When I was in high school and considering what I would study in college, my first choice was interior design. My second was nutrition. My art teacher brought in a young woman who had gotten a degree in interior design and had been working for a year or two. She wasn’t able to find a job actually doing interior design. Instead, she was selling furniture and was absolutely miserable. The thought of selling was horrifying to me. You can imagine how that made me feel about pursuing interior design.
There was another part of this woman’s story that made me cringe. She wasn’t able to make enough money to move out of her parents house. At 18, that seemed like the worst thing imaginable.
So I started to get discouraged about following my first choice. I did seek out colleges that offered both degrees—interior design and nutrition—in case I chose one and changed my mind.
My dad was convinced getting a technical degree would give me the best opportunities for financial success. With nutrition, I would study chemistry, math, and physics. It was technical. He recommended I start with nutrition because he thought if I started with interior design it would be harder for me to change from design classes to technical classes if I decided to switch over to nutrition.
The logic made sense to me so I started with my second choice. I felt torn the whole time I went to school. And I never had the courage to switch to my first choice. Of course, thinking I would never make enough money to live on my own didn’t help.
I’ve always regretted that choice. I went on to work in a technical field for most of my career. My heart was never in it. I could only tolerate staying at a job for so long before I felt miserable …How ironic is that?…and I would look for something new. I never made very much money either. Basically what I was afraid I’d get with my first choice, I actually got with my second.
The lesson I took away from that experience is to go for your first choice first! If I’ve tried my best, and it isn’t panning out, I can look to a second choice. I have used this approach in other areas of my life and have loved the results. Things don’t always turn out the way I had originally envisioned, and there are times I feel disappointment. But going for my number one choices first has brought me a lot of joy and results that many times have been better than I thought possible.
So don’t settle for choice number 2 without at least giving choice number 1 an honest try. And it doesn’t have to be just about the big things in life. It applies to those little decisions we make each day. Go for what you really want in the little things and watch you life bloom.