While the twins and I were driving in the car yesterday, we somehow got on the topic of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Clara has such a tender heart and loves animals of all shapes and sizes. Avery is incredibly creative and loves painting, writing, singing, dancing…any activity that’s expressive.
My first instinct was to offer typical career choices.
I told Clara she’d be a great veterinarian; and I told Avery she’d make a tremendous art teacher. As the ideas came out of my mouth, though, I felt like I had closed them into such small boxes. Those don’t have to be their only choices, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to those ideas.
I tried to quickly recall my message – like you do with an email that’s sent to the wrong person – and told them that those were just a few ideas, and they could explore lots of options.
That’s when the exciting ideas came. Clara imagined she could have a dog-sitting service or train animals to help people in need. Avery decided she could own a craft store or become a famous singer that inspires people. The conversation was not only more productive, but also more joyful.
After this experience, I realized that instead of asking my kids what they want to be when they grow up, I should just ask what makes them happy.
Sounds simple enough. But once they’ve figured this out, it can then be my job to help them remember, help them hold on to this passion, and encourage them to explore ways to use their gifts to make the world a better place.
It’s totally okay if their personal mission doesn’t line up with existing jobs. Many jobs are becoming extinct – and new ones are being created every day.
If you need a boost in your own career choices or development, think back to when you were 10 years old. What did you love more than anything? Are you doing it today – if not in your career, at least in your hobbies? Figuring this out is a miraculous first step to being joyful – and feeling purposeful.
If you need an even bigger boost, check out this inspirational presentation by Casey Gerald. My inspiring friend, Mary Eliff, recently shared this with me. It was part of a Creative Mornings lecture series, and has been one (if not the only) speech to receive a standing ovation with this group.
Hopefully it will make you feel inspired. If so, be sure to pass it on. The world needs more inspired people.
Have an incredibly productive day.