At some point in our lives, people stop asking, “what do you want to become?” and start asking, “what do you do?” This shift occurs as sort of a coming-of-age if you will; an initiation into the big wide world. When it happens, people begin to acknowledge that you have now reached a level of maturity where you are pursuing something (usually as a vocation) indefinitely. The world now expects results from you; the decision-making-process is over, the doing-process has begun.
Currently I’m in a gray area on this topic. Those that know I’m currently wrapping up a marketing degree from Purdue ask me what I want to become. Those that don’t know ask me what I do. I’m afraid I don’t have great answers for either question because a) there are 5-6 careers I could see myself pursuing and b) I basically have 4 different jobs. But I think that a lot of people are in some sort of gray area that is created by the separation of what they do and what they want to become. Those that do what they have wanted or were inspired to become experience the nirvana of life purpose.
Yet finding that equality often requires overcoming one of the most puzzling paradoxes life had to offer. Thinking retrospectively, both questions are easy to answer. We can all identify what we have done and what we wanted to become at a certain age. I would argue that for some the answer to what they do becomes convoluted and for many, the answer to what one wants to become continues to evolve. Furthermore what we do always influences and sometimes even dictates what we hope to become. Yet, by the same token, what we hope to become will have some bearing on what we decide to do. Therefore it makes me wonder if the two questions are really asking the same thing.
Take some time to ask yourself what you do and what you want to become. Then ask yourself, “am I doing the work that has me headed in the direction of what I want to become?’ I would argue that your answer is your metric for how congruent your aspirations and dreams are with your current undertakings. Simply understanding the separations that exist between where you are and where you want to be isn’t enough to get there. But, that understanding will help you head in the right direction.