What do you want to be when you grow up?

There was a time (long, long ago) when the decision to pursue a job or a career was a commitment for life.  The focus was to get a good position, work hard, save money, and retire; hopefully all within the same company.  Nowadays that is not the norm.  Today,  people typically change careers or jobs every few years, driven to achieve the most possible growth, opportunity, and flexibility.

My objective has certainly changed over the years.  When I originally started studying psychology, I thought my path was simple: I’d do research and teach.  Once I graduated, however, I took a position as a counselor supporting teens.  From there I moved into business management, which led me to create my own company.  When I decided to start the company, I was already in my early thirties and still asking the question “What do I want to be when I grow up?”  It was so odd, since I’d spent nearly a decade in school and I was still clueless about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Fast forward another decade and the question has popped up yet again. This time the question is not related to a desire for a career change, but to considering new opportunities and areas for growth.  I can’t help but wonder: will I continue to ask myself this question every ten years?

This question is just as relevant for business owners.  It is important for businesses to refresh their brand and constantly reinvent themselves to stay current and relevant in the marketplace.  I’m in awe of businesses that have survived for many generations and numerous decades.  It seems that such longevity is attributable to maintaining a stable core of the business (or individual) and yet having an awareness of the environment and current market needs, and a willingness to embrace change.

So how do you answer the question(s) “What do I want to be when I grow up?” and/or “How do I reinvent myself or my business?”? The answer lies in your purpose, which leads to yet another question: “What is my purpose in life?” — as if that’s an easier question to answer!  I have a formula that will help you answer that question by exploring who you are, in order to discover your purpose and the areas that will provide the most fulfillment for you.  There are three main components to who we are:  personality, strengths, and values.  The intersection between these three (in a Venn diagram, for example) is the sweet spot.  This represents your purpose and it’s actually quite simple — if you can identify your personality, strengths, and values.  You can access additional information on each of these components for free on my website at www.SurpassYourGoals.com/worksheets.

The next time you begin to wonder what you want to be when you grow up, rephrase the question into “What is my purpose?” The thoughts that give you big ideas and fleeting dreams, those moments of clarity — those are what you’re looking for!  Go with it!



About the author

Robin Lavitch, MA, CPC, is the founder of Surpass Your Goals, a coaching practice for entrepreneurs, executives, tweens, school administrators, and more. Her capacity to connect with audiences, elicit thought-provoking ideas and clarify personal ambitions prepares people to apply that knowledge instantaneously to accelerate their own results in leadership, sales, and time management.