You’d be hard pressed to find a person who hasn’t been asked this at least once in their life. You may even be thinking back to what your answer was as a child after reading that question. Or maybe you’re one of the many who still doesn’t know what you want to be when you grow up. In fact, the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career.
Our oldest son has said everything from a ‘fisherman’ to a pirate to an ‘outerspace man’ in the few years we’ve been asking him. For most, the career we end up in as an adult is not the career we dreamed of as a 5-year-old. Which leads me to wonder, does a child’s passion to become that fisherman or outer space man truly change, or are they pressured into a career that is deemed more ‘normal’ or stable?
When I was around 5 years old, I remember my response to adults who asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up – a doctor, a nurse, or a cashier a Publix. Then in 4th grade, it changed. I told everyone who asked me that same question that when I grew up I just wanted to help people. I didn’t, however, have a real clear vision of what that would look like. I went on to finish school and obtained my college degree. But as a freshman in college trying to choose my major, I found myself completely at a loss for what I wanted to do with my life, and I don’t think I was alone in that feeling.
Is it fair to ask an 18-year-old what they want to be for the next 30-40 years? I had lost sight of my vision to help people and chose a ‘safe’ major in Marketing. I figured that would open up a lot of doors from sales to advertising and everything in between. Even if I chose a career path that wasn’t in the marketing realm, I figured I could still use what I learned in school to market myself in whatever I career I chose.
NOT EXACTLY MY DREAM JOB
Sure enough, I found a job in sales – the door to door, pounding the pavement kind of sales, in the dead of summer in central Florida where I had to wear a suit all day. To say I was miserable was an understatement. I think I changed jobs 3 times before I landed an internship at a Public Relations company and worked my way up to being an account manager. But I quickly realized that sitting behind a desk from 8-5 wasn’t making me want to jump out of bed every morning.
I felt lost.
I found my way back to the gym that I had neglected since high school and started investing in myself to become healthier. My renewed zest for life was showing and others were asking me what I was doing. So I started helping them – working out with them, helping them program workouts, and I felt lit up from the inside. My parents and husband both started encouraging me to follow this new passion I had, and my parents reminded me that from the time I was in 4th grade, all I wanted to do was help people – just as I was doing.
….This was my chance.
TAKING THE LEAP
Leaving a salaried career in PR with all the benefits was scary. It was a huge leap to completely change careers to a field that doesn’t typically offer any benefits, but I did it. And I haven’t looked back, fulfilling my childhood dream to help others daily. As our children continue to grow, don’t let them lose site of their dreams. Too often society has a way of stifling our vision. No matter how crazy a dream may seem to others, find a way to channel that inner child and go after what truly sets your soul on fire. It’s never too late to do what you’ve always dreamed of doing.
Scary? Sure. Impossible? Doubtful.