I was fortunate enough to have a great conversation with a young woman sitting next to me on the plane the other day. She described her current academic pursuits towards a Master’s degree in a rather narrow subsection of the performing arts. Her subsection dealt with exploring societal issues through performances. I asked her what she envisioned for her career after completing her studies. Her response was to either pursue teaching in this same subsection, or going back to an earlier job she had had before embarking on her education. Her choices seemed rather limited and bleak after 6 years of college.
We discussed this for a few minutes and quickly came up with a variety of commercial applications for her hard-earned skill set:
Developing and providing training programs for corporations. This could be for sales, or any place where the employees must interact with customers or the public.
Developing and providing education and training programs for non-profits seeking to influence behavior (such as anti-smoking campaigns, wellness campaigns, substance abuse prevention campaigns, women’s rights, anti-bullying, this list can go on and on).
Developing and providing team-building exercises for a variety of organizations.
Developing and providing acting classes for schools.
Developing and providing programs for community theatres to assist them in expanding their repertoire and considering providing services such as those listed above in their own local areas.
Developing and providing programs to assist community radio and TV stations evaluate how they can better engage with their communities and develop fresh engaging material.
As you can see, in a matter of a few minutes we had greatly expanded her perception of her opportunities. How did we do so? The answer lies in rephrasing the question away from how can this degree be used. Instead, focusing on the skills acquired and how these could be of value in a variety of settings. The skills we focused on were the ability to take a topic and engage people with it in an interactive manner. This changes the perspective from putting on a theatrical production, to a wide variety of instances where these skills have value. Now this was just a short discussion and deeper thought could probably expand this list considerably.
This is one of the lessons I learned when leaving the perceived comfort and safety of the corporate world to become an entrepreneur. If you take the time to expand your horizons, there are more opportunities than you’ll ever have time to pursue. Take a step back and reconsider the possible opportunities before you. Think about the value of your skill sets in a broader perspective and areas that can benefit from this skill set. You’ll find that opportunities exist all around us. Broaden your perspective and you’ll find a whole new world of possibilities awaits.
Did you go through a similar process? How did you reflect to find your career path? Share your story on UltiCareer to help other people broaden their horizons and discover what options are out there.
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