Thoughts On Career and Character Development For Youth
Who am I to be?
When it comes to selecting a career, there are so many options it can seem overwhelming and scary for youth and adults alike. In the United States our perspective on careers varies from being a workaholic, to following your passion, to not working at all. This is not an exhaustive list, nor is each example without its reasons. However, in a country with countless opportunities and plenty of limitations, it might be helpful to ask ourselves: “Who am I to be?”
Or another variation on the question, “Who am I not to be?”
As Marianne Williamson wrote: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?"
In a video by Mike Rowe, the host of the television show Dirty Jobs, he shares his opinion about how people should not follow their passion. He gives the example that some people become successful in their career simply because they choose to apply traits such as persistence and excellence to what they are doing now. It is possible to be a millionaire and a man who cleans out septic tanks. It is possible to love your job and be proud of what you do AND who you are. Some people become successful by following their passions, and other people become passionate about their jobs to find success.
What Mike Rowe is addressing is the topic of character. It does not take talent to be on time, to put forth 100% effort, to have a good attitude, to utilize your energy, or to be prepared. Anybody can do that. However, it does take choices to build these into habits that can make you successful in school, work, and relationships...or not.
Character coaching is one way to help youth begin to develop strong habits. It can help them become aware of the opportunities and limitations in their life, as well as the choices that can be made when confronted with each. These choices help when pursuing a career, but more importantly, help to build a better world. After all, "what we do" is only part of who we are.