Your Vision, Your Path, Your Choices
One of the remarkable features of secondary education is the so-called “Course of Studies Plan” or “CSP” for short. For school districts that use the CSP, or a similar approach, the concept is quite simple: Every high school student is expected to chart a four-year course of study before they enter high school with life after graduation in mind. While a CSP can be a great planning tool for a school, it’s a big ask for a 13-year-old teenager. Seriously, who’s got a clear sense of their life’s work before they even have a driver’s license? To make matters worse, guidance counselors armed with students’ records and aptitude test scores can be quite overbearing in steering their charges toward certain curricular and cocurricular pathways. “ Victoria, you may want to reconsider a Business CSP because your scores indicate that it will be a challenge for you.” I laugh as I write this. By age 11, I had determined that I was to become a corporate lawyer — I just KNEW it (I think I watched too much LA Law with my mother). I didn’t need anyone telling me what path I was going to go down (which I didn’t end up doing as I followed my passion and strengths into leading businesses, not just legal contracts!). My daughter asked me a number of years ago what I thought she should do for a career — I told her to follow her own passion; what she enjoyed most and where she thought she could have the most impact. Now, it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the school’s attempt to offer guidance and while there’s nothing wrong with pondering some good advice when it’s offered, all of us must discern what we hope to accomplish in life and curate the path that leads us toward the outcomes we seek. Let me add, my timeframe for plotting my course may be quite different than the next person’s. And that’s okay.
Consider Tasmanian dancer Judith Ker; I learned about her story recently. When she was in her early teens, Ker realized that her future was in ballet. A lot of people disagreed. Despite her immense grit and talent, Ker was often told that she wouldn’t make it in ballet and should pursue something else in life before it was too late. While Ker was open to others’ perspectives, she insisted on making choices that reflected her passion, not someone else’s. “I went to England on a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dance,” Ker remembers, “and I was told that I was entirely unsuited for a stage career. “ Ker went on to dance on hundreds of stages across Europe including the Arena di Verona in Italy. Now in her 90s, Ker continues to teach ballet near her home “down under.” She crafted a vision, made choices, took her lumps, and continues to live her vision at the twilight of life.
As many of my readers know, I live by the motto “Unstoppable” For as long as I can remember, I’ve built my professional and personal life around choice, insight, and transformation. I am in charge of my life’s trajectory. At the end of every day, I am accountable to myself. While I’ve been influenced by some great mentors along the way, I own ever minute of my life; I don’t give my path away to the people who come alongside me as live my vision for work, relationship, self-care, personal growth, and giving back. Do I have some regrets? Sure. Could I have done some things differently? Yes. Did I discard some good advice that I should’ve listened to? You bet! But I will always be able to claim that my vision is my vision. My advice to you? Describe your destination and start moving in that direction.
Your “Unstoppable” is yours alone.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.