You are exactly where you need to be. How many of us worry about the future? We all have thoughts from time to time that we are not quite where we want to be. From one millennial girl to another, it is important to trust in your process, be open to experimentation and see the opportunities in setbacks.
It was my second year at university when I secured a fashion internship in New York. I was equally excited as I was nervous. After 18 months of working long weekends and nights to save whilst studying, I graduated and set off to the Big Apple to embark on my big adventure.
At the time, I was studying a fashion marketing course and had various opportunities to work at events across Europe whilst I was a student. I was so certain that fashion was what I wanted to dedicate my career too. A year before I was set to move to New York, it was all I could talk about, I was so so so certain. I could not have been more confident.
However, something changed. During my final year, I was exploring my strengths and weaknesses within my projects. One of these projects was heavily based within trend research. This was ultimately observing consumer behaviour, analysing markets to predict what the future will look like. So we all know about fashion trends right? But my forte wasn’t in clothes. I kept telling myself, how could I be so be so sure and a year on, not so much.
Prior to moving to New York, I happened to bump into my current boss on a train. I don’t think I have ever secured a job through an interview process. I can’t tell you how important it is to just talk to people. If I hadn’t started this conversation, I wouldn’t be where I a now. I started a conversation with her because she had a bag of a company I had been doing some trend research for. I left that journey with a business card and an email for her daughter who runs a marketing agency. As I wanted to explore trend research and consumer behaviour, I contacted her daughter and did some work for free that summer so I could experiment with developing my own voice.
Needless to say, I went to New York for 3 months and worked with a fantastic agency. I was constantly inspired by the people I worked with, but it something was missing. I didn’t get that sense of purpose and impact that I did to when I was researching. Arguably my expectations could have been a little too high as I was just an intern. But it was eating away at me. Fashion wasn’t what I wanted to pursue anymore. I was in denial.
At the same time, I was spending my evenings and spare time doing some research for a retail design agency in New York, which I loved. But I was still caught up on the idea of working in the fashion industry. Prior to moving back to London I had been in touch with a few companies and secured interviews for fashion jobs. I went to everyone of those interviews and none of them went the way I hoped.
I was panicking. I started beating myself up. I had friends who were still job hunting so I started to worry about securing employment and money.
However, I was very fortunate to have secured an retail strategist internship with the lady I met on the train. After two weeks of interning in their London office, I knew there and then that I loved the work I was doing. I was researching trends and consumer behaviour. I was doing something creative and analytical. So that is how I moved forward. I now work for the company part time and freelance my other time doing strategy work for social media brands.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to let go of expectation. I expected that because all my experience and degree was in fashion marketing, that should be my job. Another thing I assumed is that I would be working Monday to Friday, 9-5. This was not a growth mindset, but rather a fixed mentality. If I move passed this sooner, I probably would have saved myself a lot of stress.
Another skill this experience has taught me is to be patient and to have trust in the process. It is also important to experiment as much as possible and not be afraid to move away from something if it doesn’t serve you the way you hoped.
All experiences, good or bad, help you move forward. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, you are exactly where you need to be.
Here is my check list to keep you moving forward in the right direction:
1. Do more of what makes you feel excited. For me this was researching consumer behaviour. Naturally, the more I did this, the more opportunities came my way.
2. Experiment, fail at things and celebrate the successes. Reflect on these moments. The key is to take the lessons from all your experiences and use them to drive you forward.
3. Embrace a growth mindset. Be open minded to outcomes and do not get so fixated on a single goal, that you miss all the other opportunities.
4. Have trust in your process, you will get where you want to be. It just takes time.
5. Discover your strengths, and work on owning those skills. This is what makes you valuable.
6. Talk to everyone. You never know who you might meet.
7. Be willing to embrace change.