I. HOW WOULD THE WORLD? HOW TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU "GROW UP" BY ADAM "W AND CHRISTINE )ESI(E hat do you want to be when you grow up?" It was the most important question anyone could ask you when you were a kid. And, if you were like most kids, your answer probably changed on a regular basis. In fourth grade, you saw yourself as the fun, cool, smart (and lax) teacher. You knew you would educate children, inspiring them so profoundly that at your retirement party, there would be three former presidents, an NFL quarterback and Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. In seventh grade, you had matured. You would definitely be a cop. You knew this because you watched COPS, and it was pretty cool to carry a Maglite and a taser. Obviously, you were meant to drive a beat as a 5-0. Or perhaps you carried big childhood dreams of playing football or figure skating professionally, only to find your body didn't cooperate. Or you wanted to deliver food to gaunt people in exotic lands, but learning new languagep isn't your thing. "It would be so awesome to get onto Saturday Night Live or Second City:' you thought, but you soon realized your community theater wasn't going to get you there. You had visions of waving your arms on Wall Street, yelling "Buy! Sell!" and driving off in a Porsche, but you struggled with math class or lacked the gene for conniving. Or maybe you've never had a dream. You've never known how to answer that favorite introduction opener, "So, what do you do?" You've heard all your life you could do anything, be anyone, live anywhere and change the world, but you've never had the slightest idea how to go about choosing. There are a few people in the world who love hearing a motivational speaker say, "Just do what you always dreamed of doing." Those people have a dream secure in their pocket and are ready to take off. For most of us, though, trying to visualize what we always dreamed of doing feels like staring at a 75-foot-wide IMAX theater screen that's shut off and blank. But it doesn't have to be that daunting or hopeless. There are some steps you can take and questions you YOU DESCRIBE GOO'S DREAM FOR Give yourself a break from worrying about what your dream is and instead zoom out to the bigger picture of what God cares about. After all, ultimately what you're looking for is your place in the great big story God is writing in the world. If your dream is really just to have oodles of cash, to have your face on TV, to wrap yourself in a security blanket of suburbia, you're missing it. It's not wrong to earn money or be on TV or live in the suburbs, but if that's the culmination of your dream-if there's no so what? for you-you need to keep looking. We are created to know our Creator. We are redeemed to serve our Redeemer. We are blessed to be a blessing. 2. FILL IN THE BLANK TO THE PHRASE "IF MILLION DOLLARS. I WOULD __ I HAD A . The first thing that comes to mind might be, "Give it all to some charity," or "Buy myself a nice house," or maybe "Get a monkey." That's a start, but dig deeper. Which charity would you want to give it to? What about thatnice house-would make you happiest? In what places do you feel held back because of money? What training would you invest in? Keep this question in your mind for a week. You might be surprised by the ideas that come to mind-things like, "I would buy solar panels and get off the grid;' or "I'd open a free water park for kids in an underprivileged neighborhood," or "I'd invest it and make more." At this point, you're not likely to have a million dollars fall in your lap, but what comes to mind might offer a clue as to what you care about-and you can begin to brainstorm ways to get started now. If you're the solar panels person, maybe it's worth investigating areas where you can work on environmental sustainability. If you're the water-park person, maybe you'd love working in a job where you get to see kids smile. And if you're the investment person, figure out ways you can get business management skills and work for a company that makes the world a better place. 3. WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST? Taking photos of your friends? Organizing an advocacy campaign on a college campus? Playing ultimate Frisbee? Cranking through a lot of details to make an event come together? Write down every joyous moment you can, and then go back through the list, asking yourself the very important follow-up question: Why? What is it you love about doing those things? Can you see from your answers that you love being involved in other people's lives? That you love seeing things done carefully and accurately? That you love inspiring others? That you plan things very well? What is it about a career that would actually make you smile? RELEVANTMAGAZINE.CDM /67 4. WHAT BUGS YOU? When's the last time you cried, pounded on a table, shouted, threw something at the wall, or otherwise expressed frustration? Look at your answer to that question from two directions: what it says you shouldn't do and what it says you should do. If you spent all of Tuesday afternoon considering dropping your laptop in the toilet because you had to write a research paper, perhaps you shouldn't go into academics. On the other hand, if seeing a $200 leatherbound Bible for sale in a church bookstore makes you want to throw up, start looking for a way to educate people on stewardship. 5. WHAT DO PERSONALITY TORIES SAY ABOUT YOU? AND STRENGTHS INVEN- You are not the only person asking these questions. Everybody has asked them or is currently asking them, Smart people have made lots of tools to help you figure out how you're wired and what might be the dream you're supposed to live out. You can start by buying the StrengthsFinder book. It's about $20 for an online assessment and the book itself. You answer the questions and it spits out your five greatest strengths. It makes you feel like a superhero. Maybe you're an Activator who starts things, have Focus to carry anything through to completion or are driven by Competition and would benefit from a job that has explicit ways to measure what you do. 7. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE SOMEONE NOTICE ABOUT YOU? TO Maybe you can think of an actual compliment you once received that made a strong impression on you. What you take pride in is a strong clue as to what you're passionate about. Maybe there's something you know deep inside you're good at that no one has ever had a chance to notice. 8. WHAT KIND OF JOBS MATCH UP WITH WHAT YOU LEARNEDABOUT YOURSELF? Now that you've brainstormed some activities that make you smile (or vomit), figure out how to make those ideas pay your bills. If you're still having trouble thinking of ideas, check into career counselorsmost colleges and universities have someone who can help, or check your state's website and look for employment links. The Occupational Outlook Handbook at www.bls.gov/oco has information on job outlooks, job descriptions, salaries, working conditions and required education. There are probably careers you never knew existed, and a career advisor can help you find these. 9. WHAT WILL YOU TRY FIRST? NO JOB HAS TO BE ORDINARY. JUST ABOUT ANY JOB CAN BE DONE WELL. That's just one tool. and there are a lot of others. Find out your Myers-Briggs type. Go to a workshop on the Enneagram. Try the Department of Labor, Employment and Training's free assessment at www.mynextmove.org or another free assessment at www.humanmetrics.com. Find a spiritual gifts inventory. Or bust out your Google machine and do them all. Let the results spark insights about what you really want-allow them to clarify what might actually be your passion and your whole reason for being. G. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK YOU SHOULD DO? Ask them. Your best friends probably know you better than you do. Have friends over for an evening of personality inventories and brainstorming fueled by fine food and beverages. They're probably asking the same questions as you. Better yet, talk to someone a few years ahead of you in life-someone you can look to for some wisdom. Ask them what strengths and weaknesses they see in your life and how they've seen your gifts In action. Often others see themes and currents in our lives that we don't notice from our own limited view on the inside. 681 RELEVANT)-1AY/JUNE 12 Pick a couple careers that pique your interest and test them out by volunteering or job-shadowing. You can also call someone in that career or a similar field, and request an informal informational interview. Talking to people who are in specific careers of interest to you will quickly help you see if that career would be a good fit. It's also a great way to build up a professional network. Then look at your list of careers and ask which of them you can actually do now. Which could you do in five or 10 years if you took some steps right now to move in that direction? What would be more fulfilling as a volunteer position or hobby while some other job pays your bills? What are those steps you'd need to take? With all the options out there, not to mention tasks like writing a resume and finding places to send it, it's easy to get paralyzed and do nothing. Don't let fears of veering in the wrong direction stop you. Start by trying something, and you'll feel what's right and what's not. 10. HOW CAN YOU DO ANY OLD JOB BUT DO IT WITH PIZZAZZ? ,. Let's get real here-we don't all have to do some lofty thing we always dreamed of doing. That's right: It's not necessarily wrong to have a plain old job. No job has to be ordinary. Just about any job can be done well. Like Mother Teresa said, you can do "small things with great love." (The exception would be if you're working in a company whose ultimate values are opposed to yours, like building nuclear arms or using slave labor, in which case you have permission to quit that job, sleep on your parents' couch for a while and find something better.) A lot of justiceminded, Cb r i s t-Fo Il o w i n g people often limit themselves to jobs they typically think of as "good" jobs: missionary, pastor, counselor, teacher or occupational therapist serving people with AIDS sornewqere in Africa. Give yourself permission to do what isn't going to be voted Noblest Job Ever. If you get a job shredding paper in an elementary school but stop to have lunch with the kids, help them through tough times in life, listen well to stressed-out teachers and otherwise do that job well, there's nothing less noble about that than selling purses made by Cambodian women who have fled the sex industry. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job wen:" So take your broomwhatever that might be, wherever it might take you-and sweep it like you mean it. 0 ADAM AND CHRISTINE JESKE dream a lot. Their next book is This Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down Without Settling (/VP. October 2012). He tweets @adamjeske and she blogs at www.intothemud.com.
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