I have a friend named Mariah who is a teacher. From the way she tells the story she knew she wanted to be a teacher from the time she was a little girl. That is all she ever wanted to do. It was her dream. So, when she graduated high school she went straight to college, got her teaching degree, and has been at it in some form or fashion ever since. I need to mention as well, she is one of the best teachers I have ever known.
I envy her in a lot of ways. No, I don’t want to be a school teacher. Far from it. I envy that she knew very early on who she is. Not just what she wanted to do, but that she is a teacher and wanted to be one for the rest of her life. I also envy that she pursued it relentlessly and did what she wanted to do. There was no other option.
In contrast, I have wanted to be many things in my life. At one time I wanted to be a professional baseball player. Then I wanted to sing like Garth Brooks. Next, I wanted to be a famous writer. As I aged a few years my chosen vocations got a little less grandiose. For a time I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my favorite teacher in high school and teach high school music. Then I decided that ministry was what I needed to do, so I wanted to be a music and youth pastor. You are seeing a theme aren’t you?
Unlike Mariah, I wanted to do many things. Many because they sounded fun. Many of them because of the fortune and notoriety they would bring me. It didn’t matter that they weren’t me, and that I didn’t have the talent to go pro. They just sounded nice. These things were not who I am though. Mariah is a teacher. Who am I?
After I typed the last sentence, I stared at the computer for several minutes. I know the answer to the question. I am a communicator. I am a data guy. I love communicating ideas and information through presentations, thoughts, messages, talking, coaching, interacting, inspiring, motivating. That is who I am at my core. The problem that I encounter is that is not neat and tidy and easy to explain like being a policeman, or a fireman, or a teacher. That is ok.
You can be a communicator and serve in any of the roles that I just mentioned, or hundreds of others. So, it’s ok I didn’t have a real answer when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. It took some time, but I too am what I want to be. I’m not as cool as Mariah, but I too love what I do.