What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

When I was little I wanted to be a vet who drove a Corvette who lived in Las Vegas who owned a pug.

Eventually I wanted to be a NASCAR driver, mostly so I could fall in love with my crush at the time, Jeff Gordon. I also wanted to be in the FBI. Needless to say none of those worked out. I’m still a little bitter about the whole Jeff Gordon thing, but turns out he’s kind of a loser and clearly I dodged a bullet.

We all wanted to be something when we grew up whether it was a NASCAR driver or a princess or a firefighter. We aspired to be something. Maybe you’re exactly what you thought you would be. Maybe you knew right from the start what you were going to be and ever since then you’ve been working towards it.

I applaud you.

But maybe you’re sitting at your job wishing you were something else. Maybe you’re looking at your life wondering if this is all you’re ever going to accomplish. Maybe you feel like the best is yet to come or maybe you’re nervous because you fear the best has already passed by you. Maybe you feel a little bitter or disillusioned because life didn’t turn out the way you planned. Maybe you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. Maybe you see what you would like to be in the distance but it feels so far away and you’re not sure where to start.

I think the best way for us to figure out who we want to be is to start with who we were.

When we’re kids we are the most raw and truest versions of ourselves. The world hasn’t beaten us down or inflated our egos. We’re not afraid to dance without music and we’re still able to use our imagination. I think the very thing we’re longing to do with our futures is buried somewhere deep within our past.

Ask your family or childhood friends what you were like when you were little. What stood out to them? What came naturally to you? What made you excited or caused you to giggle? What made your eyes sparkle?

Then I want you to be very brave. I want you to get really quiet and be very still. Close your eyes tight and try to remember. I want you to remember what I like to call your found moments.

It’s those moments when you find yourself saying, “Oh, there you are.”

Those are the times and places when you were being exactly who you were created to be. It’s the time when everything clicks into place. The memories that are so vividly etched into your brain you couldn’t forget them if you tried. It’s those brief glimpses when you simply find yourself. You sneak up and surprise yourself and you say, “Oh, there you are Hannah.”

So when you see who you were and remember who you are you’re probably going to discover who you’re going to be.

And then I’m going to need you to be very brave and do something crazy.

I’m going to need you to go do it.

Calling is simply the intersection of being and doing.

People make calling so complicated. They make it sound like it’s for the elite and the elect. Those people are jerks who want to keep you out of their inner sanctum because they’re competitive and selfish. No, calling is nothing more than a combination of being and doing. By remembering who you were you’re uncovering the being aspect of calling. And then you must be brave and go do the damn thing.

Say you discover you’re supposed to be a writer.

Then you’re going to need to write.

Or maybe you’re supposed to be a chef.

You’re going to have to cook.

People want to look to the future to validate their dreams. They want a blank schedule and a big bank account. They think you have to earn a bunch of degrees or have 2.5 kids before you can finally start pursuing your dreams.

So you want to own a business? Open an Etsy shop. Now you’re a business owner. You want to be a photographer? Take some pictures. Now you’re a photographer. It’s just that simple. You don’t need anything else other than the simple collision of being and doing. You were made to go create something. You were made in the image of a creative God who got His hands dirty. By His very nature He’s the ultimate authority on creativity and creation.

By your very nature you were created to create. 

The only permission you need to go make something is your existence. That’s the only validation you need. You’re a human and one of the hallmarks of humanity is an insatiable desire for imagination and creativity.

Look backwards to find your being. Look around you to find your doing. Then look forwards and go do it.

You don’t have to get paid for it. In fact, I recommend you don’t. I say do it because you can’t not do it. Do it because on your best days it’s all you want to do. Do it because on your worst days it’s all you know how to do.

The bravest thing we can do is put pen to paper. Spatula to pan. Fingers to keyboard. Idea into investment. We have to be brave because there’s the looming possibility that we could try very hard and fail. But the only thing that makes someone a successful writer is showing up and writing. The only thing that makes someone a successful friend is showing up and loving.

You just have to show up. What do you want to be? Go be it. What do you want to do? Go do it. You don’t have to be the best because simply by doing the damn thing you’re already more successful than 75% of the population.

Your existence mandates you create something. And if it doesn’t scare you a little bit then maybe it’s not worth trying.

“Decide what to be and go be it.”