question_markDoes anyone really know what they want to be when they grow up? I’m posing this question because I think it’s one that most of us ask throughout our lives. While it’s an obvious question that young people ask themselves, surprisingly, it’s also often asked by accomplished executives who’ve had very successful careers.

When you think about it, it’s actually not surprising at all. These are people who are goal driven and ambitious. They’re often visionaries and innovators. They create ideas and strategies and  implement them, seeing them through to completion before moving onto their next challenge. So, it actually makes sense that these leaders would not be content to rest on their laurels, would not be able to spend their “golden years” on the golf course, would not easily retire and would be asking the question, “what do I want to be when I grow up?”

Personally, I’ve asked the question myself as I’ve made a variety of career moves in search for a new challenge. Many years ago, before googling became a verb, I even googled the question. While that’s not where you’ll find the answer, you can read some interesting articles. The answer lies within us and arriving at the answer requires introspection as well as pragmatic thinking.

The introspection is to determine what you truly enjoy, what makes you jump out of bed in the morning, what energizes you. The pragmatic involves looking at the skill sets you’ve developed over the years, your record of accomplishments, the things that make you most marketable.

While most executives can answer the question about what they enjoy, it often takes a seasoned coach to draw out their transferable and marketable skills; to help them really brand and market themselves as they determine their next career move and to help them see where the introspective and pragmatic intersect.

Other alternatives for finding the answer … well, I guess now instead of googling the question, you can just ask Siri.