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Expert Advice for Discovering Your Dream 'Plan B'


    AMELIA JEROME: Good morning. Hi. Hi buddy. Good morning. Your hand’s warm.

    NARRATOR: I don't know about you, but I'm always fascinated to see behind the scenes and to see someone who's doing something they love.

    AMELIA JEROME: This is Malik. Hey buddy. Hi, how are you? Yes, are you cold?

    NARRATOR: It's not a glamorous job — it's not for everyone. But for Amelia, it's a dream job.

    AMELIA JEROME: From the time I was super little and you know, spending the summers on my grandpa's farm until I left Colorado to come to K-State and go to college, I thought, I wanted to be a veterinarian.

    In my very first semester of school — the professor was named Mr. Shocky — he's one of my favorite professors and he said, “Five of you will get into vet school at the end of this.”

    And he said the words specifically “this class” is to help you find your plan B. I didn't give up on the veterinarian dream but I definitely said looking for other options. And that's when I started volunteering here.

    NARRATOR: Our plans don't always lead where we intend them and it's easy to lose heart along the way. But when you find yourself with a dream that seems derailed, remember Amelia. And be open to finding your plan B.

    AMELIA JEROME: It seems kind of mundane to some people, you know the day to day — what we call husbandry of the animals — but it's what I would love to do for the rest of my life.


Pursuing a dream takes persistence, dedication and determination — and there’s something to be said about a ‘can-do’ attitude. But although never giving up is a great mindset, it’s more than okay to have a plan B. In fact, we encourage it!

Over time, dreams may shift and change, and maybe the goal you’re pursuing isn’t playing out like you’d hoped. But that doesn’t mean you’ve failed — it just means you might have to dig a little deeper. That’s where having a plan B comes in handy. And Amelia Jerome is the perfect example.

Amelia’s had a strong love for animals her entire life. From the time she was little playing on her grandpa’s farm to the day she went off to college, she was bound and determined to become a vet, making her passion a career. But when she heard that only 5 out of thousands would get into vet school, she knew it was time to start developing a backup plan.

Although it wasn’t easy to think of her future without the career she’d always wanted, Amelia took big steps to find another path that would align with her passion. And when it came down to it, there was nothing she loved more than animals. So, through a series of events, she eventually ended up as a volunteer at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas. Within a few months, she was offered a part-time position and is now a full time zookeeper — and she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

“I fell in love with the exotic animals that I was surrounded by and I wanted to learn everything that I could,” says Amelia. “I felt like I was learning more at the zoo than I ever did in a classroom. And I think that’s about the time I realized I had no desire to be a vet.”

Her plan B became a better plan A than she could’ve ever envisioned. And yours can too! Take a page from her book by doing these 3 things to begin building your backup plan today.

Fill the void. Odds are you’re pursuing a dream because you love at least some aspect of it. For Amelia, it was animals, so she searched for volunteer opportunities that’d foster that passion.

“At some point I finally just said, ‘okay, I’m miserable and I need to make a change to put some happy in my life.’ So I started volunteering at a Petco. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to start to fill the void in my life that not having animals around me all the time had created,” Amelia explains.

Taking that initial step to revive her passion ultimately led to an alternate path that really works for her! So follow her lead and look for ways to activate some aspect of your dream that makes you happy. Dream of becoming a novelist? Volunteer as a writing tutor. Strive to open a bakery? Take a cooking class to explore a different side of the culinary arts. You never know where renewed inspiration will spark.

Be patient. When you’ve been set on a certain dream much of your life, it can be frustrating to define a new path — after all, discovering a new or alternate version of your passion won’t happen overnight. And sometimes you’ve just got to start from scratch. But more often than not, it’ll pay off.

“I stuck with my part time job making minimum wage for 4 years until Sunset Zoo was not hesitant to hire me on as the full time zookeeper that I am now,” shares Amelia.

You owe it to yourself to remain patient, explore all your options and work towards something that’ll be truly rewarding in the end.

Follow your passion. If you take one thing from Amelia, let it be this piece of advice — “Don’t follow a plan, follow a passion.”

Amelia had always planned on getting her undergrad degree, going on to vet school and eventually becoming a vet. A very linear path, right? But when she challenged her perception of what her dream meant to her, it became so very clear that it wasn’t about the path she was on, but rather why she was on that path.

“I was following the plan of being a vet my whole life, and when I realized the passion behind that plan actually had a thousand different paths I could take, my world got a whole lot bigger,” expresses Amelia. “You have to keep an open mind — go with the flow and take risks! I know that is so hard for some people, but I promise that it’ll be worth it.”

When it comes down to it, developing a plan B can seem really discouraging. It’s inherently the belief that your plan A may not pan out, and that goes against everything we believe in as dreamers. But think of it this way — it’s not scrapping your dream, but discovering another one! And more dreaming never hurt anybody. Plus, who knows, you may end up like Amelia. And who wouldn’t want that?

“I always thought the ‘find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ thing was nonsense,” shares Amelia. “But, honestly, since I’ve found this career there has not been a day that I’ve thought ‘man I just can’t wait for this day to end.’ I truly love my job and feel so blessed to be living my plan B every day.”

Want more tips and inspiration?Join the dream movement today — we’ve got just the resources to help support and guide you along any dream pursuit!

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Related Topics: Community , Passions , Personal Development , Family , Career