5 Tips For Pursuing New Interests

What I wanted to be growing up: Architect, Horse Trainer, Food Tester, Chef
What I studied in school: Communications, Japanese
What I'm doing now: Social Media Marketing, Graphic Design, Nutrition

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    For someone who's only 23, I've changed my mind a lot. I have handful of failed and rejected pursuits that I rarely talk about. But I've learned how rewarding a little bit of risk and a whole lot of courage can be. Last year, I decided that I want to pursue my interest in nutrition education. But what did I know about this field? That's right - almost NOTHING. So I researched, I read books, I listened to podcasts, I talked to professionals in the field, and I volunteered anywhere I could get in. I landed a Marketing Director position with Feed the Mass, a local nonprofit focused on food empowerment that teaches affordable cooking classes for the community. And oh how the opportunities have opened up since then!

    Do you have an interest outside your current field that you'd like to explore? Here are some tips I learned about dipping your feet in:

    1. Research, research, research!
      • Why is this important to you? What meaning does it bring to your life?
        • "That's why some of the most brilliant and influential people spend their time and effort on things that have only intrinsic reward. Mother Teresa didn't run a hedge fund, and Martin Luther King Jr. didn't go into real estate. Instead, they spent their lives advocating for causes that were meaningful to them, even though they lived through hardships and rejection." - Rejection Proof
      • Do you need additional schooling to pursue this interest? Perhaps a certificate? An online class?
      • This helps you find out what stands between you and the pursuit of your goal. Are you willing to do what it takes?
         
    2. Reach out to professionals
      • Find professionals in your community who would be willing to chat over some coffee. Use Google, friends and family, local ads, etc. - keep your eyes and ears open!
      • Use LinkedIn to your advantage - there are plenty of people out there who are happy to help, but you need to ask first!
      • Ask them about the good, the bad, and the ugly behind their job. It's best to hear well-rounded perspectives.
         
    3. Build relationships
      • I believe in cultivating relationships over just "networking." Treat everyone you meet like a friend, send thank you emails, update them if they sent you some particularly influential advice. 
      • Good questions to ask:
        • How did you get into this line of work?
        • What do you enjoy about it? What's not so great about it?
        • What type of people do well in this industry?
        • Is there anyone else you would recommend I reach out to?
           
    4. Find a shadow/volunteer opportunity
      • These are perfect low-commitment investments. No need to drop everything else in life!
      • If it doesn't work out, then you only gain the knowledge that it wasn't right for you.
         
    5. Remember that it's OK to wake up one day and change your mind. You and your life are in constant flux due to new experiences everyday. Maybe someday, I'll realize nutrition education isn't right for me anymore. But right now, I love what I do and I love why I do it. And I hope I can inspire others to pursue their interests, no matter where they are in life.
    Mi NguyenComment