What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

by on February 3, 2011

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?When I meet up with family members, old acquaintances or friends that I have not seen in a while, one of the questions I will inevitably be asked is what am I doing at the present time?  After I tell them that I am a life coach working specifically with people facing transition issues at midlife there is a comment that follows I have heard on more than one occasion.  I’ve been told “So you help people to decide what they want to be when they grow up”?  This has never been said to me maliciously.  In fact on the occasions I have heard it those who have said it actually have been quite playful in their making the comment, and have admitted to me that frankly that is something they have not completely yet figured out.  In spite of having either had successful careers, or raising their family and seen their children move on into their own lives as adults, there is still something out there that they have not yet obtained out of their life.

While some may find that sad, I actually feel it is a good way to go about your life.  Those who come to midlife facing the question “What do I want to be or do when I grow up,” and are interested in pursuing the answer, open themselves up to an adventurous experience.  Perhaps there were dreams back in childhood or adolescence that went unfulfilled.  Many years ago a decision may have had to been made to pursue a career path or sacrifice ones own desires for the benefit of one’s family.  However, if you have been blessed with the fact that you have met your obligations to others in your life, and now have time to explore your own desires, what is holding you back from pursuing them?

While there is no one blueprint that is right for every person to follow when moving onto something new in their life, there are certainly certain characteristics common to most individuals who succeed in taking on new challenges.  These characteristics include:

•    An emotional attitude that looks at the experience they are about to undertake with positive emotional energy.  Whether that energy manifests itself in completely dedicating themselves to showing concern for others, or looking for opportunities where both they and all others involved have a successful outcome the focus is always on the positive.

•    A willingness to embrace change and accept new ways.   Those who are good at doing this are focused on enjoying the experiences they are having as opposed to being so invested in just the outcome.

•    Being passionate about the tasks or steps they are undertaking.  So many times in our younger life we did things or made choices based on the influence of others or by sacrificing what we wanted for the betterment of those for whom we had responsibility.  While we may still have some obligations, take the time to determine if our obligation is out of habit or necessity.  Have our children grown to the point that they can truly take on more accountability for themselves?  How much attention does that parent we’re concerned about truly need of our time?  Are we sacrificing what may make us happy to exclusively attend to our spouse’s needs?  If you do have a passion to be involved in an activity, what steps will help to fulfill that passion for you?

•    Having the determination to continue with our new challenge or passion even when we face setbacks.  When we’re pursuing something new or even something which we have not done for quite some time, not everything may go as we envisioned.  However, if the love of our new activities still hold a desire for us, take a step back, evaluate and determine how to keep that activity and the experience of doing it enjoyable to us.

In addition realize that there may be more than one new thing we want to take on in our life.  Sometimes we’ll want to do multiple new things at once.  Others are more comfortable taking on one new thing at a time, and becoming comfortable with it before pursuing another new activity.  The choice is yours.

Above all, realize that there is nothing wrong with always having the question in your life “What do I want to be when I grow up”?  While you may have always been of the impression that it was a sign of immaturity not to know, realize there are other perspectives and answers to the question.  Those who are fortunate enough to have successfully enjoyed multiple passions in their life have learned to continually search for the answer to this question is a way to continually stay active, enjoy new experiences and realize that they don’t have to just settle for a finite set of day to day existences as the way they define their life.

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