What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Today’s post will take us down memory lane and challenge us to think about who we really want to be in life.   

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

We’ve all been asked this age-old question, most likely inside of an elementary school classroom while introducing one of your parents to speak to your classmates for “Career Day”. (Luckily my dad designed jets, so I always had an interesting guest to bring along.) When asked this question over the years, my responses included whimsical things such as a fairytale princess, a ballerina or a high-fashion model until I ultimately realized that a 5’2 girl like me with an imagination the size of Texas was destined for a career in marketing and public relations.

Flash forward several years later, I am still in love with my career choice (although certainly not grown-up!) However, there is something about our culture and society that irks me. You see, I think we have been asking the wrong question all along. While I take pride in my job, it is just one of the many things that define who I am. I believe we should be asking not “What”, but “Who do you want to be when you grow up?

If I had been asked that question, perhaps my response would have been vastly different, with hopes and aspirations of being the best daughter, wife, mother, friend, pet owner, volunteer and colleague that I could possibly be. Here are a few tips to help you reconnect with the “who” we all want to be:

  1. Be a good person. It’s a simple as The Golden Rule. I am a big believer in karma and in not burning bridges. While your career or personal life might be thriving today, tomorrow could be a different story. By treating others with respect and kindness, you open up the doors to many new opportunities in life that you would have otherwise been unaware of.
  2. Be passionate. It is so important to have things in life that motivate and inspire you. Whether it’s the corner office or the coveted title of “Home Room Mother”, it doesn’t matter as long as you are passionate about your goals. If you don’t have an interest in what you are doing, you will ultimately run out of steam and possibly have a mid-life crisis.
  3. Be smart. The most successful people in life are those who continue learning and never allow themselves to believe they have reached their full potential. No matter where you are in your lifecycle, there is always more to be learned. Take a cooking class, travel around the world, learn to play a musical instrument, mentor children, visit the elderly…just do something
  4. Be real. By allowing yourself to trust your instincts, you become both vulnerable and empowered. Don’t embark on a career, relationship or any major life decision if you are simply “going with the flow” or following in anyone else’s footsteps, especially not if you are fulfilling someone else’s vision for you. Life is certainly not a “one-size-fits-all” piece of clothing.
  5. Be yourself! Take a look around. We all come in different shapes and sizes, with our own backgrounds and experiences. Quite frankly, it would be so boring if we were all the same! Embrace who you are, good and bad. A wise person once said there will always be someone who is better off than you are and someone who is worse off. Comparing yourself to anyone else is not only a waste of time, but is a huge roadblock in becoming the person you want to be and living the life you want to live.

So I encourage you to take a trip down memory lane and recall what you wanted to be when you grew up. Flash forward to this very moment, are you who do you what to be today? The good news is that if you aren’t, there is still plenty of time and getting there is easier than you think. Start by treating people with respect, finding and following your passion, continue learning, be genuine and above all, be you! No matter what the answer to the question is, if your answer makes you happy, then you have successfully fulfilled your childhood dreams!

The author, Cheryl Rhody, has an appetite for ambition, a vivid imagination and an enthusiasm for public relations, marketing, digital media and ultimately brand amplification.  You can connect with her on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter.

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