At a recent Learning and Development day at the Starbucks Headquarters in Seattle, I was pleasantly surprised by the insight I gathered on my own life.
What I’ve recently learned about myself is that I’ve always been the person who never really knew what was next in life for me. In talking about what was next, most times it’s always been: “I’m working on figuring it out.” I’ve never had specific long-term goals. Every thing has sort of fit the expression: we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. In high school, I didn’t have a dream college. I didn’t have a dream career and I still don’t. I went into my Freshman year as “undecided” or as “undeclared” as I preferred to call it.
Retracing my life map, I zoomed in on different pieces of what has made me who I am – who I was as a grade school student, who I was as a college student, who I am because of my family, and who I am right now.
I used these notes to talk about life story to strangers to professionals at Starbucks and it was nice to be able to write it down, see, and hear how my story is unique and different from others.
- Grade School Student: I found the theme of knowledge. I was always curious about things that I didn’t know about or had never tried. Joining clubs and sports that challenged my intellect, leadership, and various skills.
- College Student: I found the theme of service and leadership. I joined communities and took on roles that were focused on empowering others through relationship-building, leadership, and meeting others where they are at.
- Family: I found the theme of creating a path of my own. As the oldest of seven siblings, a first generation American and college student, and daughter of parents who didn’t complete High School, I internally told myself that I had the power to determine where my path can go.
- Present: I’ve been focusing on values that I have been letting guide me, professionally and personally: self-awareness, growth, and goal-setting.
So the million dollar question is: “what’s next after City Year?”
What I can say is that in thinking about the path that I’ve created and what’s next, I’m finding that I want to take my love and values for these themes in my life to help empower others to be their best selves and to use their path to strengthen their values and lead them to where they feel purpose and joy. I want to use my skills in creative storytelling and communication to share the work and experiences of communities and individuals.
Where this will lead me, I’m not sure, but as usual, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.