I’m trying to do my life different now.
I’ve spent most of my career working with the same organization, International Students, Inc. It’s been a fantastic experience. The people and experiences I’ve enjoyed as a result of this decision two decades ago have colored my life in vivid, unmistakable and lasting ways.
Working part-time as a campus staff and then city director with this outreach while raising three children turned out, on the whole, to be a good fit.
Asking Myself Big Questions
But when I approached 50 (arguably past mid-life), I began to ponder, “Is this it? Is this all I will do for the rest of my life?” I’ve discovered I certainly am not the only one to run into this question at that pivotal, half-century moment.
So, after some soul-searching, I’ve set out to make a change. I’m on my way. And here are three lessons I’ve learned so far:
(1) AUTHENTICITY: I need to be true to who I am.
I needed to dig within and find that “superpower” (or set of superpowers) unique to me.
There are lots of people out there sharing about how to be more productive, build your business, write more effectively, market your product, expand your influence. It’s all good, and we need many of them (but probably not all!).
But hey, that’s not me. I’m about something different. My superpower is connecting across cultures. Equipping and influencing others to do just that. Being a bridge between and among groups of people with different ways of thinking.
The need to do stuff cross-culturally is like breath to me. Although the intercultural communications space is not well developed, I choose to step into it and help make it stronger! I want to become a meaningful voice in that space.
(2) CONSISTENCY: Don’t be haphazard.
Consistency, patience, and focus keep you in the game when others drop out. I’m learning so much about self-discipline, it’s crazy. But I’m also seasoning it with grace. I’m over 50, after all. Can’t deny it. I don’t work quite like I did as a 20-year-old. But I believe in the EVENTUALLY. I will not give up!
(3) COMMUNITY: Don’t work in a vacuum.
That decision has made a world of difference. I’ve started a blog and have posted consistently on it for two years now. I’ve written and published a book. I’ve built a following on Medium. And I’m growing my audience. I’m beginning to experience some traction.
But all this comes down to the community I’ve found through both Tribe Writers and the Tribe Builder’s Network, an off-shoot group run by Frank McKinley, an awesome guy. Without community, whether local or online (or both), I would be toast.
Finding That Secret Sauce
Authenticity, consistency, and community — these are the ingredients of a secret sauce I believe are busting me out of ordinariness and helping me stand out among the myriad of voices calling for attention.
I am on my way.
If you like this story please consider buying Caroline’s book in the shop.
Visit Caroline at CultureWeave.com.
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