“What do I want to be when I grow up?”
Whether you’re trying to decide that as a high school or college student, during a midlife “there must be more” crisis, or after a layoff, divorce or other life upheaval, this is an important and difficult question.
One source of data for consideration comes from CNN.com:
Best Jobs in America
As you work through all of that, be sure to have conversation partners who can help you with reality check and creative thinking – both are important in the process and are enhanced through dialogue with other perspectives.
Let us know how we can help.
This is a useful acronym for a basic process of coaching. You can use this with yourself, in a group where you are a member, and in coaching others.
Goal – What is the desired future state toward which you wish to move?
Reality Check – What is currently going on? What are the feelings, thoughts, actions that brought you to this present, and are keeping you here? What strengths and deficits are part of that picture.
Options for steps forward – What can I/You/We do to move from our present reality to our preferred future? What else? And what else? This is the brainstorming session of the process, where there are no silly, dumb or bad ideas. The more we limit ourselves during this phase, the less our prospect of reaching our goal with success and significance.
Will – “What will I do?” This is the place where I choose a path forward, from all the options identified above. Between “Options” and “Will” critical evaluations and discernment will be made. We also recognize that trial and error, failure and trying again are critical to the process of development.
May God give us strength…
“There is no class of people upon earth who can less afford to let the development of truth run ahead of them than you. You cannot wrap yourselves in professional mystery…you cannot go back and become apostles of the dead past, driveling after ceremonies, and letting the world do the thinking and studying. There must be a new spirit infused into the ministry….We must be more industrious in investigation, more honest in dedication, and more willing to take the truth in its new fullness.” Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Yale, 1871. (Niebuhr, Williams, Ahlstrom 1980, 257-8)
Interesting how the arguments of our own day often mirror those of earlier ages – in this case the period between 1860 and 1900. This debate is nothing new. One could argue that a similar struggle existed between the Sadducees and Pharisees who believed that the cannon of truth was tightly proscribed (in the case of the Sadducees) and more open to continuing revelation (in the case of the Pharisees). Of course, even the Pharisees wanted to place a limit on that revelation that found Jesus’ own teachings distinctly on the outside.
The challenge becomes, as it has always been, how to hold to and honor truths of the past while also remaining open to new and continually unfolding insights and receptions of revelation from beyond human intellect and creativity. And for clergy and congregational leaders, how to stand in the midst of that tension, with it also existing internally in the heart and mind of the individual leader, and facilitate a process of dialogue, mutual appreciation and growth in maturity toward wholeness. May God give us strength.