What did you want to be when you were a child? A policeman? A doctor? Perhaps a Veterinarian? I wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor for most of my tweens and teens, until someone kindly pointed out how long it actually took to qualify in either profession. Anything more than the mandatory 3-4 years of university seemed like an eternity to a 15 year old me so I soon changed paths and spent the next 5 or six years dreaming about becoming a hard nosed, fast paced Analyst in a steel and glass office in Canary Wharf, shouting into a mobile phone and eating caviar for breakfast.
It turns out I didn’t follow that path either. . . . . . But I did have a dream. I had aspirations of becoming a ‘something’ even if the ‘something’ changed over the years. I still believe that I have a lot more to give to this world and need to pinpoint what it is.
My daughter has not yet even started school but she’s already expressed her wish to be a doctor, singer, teacher, bus driver and an astronaut. I will not burst her bubble or roll my eyes at the fact that her aspirations differ on a sometimes daily basis. Instead her ideas are met with enthusiasm and massive smiles. What’s to say she wont be all of those things and more? Who am I to tell her otherwise? I’ve worked in Marketing, Education, Retail, Finance and for Non-Profit organisations already, maybe she’ll be a bit of a butterfly like her mother.
If you do not have aspirations what do you work towards? How do you know when you have met one of your milestones along the larger path? When do you celebrate your achievements and console yourself on your failures if you cannot differentiate between the two? It is important to aspire in order to make yourself accountable to yourself and be able to take pride in making headway towards what you want to do or become.
Aspirations may change. That’s ok. Life is forever changing and we need to be flexible and able to adapt to this. What needs to be constant is the presence of something to work towards, to dream about and make us work hard for. So next time your little one or a friend shares their next big idea, smile, show enthusiasm and remember it’s important to them even if it makes no sense to you.