What Am I Going To Do When I Grow Up?

Archive for December 2008

Students and professionals alike often move into college or graduate and professional schools because we have been told we “should.”  Frequently, we do not know why we are in school, which significantly diminishes motivation towards the goal of graduation.

Additionally, the goal of graduation feels so very far away.  Since the goal is distant, success feels remote…it is hard to see what we do today as being all that meaningful.  Many times this “should feeling” results in procrastination, wasted opportunities, not seeing the value of what we are doing, and can significantly impact the value of investing in education, making it more difficult to find a meaningful professional career after college.

When people do not know why they are pursuing a goal, achieving it seems remote and many times, not fulfilling.  Feeling like you should go to class or study does not really motivate you to get up and go to chemistry!   And, even if you go, it certainly doesn’t make it meaningful. Students who persist in education despite not having a purpose for the education commonly select majors without a genuine understanding of how to translate education into a meaningful career.

Even when we think we have a general idea of what we might do after graduation or we choose a major because we love the subject, it is often very overwhelming to actually coordinate the steps that translate that vague “someday” into an action plan that results in a successful, focused job search.

Often, we will hang on to the mere goal of getting through, saying at each stage “just get through this class,” of “just get me to graduation” or “just tell me what I have to do to graduate,” delaying thinking about career planning, but then when we approach graduation, panic sets in.  Suddenly, we feel like we are walking a plank or staring over the side of a cliff.  We want to graduate, but we don’t know what we are going to do now.

Frequently, people experience significant disappointment after graduating from college or as we move through our careers because we work so hard to achieve the goals, but again, we don’t know why and each time we are facing the hard and oft repeated question of “what are you going to do when you grow up?’

Then, when conducting a job search, we are not sure what we are looking for, where to look, who to talk with, or what the right questions are.  It is overwhelming.  Frequently, people look at what “is” and settle for some kind of a job.  We will say “I guess I could do that” or “I wouldn’t mind doing that,” but immediately we have settled for less than what we want, often for less than we actually need.

People often conclude at this point that “there is something terribly wrong with me.  I’m inadequate and my degree is worthless.”  Neither of which is likely to be true.

What is true is that we do not have the complete Composition of Success.  We have focused on a goal, but forgotten the purpose.   Lyrical Purpose can help you clearly articulate why you are motivated & want education.  We can explore specifically what you value in education and how it is meaningfully related to our experiences and relationships.  Uncovering what motivates you, we can tap into that motivation for perpetual success.  Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What if you could see specific connections between classes and career?
  • What would it be like to articulate how you are building the foundation for your career in your coursework?
  • How beneficial would it be to truly want to engage in your education?
  • What would be the value of consciously directing your education?

Lyrical Purpose has helped so many young professionals find meaning in education, identify specific long term goals, short term action items, track our successes, and build on our strengths.  We invite you to be next!

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” Williams Jennings Bryan


“We have thoughts, feeling and emotions, but we are not our thoughts, feelings, or emotions.” Frances Vaughn

Just because we have a thought doesn’t mean we have to keep it, and just because it may be our first thought, it certainly doesn’t make it right. By choosing, in the moment, to control our thoughts, we empower ourselves to control our destiny.

So, when you notice draining thoughts, what would you like to choose to believe?

For example, I might have a limiting belief that I have to be nice to everyone and this might drain my energy because I feel like I have to say yes to everything or it makes me feel guilty to tell someone I don’t want to do something.

What I can choose to believe is my first step to really being nice is being nice to myself and saying yes to everything isn’t actually nice to myself since I get overwhelmed and stretched too thin, so setting boundaries will keep me calm, peaceful, and successful.

What might you say to reset the lyrics in your head?

Evelyn Van Til

Practicing Purpose with Passion!