Growing up the often-asked question was, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember answering with the stereotypical answers boys were expected to give: policeman, fireman, armyman (yes, that’s how I would say it). As a child, it is easy to reflect on the future. After all, children don’t have a long history to look back on. A child has more future than past. This lack of a past makes it easy to be future oriented. There are only a few successes to hold onto and even fewer failures to dwell on.
Of course this isn’t the case for adults. As the number of years we have spent on this whirling ball they call Earth advances we become far less imaginative about the future. There is not a single person on this creation that isn’t filled with some sort of regret. The psychosocial culture says that the key to our future is in our past. That may be partly true. If we don’t reflect on our past and learn from our mistakes we will keep making the same decisions.
Still, it seems that when we are issued our adult membership card we have to turn in our key to the machine that controls our imagination for the future. There have been some shifts by recent generations to buck this trend. For good or bad, you no longer have to choose, “what you will do for a living” by the time you leave high school or even college. Beyond that, corporate life has made it a rarity that one would be in the same organization for a whole career. This is different from my parent’s generation. My father worked for one company until he retired. Today, we have a workforce and culture that is very fluid and flexible.
I find that this is leading many people to ask the question of, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” This dynamic is also present in those who are boomers entering retirement. Without a creative future focused imagination the future can be a very scary place.
A coaching relationship is just the place to spark your imagination. Coaching is a unique setting designed to help individuals look to the future with hope and imagination. A coach is a champion for you in that discernment. When you’re faced with career, retirement or vocational transitions coaching is a safe place to explore questions of self.
Here are a few questions to help you start to answer this age-old question;
- What does your life look like in three years?
- What is the one thing you have always dreamed of doing?
- What is your image of the future? (ie… bright, dark, looming, exciting, etc)
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