What do you want to be when you grow up? The standard elementary school question makes us think about the future so that we can start working toward our career goals.
But why all the emphasis on what we want to be? Wouldn’t we be better off considering who we want to spend our days with, how we want to impact our community, where we want to live, and why we want one job more than another?
I recently read an article in the New York Times calling for a new definition of success – one that focuses less on tangible things like money and fame – and places more emphasis on things like personal satisfaction and enjoyment. The author believes we need a new vocabulary for the way we talk about accomplishment, and says that “we should have an expression that captures the level of success you’ve achieved when you do exactly what you love every day.”
Would rounding out ‘what we are’ with information about ‘who we are,’ ‘where we are,’ and ‘how we are’ help create a more well-rounded definition of success? It seems to me that you’re already successful if you’re doing what you love and remaining true to your values.
Maybe we’re not all going to end up astronauts or CEOs or surgeons, but we just might find ourselves working on enjoyable projects or pursuing something meaningful – and isn’t that a success in its own right?