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You Don’t Have To Know What You Want To Be

You Don’t Have To Know What You Want To Be

“You don’t need to know what you want to be
because the what is an extension of the who.”


Shani Tran, LPCC

What do you want to be when you grow up? This is the question we are asked from the moment we can formulate sentences. Doctor, Policeman, Fireman, Chef, Teacher, and President are very common replies. It’s what we see on TV and in our everyday lives as a young kid. “You can do it!” We are told by eager adults. Followed by you can be “anything you want to be!”


But what happens if you don’t know what you want to be? The uncertainty of not knowing what you want to be when you grow up, or even when you are grown up is a natural and relatable experience that many encounter on their journey through life. It can be both thrilling and daunting, as the vast array of possibilities can overwhelm and leave you feeling unanchored. But within this ambiguity lies an opportunity. The opportunity to explore, learn, and discover your true passions, the who before the what!


Instead, ask yourself who do I want to be? Take the time to discover the who to the what, and allow that to lead you. More than likely, once you know who you want to be, the job will be an extension of you…exacerbating the passion fueled by internal efficacy.


While discovering who you want to be, embrace the unknown and open doors to new experiences, helping to shape perspectives and refine interests. It's okay, take your time, experiment with different career possibilities, and even make mistakes along the way. I strongly encourage mistakes. As you navigate the different choices, trust that the pieces of your future will come together, forming a unique experience of your own creation. Sometimes, the most extraordinary journeys are born from the uncertainties of not knowing! Through this journey you may find yourself at a destination that you never envisioned, but one that feels like home.


“It’s okay to be discovering what you want to be; remember, Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40.”


The thing is if you chase what you want to be, without discovering the who, you risk the lack of passion and mission. Not knowing what you want to be when you grow up is not a sign of indecisiveness or inadequacy. It is a testament to the complexity and essence of living life. As you embrace the path of self-discovery, you will cultivate resilience and patience. You may even discover your true self. In due time, the clouds of uncertainty will part, revealing a path that feels authentic and fulfilling. So I ask you, who do you want to be?

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