What do you want to be when you grow up? No, you’re not too old to ask.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already what is technically a grown-up. But I still think this is a great question.
I spend a good deal of my time as a potentialist talking to people about their ambitions. I get to ask the question many people haven’t heard since they were a little kid. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It doesn’t matter if someone is five or fifty; everyone never stops exploring this question. Here’s what I find fascinating. The five-year-olds seem to embrace this question with possibility and excitement. They innately understand that there are no wrong answers. I’ve never heard a five-year-old talk to their fear of failure. They have this air of confidence and certainty that I want to bottle up and spray on myself regularly like perfume. They live in a world of the possible future where anything could happen. What’s also become quickly apparent is they understand that they are the ones who are going to make their future happen. With a sense of personal agency at their core, powered by confidence in the possible future, they believe their dream will come true. It’s quite intoxicating.
Imagine for a second you thought about your future with the attitude and possibility of a five-year-old. And before you start telling me all the reasons why you can’t manifest this future or how it’s impractical, I want you to ponder these questions.
1. Is who you want to be possible if you had all the tools and resources (time, money, information) you need? – I have a friend whose dream once was to be a Rockette. The minimum height requirement is 5’6″. I think she’s 5’2″, maybe 5’3″ – aside from bone lengthening surgery, a future as a Rockette was not in her cards, now taking my five-year-old possibility mind approach to this dream? Could she make money tap dancing, even at fifty-something. Yes. It is possible.
2. Do you have people in your network who are professionally ambitious for you? – this, I think, is the magic ingredient our five-year-old friend has that we grown-ups often don’t. When we’re little, we’re surrounded by people who want nothing but the best for us. Call them Mom, Dad, or Auntie Jo Jo – you have a veritable team of people who not only say “Yes absolutely!” to your dreams but often are there to help you figure out how to manifest them. What’s magic about a five-year-old is that knowing HOW you can help them is relatively easy. Do you want to be a Rockette? Easy, let’s sign you up for dance classes.
I know; I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you’re not five. I also know that answering the “What do I want to be when I grow up?” is a hard enough question as it is. I can almost hear the conversations in your head. What if? How? Could I? Perhaps? I wish I could? What will they say? What if I fail? Will I be judged?
But here’s what the five-year-olds do that I’m guessing you’re not doing. They’re sharing their dreams, however crazy, with other people. Specifically with people who are curious and excited about their plans. People who are equally, if not more so, ambitious for them.
Do you have anyone in your life who’s more ambitious for you than you are? Do you have people who recognize your potential and can see where it could lead you?
I do. I call them my squad. They are my Ambition Guides.
I think we all should have them. And no, I’m not talking about mentors. Mentors advise you based on their experience and their path. A mentor’s insights into the past are helpful but can’t often help you create a new future. Ambition guides are all about the Future You and are there to thwart the inner critic’s voice. Like co-inventors of the brilliant product of you, they bring ideas and knowledge about market dynamics, emerging trends, and pathways to possibility.
Want to learn how to build your own squad of Ambition Guides? If you’re reading this before February 12th, 2021, join the virtual audience live as we talk about this very topic. You can re-watch the show on my YouTube channel here.
I get it. Just thinking about your ambitions and what you could be is a difficult question. I know we live in a world where the “look what epic thing I just did” is the measure of success, so if your dream isn’t epic, then it must be wrong.
Just not true. It’s your dream. A dream powered by your experience and your potential.
See what I did there? I was ambitious for you. You might not believe me right now, but I’m guessing your “is it possible?” quotient ticked up just a couple of notches. Am I right?
Ambition Guides. We have them when we’re five. We need them when we’re grown-ups. So go find yourself one.