What Do You Want to ‘Do’ When You Grow Up?

A long time ago, in a galaxy that we live in, I was graduating high school. I was ready to take on the world - or so I thought. I was one of those students that excelled in math and

science; and I especially enjoyed chemistry. (Please don’t hate me for this, or even stop reading, I promise, there’s some good stuff coming.) Have you noticed that when you do well in something, you also find that you enjoy it as well? That was math and science for me. What about you - in which subjects did you excel?


For career day, I, and a few others, had the opportunity to attend a chemical manufacturing company in Omaha because we were interested in chemical engineering. The only thing I really remember our host sharing as one of the most important aspects of being a chemical engineer was that it was his job to instruct someone to “put the f***ing pipe up there.” Turned out that many of us heard and focused on that same message. Some hear this as when you join the ‘grown-up’ world, it’s ok, and even expected, to use profanity. Others recognize that to get what you want sometimes you have to be demanding, and demanding includes profanity. Neither of these is quite right is it? The language one uses is a choice. While my career day model may have been speaking representatively, I think it could have been presented better. Did you have a career day? Where did you go?


Ok, so I admit that I was a pretty good student in high school…


However, I did not excel in college in my chosen area of study. And yet, I was in a fraternity where I did see people who did not do super well in high school, find their niche in college, and then start to rock that world. That tells me that when the fit is right, success follows. Are you working and succeeding in your niche?


A Chosen Profession


I did well enough in my corporate career. I made a good salary, and achieved the nice title of Chief Chemist. But, there were more days that I was not satisfied with my contributions and achievements than those days that I was satisfied. As I look back, I can now see a pattern where I was looking for growth opportunities every 10-12 years. After a dozen years working as an engineer, I went through some studies to become a lay pastor. This led to shepherding a church for 9 years, while still working as an engineer. This dual role is what I give the most credit to being promoted. And yet, it was during this time that I discovered how few people truly have an interest in personal growth or even a truly abundant mindset. What is your plan to get better for “tomorrow?”


Kris, my wife, discovered much of the same things in her career moves, even working within a mainline church denomination and serving as a resource person. She wanted to better serve churches and their ministries. Societal focus is often focused on the short term results, rather than the long-term growth.


Life is a marathon, not a sprint.


I share this, because it is a huge piece of what led us to both join the John Maxwell Team, and develop our mission to ‘Empower people to realize their potential with confidence and influence.’


Most people settle. This is not meant to be a negative, it’s just a recognition that people get to a point of comfort, and family busy-ness that the life ‘cruise’ button gets turned on. We make decent money, we have kids and their activities, there is enough discretionary income to go on vacation and have a good life. This ‘good’ is the enemy of great. We must get to the point of not satisfied with ‘good,’ before we do anything about it. We get comfortable; therefore, we settle. And if you have stayed with me so far, I don’t suspect the same is with you. Looking back, where are your career pivots? What is your long-term dream?


Good is the enemy of great. Jim Collins


The original question may not be the best one. What if the question was not ‘What do you want to ‘do’ when you grow up?’, but rather is ‘Who do you want to be, or become, when you grow up?’ When we ask this question, we may continue to grow into the person that we were destined to become.


Well, most know I left that corporate world in the fall of 2021. I am contributing to making Leadership Harbor successful, but more importantly, I am fulfilling the Leadership Harbor mission in my life. I am empowering myself to realize my potential with confidence and influence. I love what I do; and I value those that choose to grow into their greater potential!


Robert Louis Stevenson says it well, To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.


If you want to have more success and significance in your life, you will have to become more.


We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are. John Maxwell


Fulfill your dreams of becoming more! Start with a Discovery Session with a Leadership Harbor “Thinking Partner.” It is never too late to become what you were meant to be.



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