I asked on my Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn earlier this week what my followers and connections wanted to be when they were children and how they felt it impacted them in what they do now. Most of the answers just said what they wanted to do and how they never fulfilled their dreams. No one really said how those things impacted them.
I had some pretty practical desires as a child. If you knew me, that wouldn’t surprise you. At all. Although I have quite the imagination, I’m also a realist. My childhood aspirations were never anything wild. They just weren’t…not for any particular reason. It wasn’t because I thought I was incapable. In fact, I’d venture that one of my childhood aspirations (writing)…when people knew of it, they scoffed. I still hear from people that doing it is impossible. So, anyway, here’s a list of my childhood aspirations and how they impacted me.
I Wanted to Be a Mother
My oldest son was born when I was 19. I’m 42 (July 2021). My children are 23, 20, and 11. Here’s how young motherhood impacted me:
- I learned to depend on myself. I had no one else to depend on. I worked and supported my older two children even in my previous marriage because the ex refused to contribute despite working.
- Although I did not plan to become a mother so young, I learned how to handle changes thrown at me.
- While multi-tasking is not my preferred method of working at anything, I am very good at it.
Now, as a business owner, I solve my own problems. I can handle changes that happen at the drop of a hat. I handle multiple clients, multiple projects, and multiple deadlines all while caring for our special needs son.
I Wanted to Be a Teacher
When I was a child, the only thought of teaching I had was “school.” I taught at the undergrad level. It was…an interesting experience. I learned a lot about people and the administrative side of college life. Here’s how it impacted what I do now:
- I learned that self-employment was better and safer for me because I can’t fire myself. No, I wasn’t fired. I did, however, have to defend myself to both administration and the legal team because I was a survivor of domestic violence. In my state, it is legal for a business to fire you. You can read more about that here.
- It re-enforced to me that I love helping and teaching others. It’s why I have groups. It’s why I love answering questions about working from home. It’s why I have a podcast. It’s why I love talking to clients about their projects and helping them solve their problems.
- I learned that some people, regardless of what they say, really do not want to do anything but complain and have things handed to them. In a teaching environment, I had few things I could do. I could fail students who did not turn in assignments (they didn’t like it and they would complain, but…you can’t pay for a passing grade). As a business owner, I have to be mindful when choosing which clients to work with.
I Wanted to Be a Paralegal
I went to college (online, before it was the standard) and obtained a Bachelor’s in paralegal studies. I graduated Summa Cum Laude while my older two were little things. My oldest was 10 and my middle was 8. Here’s what I took away:
- A reinforcement of my already very strong (at that time) time management skills. While I was still in college, I would study while the boys were at baseball practice or soccer practice (I was there with them), while they were asleep, before they woke up, while I was on my lunch break at work, etc. I did not take time away from them. I would also do my homework or class work while they worked on their assignments. I use my time management skills every single day.
- Excellent research skills are an asset to anything I do. I don’t take on active paralegal work although I primarily work with attorneys.
- The additional critical thinking skills that I learned both during my education and working as a paralegal are skills that I use in my business. They help me plan and execute my client projects. This skill also helps keep me sane.
There You Have It: Now You Do This Exercise
Regardless of whether you’re already working from home or not, you do this exercise. Think about everything you wanted to do as a child or all of the jobs you’ve held over the course of time. What did you learn from them? How can you take those skills or how are you already taking those skills and using them to empower what you’re doing?