What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Jesus, speaking to Peter one on one:

“I assure you: when you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, “Follow Me!”

So Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them… When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”

“If I want him to remain until I come,” Jesus answered, “what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.”

(John 21:18-22)

This is where I want to start in discussing this subject of ‘what I want to do’: nobody else can walk your path, and you can’t walk anyone else’s.

“…what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

A quote from Emerson reads:

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion.”

Whatever you say to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I believe that effectively executing that takes courage, faith, and focus. Courage, because only you can walk your path, and maybe not everyone will understand it. Faith, because you may need to take action without having complete understanding; because sometimes it is necessary to make a decision even when the perfect answer isn’t obvious. Focus, because you will be tempted to envy others, or slack when you should be working, or quit too soon. Focus because, as Nick Offerman/Ron Swanson said, “It’s better to whole-ass one thing than to half-ass two things.” Speaking as somebody who has been prone to the latter, I believe that it’s good to try different things, but better to go all in and master one thing at a time. As TD Jakes says, “Even if that’s not the thing, it might be the thing that leads to thing.” You’re not going to find that out by half-assing it.

If you’re just not sure, then focus less on perfection in decision and aim for perfection in execution. Perfection in execution generally outweighs perfection in decision.

Another thing about deciding what you want to do, there is often a difference between the subject you’re interested in and what you would actually be doing everyday if you pursued it as a career. That is really freakin’ important, read it again. In ‘The E-Myth’, Michael Gerber tells the story of a lady who loved baking pies, so she opened up shop, and was soon losing her mind trying to handle all of the business stuff. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. The general subject that you like is a ‘destination’, but you’re going to spend more time climbing than you are standing at the summit, so if you want to execute on a personal interest, then find find a ‘climb’, a ‘process’ that you love. If only for the sake of making an actionable decision, stop focusing on a summit that you would love, and start focusing on a climb that do you love.

That’s my advice for actually being what you want to be when you grow up: find a climb that you love. Yes, absolutely, have a higher purpose, a vision, because that is absolutely necessary, but find a process that you love. One of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s theme’s is “clouds and dirt.” He’s talking vision and execution.  So, in the grit of decision-making, have a passion on the front end, and remember that the process itself, the commitment, may lead to a passion. Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe has said, “Passion is way to important a thing to live without, but it is way to fickle a thing to follow.” Again, in the realm of jobs and careers, perfection in execution generally outweighs perfection in decision.

See Also:

Which Way Should I Go?

Actionable Self-Awareness

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