“I want to be an Astronaut.”
It used to be my answer when people asked about my goals. Then 1st Feb 2003 happened, I saw the news clip of Kalpana Chawla’s space shuttle crash. I was eight when my dreams got shattered for the first time.
The impact of that clip was so intense that I developed a fear of flying. A girl who wanted to float in space was now scared of flying on an airplane. Imagine your only inspiration burning to ashes in front of you. I can still recall that vision.
Had I gotten the correct guidance on time, I would have recovered from that incident and started dreaming again. Maybe that would have led to me being an Astronaut today. Maybe…
When all this happened, my father was getting experience in the manufacturing industry. He came from a very backward region in India named Bihar. Eleven Bihar districts have a poverty ratio above 60% (that explains all). Coming out of that place and aspiring for a better living standard was a big deal at that time. My mother is a housemaker, and at that point, she was very efficiently adapting to things necessary for my better upbringing. So, I cannot blame them. They were already doing their best.
The education system in 2003 for an eight-year-old? Honestly, I was getting more than what an average child gets to learn at primary school. I cannot over-expect from them also. So, what went wrong?
Nothing! Maybe it was my destiny.
How my Circumstances kept Redefining my Goals
Time passed, and I started diverting my energy to multiple activities like music, gymnastics, karate, art, and whatnot. By the time I was in high school, my father was an established businessman and wanted me to be a doctor — but I could not stand the sight of my blood (damn you life).
My father and his journey inspired me a lot, so now I was inclined to help him with his business (goal 2). He wanted me to opt for medical science while I wanted to study commerce. He agreed for me to take up commerce specialization but on a condition. I had to crack the Chartered Accountant entrance exam. So, to achieve my ultimate goal (that was joining my father’s business at that time), I had to attain another one — becoming a CA (goal 3). So, three goals within 12 years, and this is just not it!
I was doing well in CA, and it seemed like I would achieve what I wanted this time. I almost forgot that we lack the power to control our lives. Enter shock number two — My father had a massive loss in his business. I immediately realized that being a dependent child was no more an option. Moreover, I had no idea how many attempts it would take to crack the CA finals. They say,
CA is 50% Hard work + 40% Demand of CA for ICAI + 10% Luck
The only thing in my control was hard work and it was just half of what I needed to succeed. And I could not afford this uncertain career choice because my father needed my support. What if I could not help him with his business? The least I could do for him was to be independent and start earning. So, I took a step toward a new goal, MBA (goal 4). The idea was to do MBA and get placement with a good company; with a decent package obviously.
We are going a little out of context here. Please bear with me (you can connect these dots later).
While all these years passed, I realized one more thing. As much as my father was growing in his career, lesser was the time that he would spend with us. It hurt me, and I promised myself to maintain a work-life balance, no matter what.
Anyways, continuing the story of my goal revision. I cracked the entrance exam for MBA and got into a good university. While I was doing my MBA, like any other aspirant, I wanted to work for companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, or Adobe. But, I was also aware that people from technical backgrounds had better chances of getting into these companies. I somehow accepted my fate and started focusing on things that I found more relevant to my academics.
After a year and a half of my MBA, I came across the concept of Digital Marketing. I was amazed by this career option. It’s something that will give me the flexibility to work from anywhere. Now I knew that I could make money while being around my family (The work-life balance promise to myself. Remember?). Woot Woot!
After finishing my MBA, I got to work as a Digital Marketer with a marketing agency, and I loved my job. Now the aim was to work with one of the best Marketing Agencies in the world (goal 5). After almost a year, I had to leave my first job. It was pretty evident for me to find opportunities in similar companies. Then one day, I got an email from an IT company. I checked the job description and told them why I was not the right fit,
i) I wasn’t from a technical background, and selling software didn’t feel like something I could do.
ii) Only 5–10% of my skills were relevant to the job role.
But, HR insisted on scheduling an interview. And, guess what? I got the job. I started working for an IT company and where I was supposed to market software solutions and services. Fortunately, I learned everything quickly, and within a few months, I was among the top performers.
I have been working in the IT industry for almost four years, and now I know my way to Google (goal 6).
What are the Possibilities now?
Over the last two decades, I have redefined my goals six times, and I know this might not be the end. My current aim is to work at Google as a marketer. Who knows, I might get to work for NASA someday (manifesting it already).
Space will always be my first love. I still want to put on the space suit and float. Maybe, someday, I will go to space. If not as an Astronaut, probably as a traveler. Thank God space tourism is a thing now.
I hope now you won’t question your capabilities or persistence as your goals change over time. I would love to know how your circumstances changed your goals.
Share your stories in the comments below!