By Valerie Young
Most people just skip over articles or even entire publications if they don’t see an immediate application to their life. Not me. The more unrelated to my life, the more intrigued I am.
Case in point was a supplement in my local paper that was dedicated to equestrians. I like horses and all, but I am not even remotely connected to the horse world. To me, that’s all the more reason to dive in.
I scanned the articles, but as usual, what I was really drawn to were the advertisements. Why? Ads reveal all kinds of interesting ways people with a particular interest have found a way to earn a living. Among the ads for such obvious businesses as tack shops and veterinarians was an ad for “quality equine laundry.” Who knew?
I quickly discovered that the company will “clean, refurbish, and return each blanket spotless, repaired, and wrapped with tissue in a zippered plastic case.” They also promise to make Velcro stick again and to air-dry the blankets on a special rack to avoid shrinkage. This enterprising company will arrange for pick up anywhere in New England.
Another headline in my local paper trumpeted the fact that a guy had recently bought a local trophy and engraving shop. I don’t have a big need for trophies, but I know when it comes to entrepreneurs, there’s always more to a story than the headline.
I was right. It seems the new shop keeper, then 51-year-old Russell Wilkinson, has had a pretty varied background. According to the article, Russell had worked in construction, been an electrician, owned his own shoe repair shop, been a security chief at a local park, delivered packages for UPS, owned a local restaurant, and trained to be a scuba diving instructor in Key West.
People often ask Russell why he doesn’t just get a regular job. His reply? “If I’d done that, it would have been the biggest waste of the most expensive education a person can have.” Read that line again. It’s a powerful reminder that despite all the pressure to find that “one thing” you’re good at and then stick to it for the rest of your life, having a varied occupational life – whether as an employee or an entrepreneur can make life a whole lot more interesting.
It also reminds us that no experience is wasted. So many people went to school for things that have nothing to do with the work they do today. I never view past training, jobs, or even relationships as wasted time. All of our past experience adds up to lessons learned and therefore who we are today.
Clues to your calling, clues to success are all around you. As you go about your day make sure to tune into things that, on their face, seem unrelated to your life. Keep your eyes – and your mind – open and you just might find more than you expected.