I have heard this question a million times. I have even asked a lot of people this exact same question and received tons of different answers. Some were crystal clear, while others had almost no idea what they wanted. But almost all of them had a thing in common. Their wishes were linked to their future careers, jobs, start-ups or companies they wanted to build.
Recently I realized how wrong these questions – and especially their answers – are. The only answer I deem as acceptable to the question is “I want to be happy”. Eventually it should be the final goal of anything we do. The means to achieve your objectives are countless, but the end is – or it should be – almost always the same.
As I was growing up, I had a lot of different answers to this question. As a kid, I wanted to be a professional football payer, then I changed my mind and because I loved playing games I wanted to work in the gaming industry, then I changed my mind again and wanted to be a developer, project manager, work in a big corporation, teacher/ trainer, speaker, entrepreneur. Actually, this is what I did throughout time. And I decided I wanted to do each of them as the opportunity arose. I never had the clear goal to become any of them as a lifetime profession.
My focus was to do the things which made me happy. My ideas, plans, future expectations changed so many times until now. I never saw my life or career as something linear, since I like a lot of things (I have the tendency to get involved in a lot of different projects).
At the rate jobs, technology and society are changing, you may decide you want to become something that will become obsolete in 10, 5, or maybe even just one year or you might find that in a few years something totally new comes up, you love it and you want to do that.
What never becomes obsolete though is the set of skills and aptitudes that includes, but not limited to, things like problem-solving, communication, leadership, fast learning, adaptability to change.
Rather than focusing on what you want to be, focus on how you want to be. Choose to create a mindset and acquire the skills that can make you a valuable resource no matter what you do. This way, you offer yourself countless possibilities to find and do something you enjoy. And also, if you get bored or things are not working out as you would like them to, you always have the chance to do something else which makes you happy.