyone ever. so what would be a better time to think? think about: my goals, my future, my career, what exactly it is that I want in my life?
what exactly is ambition?
ambition is defined as "a strong desire to do or achieve something" or "a desire and determination to achieve success". it gives us aims, objectives and targets, as well as direction and motivation for life, be it day - to - day or long term.
ambition is not necessarily a good or bad things, but too much of it or not enough could eventually not fare well, so it's crucial to know your limits as well as know when you need to push yourself.
can you be taught ambition?
everyone has some degree of ambition somewhere within them, even the most laid back person you know who enjoys life at a slower pace. but, ambition is not something that can be taught - someone can discover, strengthen or hinder their ambition, but it's nothing something you learn about in school, or even through life experiences.
below, I have outlined the methods I have tried and tested in order to centre my ambitions and set realistic, pursuable goals - all of which can be done during this period of pandemic/lockdown/quarantine.
take time to think about what career you want
you need to think specifically about what you like and what you're good at. having (even a small sense of) direction to start off will make your life so much easier. making a career out of your passions is not only one of the easiest ways to stay motivated, but is the easiest way to ensure you don't go into a job that you will eventually hate - a portrait artist probably wouldn't aim for a job in aerospace engineering just because the salary is good.
visualise your goals
what do your goals look like? where do you see yourself in one, five, or 10 years time? visualisation should not be confused for "ask and you shall receive", it's like exercise - you work out to see your desired progress so you visualise to see your desired goals.
whether or not you visualise in your mind, you should be able to see your goals physically. mood boarding is one of the most helpful ways to visualise, as the goals become somewhat tangible and seem more achievable, no matter how 'far - fetched' they may seem. save posts on Instagram, bookmark on Twitter or, if you have the money and the wall space, print photos out and stick them up.
take it online
university, courses and internships don't need to take a back seat during a pandemic. if you have access to a phone, desktop or laptop, and an internet connection, you have access to all of these things (although, if you are not an enrolled university student, I wouldn't get yourself into £30k+ worth of debt just because someone off the Internet told you to).
networking doesn't need to stop, either. depending on what your Twitter account looks like, you can always reach out to industry professional via DMs and the same goes for Instagram. or, even better - make a LinkedIn. no matter what career you want to go into, LinkedIn will become your best friend. a CV, cover letter, job searcher and social media feed all in one, I am far from ashamed to admit I have multiple job and internship alerts set up to notify me about the latest opportunity postings around the world.
FutureLearn offers countless free online courses in a range of areas. at the start of lockdown I took a (free) four week course from the Institut Français de la Mode (ranked in first worldwide for its Fashion Business Maters courses and second worldwide for its Fashion Design Masters courses) in "Understanding Fashion: from Business to Culture", led by Benjamin Simmenauer and contributed to by Simon Porte Jacquemus and Paul Smith, to name a few. not that I have ever really considered a career in fashion business - but my interests lie in fashion, so learning the skills that surround your interest make you a multifaceted candidate for whatever field you want to go into.
commit to it
don't quit because things start looking 'too hard' - it will get you nowhere and you would have gained nothing. why go out of your way to waste your own time?
one of my biggest pet peeves is starting something that I don't finish (I'm looking at the five books I started and haven't gone back to). if you know that you won't have the time, facilities or even the motivation to commit to something wholeheartedly, wait until you do. you'll thank yourself later for it.
don't baby yourself
don't walk into something with the "I'm too young" or "I'm scared" kind of attitude (honourable mention goes to: "I'm scared of failure" - the only thing you're doing is holding yourself and your potential back. everyone is scared of failure; you are not the only person who has big ambitions that, right now, seem to be a little too big. would the world's most successful people be where they are now if they didn't have fear and anxiety to urge them along at the start of their ventures?
just like with commitment issues, holding yourself back will only be wasting your own time, as well as the time of anyone else who may be helping you.
be confident in your abilities.
take the leap, the net will catch you
when we eventually make it out the other side of this pandemic, and everything slowly but surely returns to normal, there'll be nothing stopping you from putting the processes needed to achieve your goals into action.
you can always start things without a solid plan on what you'll do if xyz occurs or if abc doesn't happen. I can name a few people that emigrated even before they had sorted out their housing options, and couch surfed/rented AirBnBs until they were properly on their feet. I'm not suggesting that you should do that, but the point is - everything will always work itself out in the end.