There’s an old saying that goes, “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” There’s a lot of truth to that sentiment, and to that end, it’s important to help young adults in high school and college find what is is that the love. The task is much easier said than done, with many adults not having discovered what they love until later in their careers. Today’s working professionals change careers an average of 7 times before they retire, meaning that about half of them change careers more often than that.
Helping students find their life calling can be a huge task to ask of a teacher or parent, but it’s a crucial one. Once they figure out their calling, it’s just a matter of them chasing it to the ends of the earth! Here are some ways you can encourage your students to find their mission in life and pursue it as intensely as possible.
Ask kids what problems they want to solve: Google employee and leader in the education world Jaime Casap was once quoted as saying, “Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up but ask them what they want to solve. This changes the conversation from ‘who do I want to work for’ to ‘what do I need to learn to be able to do that.’” Helping children to change their mindset from one of doing a task to one of solving a larger issue will help guide their thought processes as they consider the skills they’ll need to acquire to take on large problems they see in their communities.
Host a Job Fair: One of the best ways to expose children to the world of possibilities is to let them explore what other adults are already doing. Hosting a job fair will give kids the opportunity to ask questions about why people do what they do, what it took to get them there, and what kinds of problems a person in that occupation solves all day. Make sure that you bring in a range of people solving problems ranging from financial assets to law to fashion to culinary arts and more to give the children a holistic view of the options available to them. You may also want to encourage your exhibitors to talk about the problem they wanted to solve and how their career paths help them to solve it every day.
Show Students Examples of Others who have Done This: Show students some TED talks of others who have found their calling in life, how they went about finding it, and how that put them on a path towards greatness. From doctors to artists to activists, TED curates a select group of innovators in the fields of Technology, Entertainment, and Design to discuss the next frontier and how we’re going to get there. After the TED talk, have your students reflect on the strategy the speaker executed and how it panned out. A short journaling exercise may ask students to think about the problem the speaker wanted to solve, the steps and tools they used to solve it, and how the student could do something similar with their own mission in life. Please view the talk entitled “Choosing a Mission in Life” which is just one example.