Yesterday, I interviewed artist Romero Britto for a profile I'm writing. I love his work and I would guess that many others do too based on his success. He told me he loved to paint as a kid, but he thought he wanted to be a diplomat when he grew up. His friend's father was a diplomat and made the career look glamorous with the potential to be affluent. But Britto didn't have an easy time following that path and became frustrated. So, he returned to painting and kept at it until he got a break and had his work shown in a gallery.
His story made me think about conversations I've been having over the last few days about career paths. Many of my friends are trying to guide their teens on what careers to pursue. Those paths aren't always the ones their parents want them to take because of the job opportunities in some fields.
But the truth is, how many people know their career path as a young adult and stay on that path? It brings up the question: Does success require you stay focused?
I'd like to say that success comes from trying different paths and finding the right one for you. For some people, that has worked. But not for everyone.
Last night, I moderated a panel called Women of Influence. The four women leaders -- from HR, law and finance - areas of their company were asked if they always knew what they wanted to do and whether they set their sights on ascending to the top throughout their careers.
Catherine Smith, general counsel of Brightstar Corp., answered the question by painting a career as a series of experiences.
"When I was growing up, I wanted to be lawyer or doctor. I met physics and became a lawyer. I think you pivot in the zone of you want. I was focused on what I wanted to do but I know I needed experiences so I would have the knowledge to face different situations. It's important to get different experiences and mold it into what ever it is you decide you want your career to be."
It seems like the key is if you diverge from your original path, focus hard on your new direction. To me, success is about being happy, passionate and smart in the career path you're on, even if it's not the one you orginally set out on.
Anne Bramman, CFO of Carnival, says whatever path you choose, remember, talent management is a two-way process "no one is going to manage your career except you."