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Zig Zag Choices

September 20, 2010

Zig Zag Choices:

Finding a life direction can be full of zigs and zags. This seems a natural part of the trial-and-error process of living and discovering a passion.

My son is nearing his college graduation. Though he is majoring in Journalism and Political Science, he experimented with a number of other options before focusing on these. All the alternatives he explored beforehand helped him make this choice. They all involved some form of written or visual communications, however there are many professions within that broad field. Initially, he flirted with the idea of political communications, then switched his major to marketing communications.

He also has a strong interest in photography and wanted to minor in it.  He worked for his college radio station, shooting and editing photos of visiting bands at the station and at concerts. He wrote reviews and covered a music festival. He worked on some marketing campaigns, interned briefly with a public relations firm, and had a summer job with a market research company. After those experiences, he decided marketing was the wrong course for him.

For a while after that, he considered majoring in photography and got a job taking pictures and writing articles for his college newspaper. He was the business reporter and had the opportunity to interview a number of local and state politicians about the recessionary economy and its impact on education, business, and public services. The appeal of journalism grew, and he chose to explore his options within it: print, broadcast, and electronic media. He found a number of jobs to help him explore these options, including working the production side of sports broadcasts, working as an operations assistant for a radio station, and doing a stint as a reporter and video operator for the campus television station.

To find the right direction for his career, he zigged and zagged, each time discovering opportunities that gave him new experiences, so he could determine what was right for him.

Some people know from an early age what they want to do in life. For others, the decision-making takes a more circuitous route. That very discovery process, however, can build confidence that the ultimate choice will be a good one. Exploratory choices and experimentation serve as learning opportunities, which for many are key to finding the best or most suitable path.

This same process, however inefficient, can serve us at any age and for any directional change we may wish to make – whether it’s about pursuing a career, a purpose, a vocation, a faith, or other endeavor. Through our experiences and the people we meet, we can broaden our perspective, learn much about ourselves, enrich our lives, and find a route that will be most gratifying for us. The process has value and generates value.

I encourage you to embrace the zig zags. I believe you will discover that the extra time and effort of the journey will be worthwhile, regardless of the destination to which your zig zags lead.

Steve Weitzenkorn

Steve Weitzenkorn, Ph.D., is a learning innovator, organizational advisor, experienced facilitator, and lead author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2010 6:20 am

    You may have been describing your sons movements of Zigging and Zagging, but that is what I have been doing over the past several years. At the moment, I do believe I have figured out the direction I need to go, it is just a matter of time and money. Thanks for the encouraging thoughts and the nice comment on my blog.

  2. September 21, 2010 9:07 pm

    Through the Zig Zags in my life, I discovered an interesting human being–me. Nothing in life is free–nothing. You must work hard at discovering you. I take my hat off to my zig zags and am still not on the straight and narrow. I have chosen the road less traveled as I can not do it alone. I can’t let go. And the Zig Zags win. I know who I am.

    • September 22, 2010 6:53 am

      What you write is so good to hear. We are completely aligned. The zigs and zags are all a part of discovering ourselves and enriching our own lives. Congratulations on your journey and discovering who you are! Our purpose is to help others discover it too and live more fulfilling lives. I hope to hear from you often.

      I wish you all the best,

  3. September 22, 2010 2:27 am

    I agree with you, in essence i believe life is about the journey not always the result(or bottom line). One of my lecturers once told me that if you die tomorrow you would want to go knowing you tried it, lived it and even made those few mistakes because all of those get us too where we need to be.

    • September 22, 2010 6:47 am

      Thanks so much for your comment and observation. We are completely aligned. Like you, I also believe that it’s the journey that is most fulfilling along with the positive impact we can have. Zigs and zags are all a part of it and help us learn.

      My best,

  4. September 22, 2010 12:41 pm

    I love this post, this post reminds me of a television commercial I saw a while ago. There was a young boy who thought he was the best hitter in the world until he struck himself out and decided he was the best pitcher in the world.

    Thank you for this post, I’m glad I was able to read it.

    I’m at times a zig zagger too, it’s all just to find what authentically fits you, your passions, and what you love to do.


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