Winging It

Lately I’ve been a bit frustrated, mostly with myself.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with direction in my career. 

I, like many, have worked myriad jobs over the past decade. I’ve filled creative roles within advertising, tech, teaching and TV. But despite being proud of my achievements, as a responsible adult privy to articles on entrepreneurship and other people asking, “what do you want to do next?”, I felt this need to figure it out, once and for all.

I couldn’t shake this feeling that time was passing and I wasn’t doing anything specific or strategic to position myself for where I want my career to be in 10 years. Not to mention I don’t even know what that looks like. I felt like I was just riding the wave, hoping it brought me to shore so I could root down and run.

So over the winter, I decided to take some time to establish a clear plan followed by a system for how to get there (wherever there is, anyways).

I began the process by creating a schedule and establishing a daytime office routine. For a scatter-brain like me, that seemed to be the most obvious start. But other than producing some blog posts I had been meaning to write, getting my inbox back on track, and whipping my accounting into shape, my future didn’t magically reveal itself to me (bummer). In fact, all this process did was land me an invite to an unnecessary pity party.

I became even more conscious of what I could be doing wrong, and it left my self-worth lying in an alleyway. 

Presumably aimlessness, I grew frustrated and anxious. But after another morning spent worrying about the future, I shared my plight with my boyfriend and he suggested I take something called the Kolbe A Index. I had nothing to lose, and hope was very attractive to me at the time, so I took the test…

It took me an hour, and it was very tough to answer honestly. To each cryptic yet generalized question, there are four answers. And from them, you determine the “most” and “least” likely options you would take if you were free to be yourself.

The goal is not to determine your social style, intelligence level or personality, but to measure the instinctive ways you take action when you strive. The aim is to help you understand how you operate when you’re at your best — when you’re in your groove. And it exactly what I needed to hear to help me chill the f out.

Only now do I see that I was failing to produce results because I was using an unnatural approach. I wasn’t operating how I am (and how I should) — no wonder I was frustrated!

I don’t thrive when I adhere to redundant systems, become overly scheduled, or involve myself in the details. I thrive on big picture chaos!

I’m not a mess, I’m adaptable. And I welcome interruptions. Hell, I can multi-task! My results encouraged me to continue winging itand doing things at the last minute — that Ishouldn’t second guess much, and that I certainly shouldn’t succumb to anyone else’s way of doing things. 

For the first time ever, what I once saw as my “bad traits” were presented to me as a powerful and unique tool.

As per my results, I can go from chaos to highly organized and sequential. I simplify and take shortcuts and abbreviate — not because I’m lazy, but out of my natural inclination to clarify and get to the root of something. Details bog me down and I’m my best when I’m working on a million things at once and facing risk, even when I don’t know what the outcome will be. I have tons of quick-start and an adaptive follow-through. And I shouldn’t justify or explain my ideas in advance, I should continue to just go for it, experiment, tinker and ad lib.

You and I can only thrive when we give into our unique instinctsAnd while there’s no harm in trying a new approach on for size, succumbing to a system that doesn’t play to your mode of operation will never work.

I still don’t have the answers I initially sought this week, but facing my truth was exactly what I needed to continue forging ahead — discovering what’s next rather than forcing it.

x, S

Sabrina Smelko

Lifestyle blog and shop by Sabrina Smelko, sharing wellness, home design, entrepreneurship and resources