Erica A Morin
Totally where you are now Tracy! What I know is that the passion I had for what I love to do has gotten 100% of my attention for learning rather then the 50% I probably applied to my formal schooling. The thing I find about my passions is that they interest me more which means I apply myself more which means I dream more which means I learn more. Do I have to settle some day? Maybe. The day job pays my bills while I learn enough to make my passion my life.
As for those tests that tell us what we would be good at? They are great but only if the list of optional jobs to pursue has more than 100 entries per aspect and they all have to be different - not jr and sr of the same thing. Also, at what point do you realize that you can lie on these tests intentionally or not? As kids we are taught that we have to succeed (get "A"s) because anything less is some form of failure. Kids learn quickly that parents, teachers, society rewards the success not the failure so we settle on a career and pursue it to death even if we hate it because to throw away the education and experience would be to say we had failed and that is a no-no. Kids and adults need to be encouraged to try all kinds of things and fail because it is through failure that we learn new ways of thinking and discover new opportunities.
I have started blending my passions into my daily life in small increments. I work with kids at my child's school to see if I have the patience and capabilties to work with them on a daily basis. I started with leading an after school program as they are always looking for volunteers. So far I have taught kids pantomine. On my list to offer: manners, gardening, the microscopic outdoor world, write a book and that was with only one cup of coffee.
I have signed up for free business classes to help me understand the practical things to setting up a business. And to put this last one in perspective, I have an MBA. There is a big difference between theory and practicum. I didn't get my MBA because I love business (success vs failure) but I did learn things about myself such as, I can be a better boss, I'm a leader, and I think I could run a business. What the MBA didn't teach me was the steps you need to go through to start that business. Next up is a year of free/low cost classes about start-ups, finding a mentor, and investing my time/money in a boy's clothing store. Why? Because as the parent of a boy, I am really really tired of the lack of choice for parents when it comes to boy's clothing. As a leader and boss, I think I can inspire my employees to look beyond the mundane of a paycheck and find a life that makes them want to wake up eager every morning to see what new things will happen that day.
So, pursue all your dreams; take lots of classes; keep learning but also applying what you are learning. You are going to fail on some of these - some big time, some small - but each failure is going to make you go "Ah, so that is what that was like, I wonder if I could....." and from there will come an opportunity to travel a different path on your journey.