What do you want to be when you grow up?


The question is a common one and K-12 students have a variety of answers that they give in the classroom. A recent Harvard Business Review article, written for the general community, gives some insights on how a person can find their career and pursue an endeavor that not only makes money but that also interests. Greg McKeown, in his article entitled, “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” guides individuals into a realization that “Less is More” when considering what you want to do in your life.


Try this exercise with your students to help them write down succinctly what they would like to do with their life.


Step 1: Have your students write down one thing they would like to be when they grow up – on the back of a piece of paper.


Step 2: Have all your students view the diagram listed here: https://hbr.org/2012/08/the-disciplined-pursuit-of-less that shows that a good way to find what career or endeavor you would like to pursue is to find the intersection between your talent, what people need (otherwise known as the “market) and your passion. Your talent is what you are good at. The market is what kind of service or product people want, and your passion is what interests you. You can draw the diagram on your white/chalk board.


Step 3: Have your students list all the things they are good at. This can be anything from video games, to singing, dancing, making paper wads and throwing them into the trash can…. Anything is fair game.


Step 4: Have your students list all the major things people need in the world, such as health care, compassion, food, housing, education, protection, joy, …. have them write as many things as possible.


Step 5: Then have your students read from Step 3 and Step 4 and ask the students to listen and write down any item they hear that they feel interests them. This can then be their passion.


Step 6: Have your students create their own venn diagram with several words in the circle of talent, market, and passion and have them put a star by all the items they feel they like, enjoy, or have some interest in. They can also put more words in the “passion” circle and put stars by them.


Step 7: Then have the students think of careers that combine words where they have stars next to them and write down their favorite career from what they see.


Step 8: Have them compare the career they now say is their favorite to what is on the back page of their paper and have them talk to their classmate next to them on what they learned through this process.


Also – as a teacher – you may enjoy doing this exercise for yourself to find what exactly it is in the teaching profession that you would like to focus on.