When I was little I was dumbfounded by the question teachers asked us at the beginning of every year through about third grade: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Really? I remember wondering, We have a choice? Is it that easy? And the choices offered — fireman, doctor, teacher, secretary — sounded so … wrong to me. Not wrong, exactly. Incomplete. Not ME. Is that all there is? I wondered, I have to choose one of those? I have to know now? I admired the kids who were certain about what they wanted, but I always thought that, for me, there would be more. Something wonderful. Something so awesome, so magical, maybe, that nobody had even thought of it yet.
You, too? You can have that. We all can. There’s really only one secret.
Doing what lights you up. Doing what feels worthwhile. Being useful. A contribution to humanity, or at least to a few individuals within our collective mass. We want our lives to be meaningful. That’s what makes us happy. Look! Even Forbes says so (The Ten Happiest Jobs — is yours one of them?).
How do we get there when we feel stuck where we are? Most of my life, I took steps and made choices that made sense at the time. That were in front of me. I’ve encouraged my kids to dream big about their lives but I didn’t give myself the same freedom. Why? Scary! The Big World out there, so vast. So many choices!
That’s when you break it down.
Karen Walrond from Chookooloonks wrote an awesome post a couple of years ago where she detailed her process of finding out what she wanted to do in the world. I highly recommend it. A brief paraphrase:
1. List everything you love.
2. Find the common themes.
3. Stop worrying whether it’s possible.
4. Open to having it all. Yes, you can.
Seldom do we get the opportunity for do-overs in life. But we can make real changes that will make us happier. What would you change if you could? And now that you’ve thought of that, what’s stopping you from doing it?