Generally 30-plus year-olds’ answer to this question is no longer, “A fireman, NFL player, Professional Dancer, or Mountain Climber.” No, typically mid-life folks answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with another question: “Shouldn’t I be past this?!

Today’s languishing economy forces the continued quest for better work, more secure and/or profitable work, or simply the quest for a job. While this often feels problematic for those in this current workforce, it could be worse.

Consider the workforce generations surrounding the Great Depression compared to now. People then were forced to leave their “professions” – but fortunately, today we think less of our work as a profession we are tied to for life. Today it is the norm to switch careers multiple times before hitting age 30. Change is seen as a way of life. The ability to adapt to change is often seen as the criterion that sets people up for success as they navigate their careers.

Career Choices Abound as a Way of Life

So facing issues related to the work people really want to do seem to be a very normal fabric of our society. Each week I encounter people wrestling with questions about their next best career moves. I hear people eagerly initiating conversations centered on strategic business building steps to grow their business.

Here are 4 coaching tips to guide you if you face the internal (and often haunting) question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” – regardless of your age!

1. Passion over Position – What aspects of certain work stirs your heart’s emotions and drives up your energy levels? I’m not talking about a position or title. What parts can you articulate of certain work you have done or that you think would be great to be a part of? Those passions are things to look for in whatever work you seek or do.

2. Pursue Personal Springboards – How can you tweek your current (or past) work into a springboard for future opportunities? What can you be capturing now to build your personal portfolio that may help you demonstrate the value you can bring to an organization in the future?

3. Attitude Brings Latitude – How can you find contentment in whatever space (whether mentally or physically) you are at currently? What is a positive spin you can put on 3 things today in your work life (or quest for work)? Attitudes are infectious. Develop your ability to find and focus on positives – even when the poison of the negatives appear much more readily! Become the positive mindset that employers want to infect their workforce.

4. Navigate the Networking Niche – There is great value in asking those you value, “Who do you know that you think I’d like to know as I … [grow my business, look for work, etc.]? Good-willed people enjoy connecting people. Who do you know and respect in some capacity that you can connect with about whom they can introduce you to? Make those conversations occur.

In today’s economy and in our current generations, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is one that is cyclically answered throughout life! Change is a constant; adaptability and learning agility are a must.

By Dr. Heidi Scott   – The Leader’s Consultant, Speaker, Trainer & Coach  http://www.LearningPursuits.com

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