I was an art history major in college and worked as an intern at multiple prestigious institutions. Art really fascinated me, but something deep down told me that my true calling was a career in marketing. With scholarships, involvement in the art community and all the grand plans I had to become a successful art curator, I chose not to listen to my inner voice. I felt that if I had changed directions on my path, I would have been looked upon as a failure.
After graduating college with my shiny art history degree in hand, I knew that I had to make a decision for myself. I could continue down the path of studying art history and go to graduate school or I could choose to create a career path in marketing. To do that, I would have to convince others that I was capable of doing the job, even though my formal education didn't align with marketing at all. I began filling out graduate school applications and studying for the GRE.
My graduate school applications sat in large envelopes on my desk for weeks. I kept using the fact that I didn't have stamps as my excuse, but as an ambitious person, I knew I was lying to myself. I decided to throw away the applications and began the process of convincing others that my art history degree was worth something in the business world. Nearing a recession, and less than six months after graduation, I landed my first entry-level job in marketing. It was at that time that I realized how powerful my inner voice would be and that I would always need to listen to it to guide my life.
Now, years into my marketing career, I am a leader. I have had the opportunity to publish my work with a national marketing association and was a keynote at a conference in front of 1,000 of my peers. I also decided to pursue that graduate degree—in business. Since receiving a MBA, I have been given the opportunity to teach college level marketing and advertising coursework. I do this in addition to my career as a marketer and have created a deeply satisfying portfolio career for myself. I am married with two dogs and feel complete. I find emotional satisfaction in my charity work and the valuable time I spend with my family and friends. I've learned to be comfortable in my own skin and that I really can have it all, if that's the only standard I'll accept for myself. Go ahead, lean in!