The question of what or who

Last week an email came in about the Children's Book Week (6 to 17 October 2021). The theme this year is 'become what you want'.

That got me thinking. Because, yes, what do you want to be (later when you've grown up)?We often ask children this question. And actually, it's quite nice to reflect on in your adult life.

At the same time: what do I want to become??? How so? Aren't I already something, someone? Now, and always? The same goes for children, and you, and everyone in the world. 

Anyway, back to the question.

What did I want to become and did I succeed?

When I was a child I wanted to be a forest ranger. Now, years later, my business cards said everything but that. Such as: technical draftsman, electrician, trainer, product manager, technical writer, marketer, developer, coach.

So, basically I didn't succeed. Yet I feel grateful, happy and proud of where I am in life. Failure also has its perks...

But, for me, the question 'what do you want to become?' also quietly implies, is that what you do professionally is what you become. Who you are. But, of course, your profession is not who you are. Society thus puts us into a box (and society, that's us). Your profession is just one of the many things you do.

In the same way that I 'do' woman, friend, and mother. And backpacker, fundraiser, food forest board member, entrepreneur.

And the list goes on.

But still. If someone asks you who you are at a barbecue, you say 'I'm Paul, I'm a software developer'. Ok. And what else do you do?

Maybe you are a soccer coach of a junior team. Or you play music with a bunch of friends. Or you are a member of the city council. Or you like gaming. There's so many things that you do too.

And you take those things with you to work. And you take your work to those things.

Your experience as a soccer coach comes in handy during meetings. And vice versa; your experience in meetings will come in handy during soccer training sessions. Your creative musician will help you develop a new product. And discussing a new product in the team helps you articulate an instinctive process like making music.

You get the point.

It shows that, we do all sorts of things in our lives. Including one or more professions. Simultaneously or one after the other, it doesn't matter.

That's why I invite you to ask ourselves the question differently from now on. From 'becoming what you want' to 'being who you are'.

Also gives some space. Space to be.

Now I'm curious: what are you going to put on your business card? Because, now it all doesn't fit on a card anymore. Abolish? Or shall we put 'jack of all trades'?

And what are you going to say at the next barbecue when someone asks you about you?

Who I am? My name is Annemieke, I am someone who does life to the best of her abilities, messy and all, and has great fun doing it.

Do you want to find out who you are? And how you can live and work in a way that aligns with your values? What makes your eyes sparkle? As I help people in tech and ICT to achieve more success, joy, and balance in work and life.

Feel free to contact me for more info.