We've been asking the wrong question most of our lives. Our parents and guardians have asked us the wrong question. We're asking our kids and the next generation the wrong question. For the first two decades of our American lives, we've been lied to and cheated out of a brilliant future. We need to stop asking: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Yes, that's right. this age-old question posits the idea that we can be whatever we want to be. You've probably been told that, too! "You can be whatever you want to be." Well, yes you can. You may not be any good at it, but you can be that. You may not ever get hired to do it, but you can be that. You may not get paid enough to live, but yes, you can be whatever you want to be.
That's the problem. You can't really be whomever and whatever you want to be. You can only be the best of who you already are. We should not merely aim to be what we want to be when we grow up, rather we should aim to be what we are capable of being.
"What do you want to be when you grow up" AND "What are you capable of being?" We NEED to be asking this second question in some way. Here at Collegiate Empowerment, we use the term Core Genius: the natural talents for creating value and results. It shifts the conversation, and frankly, the entire direction of one's future.
Perhaps you've heard the phrase, "Do what you love and the money will follow." I must sneeze bull$#!+ on this one. How many people do you personally know that do what they love and they are broke as hell?! Money does not follow passion; money follows Genius.
I am a New York Giants football fan (every four years). The current quarterback, Eli Manning, has one of the most passion-less faces on the field during every game. You couldn't tell that he loves the game. BUT, he Did somehow make it to the NFL and win two Super Bowl games. Why does he play on the team? Two Super Bowl rings. He achieves the goal. In fact, every few years in his career he is a Genius. (All the other years he is a interception genius.) And compared to the average person like me, he is a Genius quarterback. They pay him because he's good--not because he loooves the game so much.
Passion only adds to Genius and it can be a multiplier for your Genius, but it is not the end all be all. Do what you're good at AND do what you love AND do what's meaningful to you AND do something where you are appreciated in your workplace environment AND make sure you have a life outside work AND ALSO follow the money (what will the world will pay you for). Yes, it's a run-on sentence. Forgive me; my Genius is not writing. ;)
What are are YOU capable of being and how does that Genius align with what you want to be when you grow up?