What do I want to be when I grow up? It’s that age old question we all ask at all stages of life. And the answer changes as we go through the years. What was vital in our twenties changes as we progress into our forties. Don’t believe me, ask a forty year old if they have the same answer to that question as they did when they were twenty.
This quote is almost one hundred years old, and yet it reminds us that “finding our place” is not so much about logistics as it is being fulfilled in our work. Notice I said work and not our job…the two are different. If we are fortunate our job helps us feel fulfillment in our work. If we do not see that connection, if we are grinding it out in a job chances are we are doing that we fulfill a greater purpose – pay for school, put food on the table, take care of our family, learn enough to move into a better position – all of which eventually helps us find our place.
Our place? It doesn’t mean just a location or job, it means where our skills, talents and energy are utilized to bring out our best and that of the people with which we interact. Some of us find that through employment, others through community service, and still others find it in what they do after hours. Some find it in family, friends, service, or action. Others find it in writing, creating, building, renewing, or even in revamping a worn out process. There are layers to our place – different things fulfill different personal and professional needs – and the layers combine to make us who we are each day. When we feel disconnected or discontent it usually means an area or areas are out of whack and need some attention.
Whether we have found our place and need to spruce it up a bit, or if we are still looking for it, both require that we pay attention and tend to our own needs. Knowing means thinking, investing the time to evaluate where we are and what we want. Time changes things, circumstances change our perspective, and the importance of elements in our lives rearrange as life progresses. We can only know what we want to be when we grow up through introspection and refinement. What worked when we were twenty is not the same as what works in our forties. Invest in your life and finding your place by giving yourself the gift of focus. Focus on you and believe that what you want is important enough to act on it.