When I Grow Up, I Want to Be A...

When I was 5 years old, I walked in to my parents bedroom and declared “mommy, daddy, when I grow up, I want to be a life coach!”.


Just kidding. I didn’t do that.

I actually didn’t do that until I was 25 years old when I declared with such confidence what I want to be when I grow up.

Declaring what you want to be when you grow up is a big deal. The goal of this blog post is to paint the real picture of what went into getting this clarity in my life, because like most great things, it didn’t happen overnight. If you’re like me, you might be wishing you could close you eyes, click your red ruby slippers and magically wake up in your dream job or dream life. For a long time, my introverted, conscientious self thought for sure if I spent a lot of time thinking about or planning for my future that it would miraculously turn out how I wanted it to. Well, thinking really hard probably got me about 10% of the way there. The remaining 90% are all due to some key past experiences…

Wait - before I get into the 90% of the journey to my Life Coach declaration, I want you to jot down 3-5 key memories of when you felt:

  • Happy, excited and motivated
  • Engaged, challenged and like you were learning something
  • Passionate and purposeful

Once you’ve got your list, put it aside, listen to the rest of my story, and then we’ll get back to what you can do with this list at the end of this post!

Experience #1: “Dr. Therapy”

When I was a little girl, I opened up my very first therapist office. I recruited all of my family members to schedule an appointment with my office. The market was thriving because lucky for me my grandparents were also in town (girl couldn’t make a living off of just her immediate family, now could she??).

My grandpa, Ya-Yaps, scheduled an appointment and showed up to my office. I am not 100% sure, but I think my opening question was something along the lines of “So, what do you want to talk about?”

He went on to tell me about how retirement was approaching, and he wasn’t quite sure what to do with his time. Without skipping a beat, I responded with “Well, have you asked Maa-ma what you can help with around the house?”

Probably wasn’t the answer he was looking for, but that’s me. This has always been me. If you look deeper at this experience, there was an entrepreneurial element (opening my own therapy office), a coaching element (inviting clients in and talking about present and future) and an innate ability of asking really strong, intuition-driven questions. At the time, it felt like I was just being a little kid, playing pretend, but now it is so obvious that it wasn’t just some simple childhood activity, I was doing exactly what I felt called to do.

Experience #2: Leaving Grandma at Home With the Kids

I was even younger in this experience, so if you’re wondering how far to go back, go back as far as you need to for a memory that resonates with you now.

As a little girl, I loved playing “house”. One time, while my grandma, Maa-ma, was watching me, we decided once again to play “house”. First step, assign roles. Second step, demonstrate said roles.

Now, I’m not sure if I was the mom, the dad, or the sister or brother, but here is what I did: I swung my purse over my shoulder and directed Maa-ma to “You stay home with the kids! I’m going shopping!”.

I mean seriously, I was probably 3 or 4 years old when I laid out this directive. What does it tell me now? I’ve always been comfortable with taking charge and taking the lead. Also, it tells me that even as a little girl, typical women’s roles weren’t always going to be the roles for me and that I wouldn’t be afraid to go against the grain when it comes to my role as a woman.

Experience #3: Transferring

I know it seems like I’ve always been a Gustie, but there was one time in my life when I was a Gopher.

When deciding on where to go to college, my parents urged and encouraged me to go to a smaller school. My 17 year old self thought “what do you know??” and just because they told me that, I was determined to do the opposite. I committed to attending the University of Minnesota fall of 2008.

Well, that was both the worst decision and best decision of my life (hold on and I will explain). I hated it. It was too big for me, I didn’t feel like I fit in culturally, and although I was excelling academically (4.0 all of my freshman year, yeah!), I was really unhappy.

I knew I needed to make a change. Halfway through the year I almost transferred to St. Thomas as a “quick fix” but something in my gut said that that wasn’t right for me either. So, I started again on the journey to pick a college.

From the moment I stepped on to the Gustavus campus, I knew I was home. Everything felt right, and the more I learned about the school, the more excited I got. I filled out my application and was eventually accepted to start as a sophomore in the fall of 2009.

Looking back on this now, this series of events has me written all over it. First of all, I consider it pretty brave to face an unhappy situation in the face and determine that I needed to do what was best for myself. Also, there was an element of risk-taking in this. Maybe it wasn’t the U of M that I didn’t jive with, maybe it was the academic scene or the rigidity of schedules and classes, maybe I’d end up at Gustavus just to have the same experience all over again. I wasn’t sure what the future would hold at Gustavus, but I knew I needed to make a change. Thank God I made the choice that I did because there are unlimited examples of how Gustavus shaped me into the person I am today.

Ok, enough about me, hehehe. Let’s pull out that list of memories that you started at the beginning of this post. I want you to spend some time this week answering the following questions about these key memories:

  1. What prompted this memory?
  2. What is important about this memory?
  3. What do you know now because of this memory?
  4. What was fulfilling about this memory?
  5. Where do you find this sentiment in your current life?
  6. What is one step or action you can take as a result of reflecting on this memory? How can this memory connect you closer to your purpose or passion?

I would love to hear how this activity went from you and what you got out of it. Share in the comments below or send me a direct note! I look forward to hearing from you!

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