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What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

Man, people have been asking you that since you were three, haven’t they?Well, let me be the one to break it to you—they won’t ever stop. Sure the question will sound different at different times in your life. Where do you want to work? Where do you see yourself in five years? What’s your life plan? But they all really mean the same thing, don’t they?

You would think that having been asked that question since you were three, you’d be pretty good at answering it by now. But I ask people that question a lot, and you know what I’ve found? There are an amazing number of really talented, really successful, really articulate people out there who can’t answer it at all. And not being able to answer that question is tragic because it’s the first line of the story of who you are and what you want to accomplish in the world.

Right now, like a lot of people of people out there, I’ll bet you can’t say what you want to be when you grow up. But what matters to you, what you want to accomplish with your life is all tied up in that question. That’s why answering it is something you absolutely have to learn how to do.

When you can say what you want, when you find your truth, you are empowered to begin to work toward the life you choose and the difference you want to make in the world.

When you can say what you want, you have the ability to ask for help, to enable your personal network to actively help when you say: here’s where I want to go, can you help me get there?

When you can say what you want, you can move forward with intent, setting goals and celebrating your accomplishments along the way.

I believe that each one of us has a unique array of talents, beliefs, and experiences that positions us for success, for impact, for happiness, if we can just have the clarity to see what they are. I like to say that within each of us is a collection of gifts that makes us different, better, special. And while some people may do a better job of recognizing and articulating those things, they exist within all of us, if we will take the time, do the work, to find our truth.

So how do you do that? You have to learn to tell your story. And the first step in that is to take the time to know yourself.

You have to take a hard, honest look at what you do well, to recognize the exceptional skills that you bring to the table. You have to know what you are really good at, what really differentiates you.

You have to understand the core values that drive your decision-making, the things that guide your actions—the things you actually will do, not just the things you will talk about doing.

You have to embrace what you’re passionate about, what energizes you like nothing else. When you know what makes your heart beat faster, what really lights you up, you can get creative about finding a way to make that part of what you do every day.

Skills. Values. Passion. Every bit of that is inside you right this minute, ready to tell you exactly what you want, if you’ll take the time to listen. And when you do, you’ll be able to tell your story, to get what you want out of life.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It’s time to figure that out.