What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Ever feel like you haven't reached your full potential yet? You're not alone! If you are not where you want to be right now, and have no idea how to get there, read on for some simple ideas to help you reach your goals!

1. Identify what you want

What do you want to be when you grow up? Ask yourself that question, from your adult point of view, and go from there. Are you a classroom teacher who wants to eventually become a principal? Maybe you are a special education aide who wants to eventually become a head teacher. Maybe you're a parent who wants to go back to school to become a teacher. Or maybe you have a completely different career path in mine (like I did). Whatever it is, identify it and write it down!

2. Set goals

Okay - once you identify what the ultimate goal is, you need to make meaningful, thoughtful mini goals along the way. You can't just decide, "OK, I ultimately want to be a school psychologist, so I'll just go to school and be a school psychologist." You need to map out all the mini-goals along the way, such as: save x amount of money for school, expenses for when you are unable to work, etc., get into a graduate program, complete your degree in school psychology, obtain your license or certification in school psychology (if applicable), apply for school counseling/psychology jobs, and get a job offer!

>>You might like: Goal Setting for Adults

3. Plan your stepping stones

Here's where you'll make even smaller steps to your bigger goals. You will break down each goal into manageable chunks (a sort of task analysis, if you will) that you can check off as you go. In the above example, it might look like: to save x amount of money in preparation for cutting your hours to go back to school -> hire a financial planner, budget your spending to save x amount in the next 3 months, cut 15% of your expenses per month. To get into a graduate program --> Research schools for reputable school counseling or psychology programs, obtain all necessary documentations to begin applications (transcripts, essays, letters of recommendations, etc.) apply to 1-2 programs (this will have it's own set of steps to complete), apply for financial aid if applicable (again, additional steps), apply for grants offered by schools or other programs (and, again). To obtain licensure and complete your degree in school psychology  --> self-explanatory I think. Apply for jobs --> Also has it's own set of skills needed, similar to applying for school (obtain all necessary documentation such as transcripts, license, resumes, letters or recs, etc.). Get a job = you've reached your goal!!

4. Take a leap! (or step)

This is where you finally take the plunge (or dip) in the water. It can be scary to start such a lofty and uncertain adventure, but with explicit goals and manageable steps involved, it can take the scary-factor out of the equation. You will be making a calculated and strong plan to better your life.

5. Re-evaluate

Not everything will go according to plan. Maybe you didn't get into the school you wanted to (using the above example), or maybe you failed the exam your first time around. You will need to use these situations as opportunities to re-evaluate your goals and maybe add a step or two in the middle to help you reach your goals (like maybe you should add "take an exam prep course" to your list of steps to getting your certification). Don't let this missteps derail your progress. Keep your eye on the prize, re-evaluate as needed, and persevere! You got this!

Now go make those goals! Write 'em down, repeat them in  your head, tell your friends about them, and make those dreams a reality! Check out this list of simple, attainable goals for some inspiration!

And while you're at it, check out these amazing superstars who hadn't reached their full potential until much later in life (but age really is just a number!)

Image courtesy of the wonderful folks over at Ira Lexus Danvers!

What are your goals? Are you taking steps to achieving them?

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