From an early age we are consistently asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’.
For some people this is an easy question to answer as they have total clarity from an early age. For the rest of us the world is a big wide expanse of possible and seemingly impossible things. Those of us in this category have little idea of what, where or how we see ourselves in the years to come. Sadly, I found myself in the latter category.
Even though I had no idea where I was heading, I was expected to make important decisions about my ‘career’ at an early age. After all, this question ‘What do you want to be?’, really implies ‘Which career path will you be taking?’. For someone not knowing, I found this question to be extremely frustrating.
“For years I continued to ask myself ‘What do I really want to do?”
I was going from one job to another and although I was pretty good at things, I never got any long-lasting satisfaction from the jobs I was in.
After two plus years, when the newness and excitement wore off, my eyes were on the ‘next adventure’, as I liked to call it. My husband liked to say, the grass may be greener on the other side and you just haven’t found the colour grass that suits you yet.
For years I continued to ask myself ‘What do I really want to do?’. It was like an ever persistent question which I never got an answer to, other than… ‘Well you could go travelling’ or ‘Perhaps selling boats would be a good idea’. So I continued to cruise around until there was a big fat bump in the road, otherwise known as ‘a conflict at work’.
I had been through some awful times at work and I was feeling pretty low, confused, hurt and somewhat hard done by. To help ease my troubles, my husband and I went sailing on a beautiful crisp February day. We were talking and I was reflecting on my life and my situation and what I was going to do next, when suddenly out of the blue I changed my usual question ‘What do I want to do’ to ‘But what do I want to be?’!
As soon as that question popped into my head, I knew the answer. I wanted to be ‘wise’. ‘WOW, WISE!, I thought, that’s a tall order!’ In many ways it didn’t answer the original ‘what do you want to do’ question, but somehow the answer made me feel incredibly excited and alive.
‘Now in order for me to be wise, what do I need to do?’ I asked myself. Turns out I had to start learning about people, about life and death and all things in between. I had to start learning about why we do what we do and what we can do about it. I had to start learning about what makes us happy or unhappy and what makes us fulfilled or unfulfilled.
“When things are right, the universe gets together and creates magic in the form of opportunity.”
That was the moment I chose the path to a career as a trainer and coach. At the time I was already in the people business, ie recruitment, and as usually happens in these circumstances, when things are right, the universe gets together and creates magic in the form of opportunity. It is our job to be open to it and see that opportunity when it presents itself and grab it with both hands, be courageous and try to hang on to it for dear life!
I had been trailing the internet looking for jobs, when up popped an advertisement for a job where they needed someone with recruitment and sales experience, English, Dutch and a willingness to learn and travel. It was a job for a trainer and coach with an international recruitment company and the beauty was, I didn’t need any experience as I would be taught on the job! Wow, I could not have wished for a better opportunity, the job fit like a glove. I finally found the colour green that suited me!
In time I found it was indeed the right colour playing field, but I was missing a splash of colour to offset the green! From that moment on my life has sharpened its focus and since then I have run my own sales & recruitment training business before moving on to set up a community for coaches (Coach to Contribute) and my current coaching practice which helps people to live a more meaningful life.
“Only after we have figured out who we want to be, can we truly know what we want to do to make that happen.”
After much reflection I have started to wonder if, instead of asking our children ‘What do you want to be’, we should first ask them ‘Who do you want to be?’, as in, ‘What kind of person do you want to be?’.
Once they know the answer to that question we can ask them ‘What do you need to do to be that?’ After all, only after we have figured out who we want to be, can we truly know what we want to do to make that happen.
A tall order perhaps? Maybe, but I feel one worthy of our consideration.
I now feel very lucky and blessed as I have found my passion in life. I’m finally playing in the right field, with the right shade of green and a splash of colour to offset that most beautiful hue ;-).
I am also happy to report that over the years I have become a little wiser every day. Wise enough to know that I still have an awful lot to learn.
Love. Live. Lead.