What do you want to be when you grow up?

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It’s a trick question.

Sure, back in the good ‘ol days when people worked for the same company in the same career for their entire life, it maybe made sense to ask someone what they are going to “be”. But that doesn’t mean it was ok then, and a little bit of me dies inside when someone asks it of my kids.

By asking this question, you are narrowing down an entire universe of possibilities to one, not to mention implying that there is a point when you are “grown-up”, which, I can attest (I’m over 40 after all), is patently false.

I can think of so many better questions to ask:

  • What do you want to be better at?
  • What do you want to be really good at doing?
  • If you were the main character in a new book or movie, what would your story be?
  • What are you thinking about now?
  • What do think you can do that would help other people?
  • Tell me about some things you want/don’t want to be.
  • How do you want people to remember you?

Questions are important. Are you asking the right ones?

Comments welcome!

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