What do you want to be when you grow up?
Tonight I attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Wayfinding Academy, a two-year college opening in Portland that is "at the heart of the movement to revolutionize higher education." I was first introduced to this revolution last year when I attended the World Domination Summit and it was that one thing that sparked something in me at the conference. I remember being so excited about and all the ideas I was having as a result of listening to Michelle Jones and her reasons for making the decision to start a college. I figured I must have written something about this at the time in my handwritten journal and flipped through it, finding this entry:
7/12/15 1:13 PM
I came to WDS with the goal that my next steps would be clearer, that I would be inspired to be more productive... and with the assumption that it would be all about nesbits dog run cafe. This morning, I was touched by both speakers, the attendee stories and the winners of the scholarships for real life and then during the Introduction of Wayfinding Academy - it hit me. My work life-life work idea - maybe that's where my focus needs to be right now. Which is scary. Because my "dream" is to open nesbits dog run cafe. I actually verbalized this weekend how I need to be okay with pivoting in another direction - being okay with changing direction and not feeling like a failure and I thought that this was about moving from a product to a service business... but maybe it's from this to a passion/service project that is about conversations with your future, conversations with people who love their jobs exploring how they got there with the goal of giving people a glimpse into their typical work day so they could better decide what career path would work best for them. I always felt my purpose was dream-weaving, facilitating, supporting people who are finding their calling, and helping them find their dream job. This has been in front of my face for so long in almost all of the jobs I've had. It was always right in front of me. This project is a passion project and I can do all those other things I enjoy - write, photograph, travel, connect, interview, help, and serve, but it's driven by the purpose of living your hours the way you want. After all, hours turn into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, months into years, years into your life. But not to get overwhelmed with that - one minute at a time, one step at a time. I know I am moved by stories, by inspiring quotes, by meaningful work and experiences. I think back to when I was asked throughout my childhood: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Throughout the years, the answer changed - first it was a nun, then veterinarian, teacher, guidance counselor, psychologist, dancer, yoga instructor, font maker, massage therapist, chiropractor, meeting/event planner, photographer... Wouldn't it have been not only cool, but smart, to explore all of the careers that were interesting to me, in some way? My purpose is service. I thought it was more community and that's a part of it but I want my legacy to be about giving back and facilitating the eternal process of finding work and living a life you are proud of. I don't see clearly exactly what that is but I know that is what makes my heart sing. Time to brainstorm.
The next entry was the following day and it was me doing a little envisioning exercise where I wrote out what my life looked like on a future date, August 12, 2016. I wrote once more, briefly, in September 2015, and then nothing... until August 13, 2016. This is kind of funny to me. Sad, but funny. I had all of these feelings, all of this excitement, and some sort of clarity about my purpose, but I didn't follow through. And guess what? It didn't go away. It didn't disappear. It's still something that is gnawing at my core. And I have to deal with it now, or it will just keep coming back, like everything else in life we try to sweep under the rug. I am dealing with it now, through this commitment to write and reflect, and just do things, every day.
In reflecting, I've been thinking about that question: What do you want to be when you grow up? I'm wondering, wouldn't it be more effective if we asked: Who do you want to be when you grow up? What kind of person do you want to be? Because then, we can create the work around who we are, as a person. At least that's how I see it. And I think that's why Wayfinding Academy speaks so much to me. This new form of higher education is flipping the process of graduation and everything leading up to it upside-down and is really getting to the core of who you are and who you want to be in this world, and for this world.