Knowing When to Transition

I started this sabbatical with a broad plan — explore a list of different careers that I had long been interested in. 

But how I tackled this exploration was a little looser. I purposely did not create a detailed plan of attack, with strict timelines. With most of the fields being pretty unknown to me, I knew that would be a near impossible task.

Instead, I relied on my gut.

I started with whatever career path was pulling my interest at any given time; explored that field through whichever resources were accessible and seemed the right fit — from online classes to one-on-one training to hands-on experience; and when I felt like I was no longer energized by the pursuit, I moved on.

But the ‘moving on’ has always been the difficult part. How do you know the difference between discovering something’s not the right fit for you and just plain giving up?

Of course, the simple answer is — often, you won’t know for sure. You just need to follow that instinct.

And sometimes, you will change your mind.

After working as an interior design assistant for those few months before Artie was born, I started doubting my interest in interior design. There was a lot of headache around demanding or indecisive clients that gave me bad flashbacks to my time in sales. I feared that the drain of managing clients would overshadow any energy I got from the creative design process.

I used my maternity leave to reflect on my future in interior design, and ultimately decided it was time for me to transition away from the field. 

But then, a few months later, a friend posted on Facebook asking for some interior design advice. I commented with a few suggestions, and before I knew it, I was actually getting paid to put together a couple of design proposals.

It re-sparked my interest in interior design, but made me realize I needed to find the best way for it to fit my working style. Maybe that’s only pursuing it as supplemental income, so that I can be super picky about the clients I work with. Maybe it’s focusing more on the content creation side of design.

And then, there’s knowing when to transition within a given career path. This has happened a lot with my exploration of video production and content creation.

As I documented in my past blogs, I tried to dive in a little too deep when it came to video content. I attempted a complicated video format that requires a lot of time, different shots, synching video and audio and editing. It got so overwhelming that the work was no longer energizing.

But video as a medium still piqued my interest.

So, when I revisited video content creation a few months ago with the launch of my YouTube channel, Ke Aloha no Hawai‘i, I knew the key would be to make the filming and editing process much simpler.

And I’ve successfully produced 17 videos!

But even with this channel, I got to the point when I knew I needed to transition my work. While working on the core content — my grammar videos — vastly improved my planning, filming, and editing skills, it also required a lot of time. So much so that I didn’t have much time to actually continue my own Hawaiian learning.

So, I decided I would wrap up the grammar videos (for now) and transition to less time-intensive vocabulary-focused videos.

And I’ve also decided to attempt to launch a new YouTube channel, on a topic that would attract a wider audience. More details to come!

What I’ve learned through all of this is that you won’t always know for sure if you’re making the right decision. Because here’s the big secret: most of the time, there is no “right” decision. There is just the best decision for you at that one point in time. And most decisions aren’t permanent; you can always change your mind.

So, when you get to that fork in the road, just go with your gut. Choose the path that looks like the best fit for you at the time. It’s ok, if you end up turning back and following the other path instead. Your journey on that new path will likely be richer and more fruitful because of what you saw and experienced on the first one.

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