Home » What to Be When You Grow Up (hint: follow your passions)

What to Be When You Grow Up (hint: follow your passions)

It’s been a rather restless day at the place I’m contracting at right now. A restless mind, trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. That’s a good question…which path should we follow? That’s easy…follow the path that’s right for you. Finding the right path however is the tough part. Just what IS the right path?

I’m reminded of a snowboarding trip I was on with a few friends…some from school and some from my post-school days (which there are now many of). I happened to make a comment of “who knows what I’ll be when I grow up” and one of my CMU (Carnegie Mellon Univ) friends started talking about how he thought he should go into a certain profession because of the schooling we had. This brought up some good conversation because I too at one point felt the same way. At one point right after school, I figured I was supposed to work for only one of the top companies in the world. I mean, isn’t that why I spent all that money to go to one of the best schools in the nation? I als had the nagging voice in the back of my head telling me “you don’t want to appear to be a slacker or disappoint anyone”.

Years have passed and I have worked a wide variety of positions in an even wider variety of organizational types. Some were done out of necessity, some were done out of pure passion. The ones that made me happiest of course were the passion plays. As I continue to grow and follow my passions however I find myself moving further and further away from what my schooling provided for me. What I ultimately end up doing may have nothing to do with the degree I earned, thus leaving some people to wonder why I bothered in the first place.

It’s not a lost cause though. I know I learned a lot at CMU…not just about what was taught in the classroom but other things in life. Being surrounded by the brightest people and immersing yourself in work year after year. Life was easy compared to CMU. It also had me feeling confident to go off and co-found a couple companies. As I go off on my own, I find myself becoming more independent and I find myself wanting to pursue even more passions. I want to write more. Create more visually (video, photography, etc). I want to travel and experience the world and bring it back (with both written word and visually) to others and share what the world has to offer. I don’t believe I was designed to be a desk jockey. I’m good at it, but I’m good at a lot of things. We are all best at whatever our passions are though. We get excited when thinking about our passion. We want to learn more about the material. We want to expand our expertise and we want to experience more.

What will I be when I grow up? I don’t know. I have some ideas, but I find this question rather liberating. Instead of feeling as if you must become an engineer because you’re good at math, a doctor because it’s expected of you, or an HR Administrator because that’s what you went to school for, be happy and explore your true talents, your true passions no matter what field they lie in. You may surprise yourself, and others, as you “grow up” and become what you’re supposed to be (according to the universe, not your guidance counselor).