I wrote yesterday about Danny Russel being one of 140 people who are “professional Lincolns.”  This got me wondering how he (and the other 139) came to land on this as a career.  Being a character actor doesn’t sound like something that shows up on any of the strengths assessments I’ve seen, and playing Lincoln isn’t a job category in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. But somewhere, there was a match between skills and interests and he has been able to parlay that into a comfortable living. 

It’s hard to think of a career in such wide open terms; at least I am more comfortable in searching for specific kinds of jobs instead of exploring for niches that I didn’t even know existed. 

I think that is true for most people, and it is not limited to job hunting. We order items that are on the menu or follow a recipe. We work on projects that are similar to ones we have done before or that others put on our to-do list. We read books by authors we have previously enjoyed, see movies in the same genre and buy music from the same artists.  

In short, we lead our life from the list.

The only way you’ll be comfortable ordering off the menu for your next phase of life is if you take little steps now to vary from your norm.  Switch the station, visit a different part of the library or try that Thai.

Lincoln himself said: “Whatever you are, be a good one.”  First focus on the “whatever” part of that quote to truly embrace the possibilities.

— beth triplett

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