What’s next after “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Remember the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? This question alone might bring up heightened emotions for many. Why? Because you are grown up and might not be sure if you have chosen the right path, or where you want to go from here.

Oh, the reminisce of reflecting back to your childhood, where your dreams and imagination ran wild. Back then there was inspiration from your personal hero, those you looked up to the most… perhaps even your favorite cartoon character.

Now that you are grown up, do you find yourself questioning, is this what success is supposed to look like? Is this what I had envisioned for myself? If not, should I pack my bags, grab my family and fur babies, and head somewhere far away?

Whether you are someone who followed your childhood career dream or journeyed down a different path, you might be currently questioning if you are in a role that is truly right for you. If this is the case, let’s first take a step back and ask yourself, what led you to your current role? As a longtime Human Resource leader, along with others I have partnered with have heard the gambit of answers throughout our years.

Here are some of the comments we received:

I chose my career path because…

This was my calling.
– My family encouraged me to pursue this career path.
– I just fell into it.
– I wanted to make money and knew this industry is financially rewarding.
– Passion.
– Figured I would be good at it, and here I am today!
– Promotion after promotion led me here, so here I am!

Are any of these resonating with you?

As someone who is a high performer, with strong integrity, who strives to be a great leader, and deliver successful results, you have a natural tendency to place expectations upon yourself. These expectations become the suit you put on every day. The stuff going on underneath the suit gets hidden.

While this is a great suit to wear, let’s look at what’s going on underneath. Is your heart trying to lead you to a different path? Are the “career guides” ringing your inner doorbell screaming, “get out while you can?” Perhaps you’re questioning how your current industry or organization aligns with your core values.

If you are finding yourself in the crossfire of the “what’s next for me,” you are not alone, nor do you need to figure it out by yourself. Additionally, if you do not find ways to discover what lies beneath that suit, the emotions burning inside you will eventually be exposed.

So, what’s next… Let us introduce you to the 3 C’s: Curiosity. Clarity. Courage.

What does this look like for you?
Curiosity: Ask yourself questions that will provide you with some depth. Spend some time being curious about who you really are, and what you really want.

  1. What matters most to me?
  2. What do I want to see in my future?
  3. What makes me feel uncomfortable about my current situation?

Clarity: Get clear on where you currently sit and where you want to be.

  1. What are the benefits and challenges of my current position?
  2. What are the pros and cons of my future vision?
  3. Why do I not feel fulfilled?

Courage: What things are you willing to shift or change to have what you truly desire? Use your voice and move forward into action.

  1. How will I influence what I want?
  2. What am I willing to let go, to gain _?
  3. What will I do to show courage?

Once you have made these discoveries, you will have the power to take action.

“Clarity has purpose and strength and brings with it the undeniable ability to move forthwith into our chosen direction” ~Unknown

Natalie Iannone