How Your Childhood Interests Could Predict Your Career Path

How Your Childhood Interests Could Predict Your Career Path

How Your Childhood Interests Could Predict Your Career Path

It’s crazy to look back and compare your child self to where you are currently in your life. What’s lead you to where you are, how have you changed, how has your personality evolved?

And recently, while doing so, I realized that the things I enjoyed as a child, while never thought of as “what I wanted to do when I grew up”, have actually become what I’m doing now as a twenty-four year old woman (after as much trial and error as you can fit into two years post-college grad).

Let me give you a few scenarios…

How Your Childhood Could Predict Your Career Path

Fitness.

Picture a teeny Tina climbing out of her crib like a silent ninja, alerted by the bumping bass coming from the living room. My mother and grandmother would do step aerobics together every morning while we lived at my grandparents house in Miami before moving to Memphis.

And just about every morning, while my mother was getting her “me” time in with my grandmother, escaping the insanity that was me as a child (my sister sleeping in the bed next to me like a little angel), I would come running in yelling “ETHERTHITHE” (that’s “exercise” with a pathetic two-year-old lisp).

I proceeded to try and mimic them by stepping up and down to the video. This, my friends, was the first sign that I would put my pent up energy toward fitness, and develop a passion of sorts. And now… I’m working for a fitness tech startup, active in my city’s fitness community, sharing what I’ve learned from this lifestyle, finding joy in the accomplishment that stems from a morning sweat.

 

Cooking.

Even though I was a picky eater as a child, (so I’m told, although I refuse to believe that… despite me remembering instances where my parents were almost to the point of bribing me to finish my dinner. But I digress.) I loved to “cook”.

No, I was not a child chef prodigy like those kids on the Food Network. Unfortunately. But, I was given a ‘little tikes’ toy kitchen as a kiddo, and you couldn’t get me to stop ‘play cooking’ if you paid me in candy. I recall pretending that I had my own cooking show, speaking to my pretend audience, explaining every “meal” I made, and how I made it.

I also used to play with sand at the playground, pretending that I was making a meal, on said cooking show. Is this foreshadowing, or was I just weird? Let’s go with the first one.

Basil Pesto Hummus

Entrepreneurial spirit.

And as I grew up, I realized that it’s hard out here for a tween.

I pulled out the kiddie picnic table, made a giant pitcher of lemonade, set up an umbrella, grabbed some poster board and made a “Lemonade $1” sign, and boom. Open for business.

I have photos of me and my awkward self at said lemonade stand that I could share, but I won’t do that to myself.

Writing.

As a youngin’, I would always sit down and write narratives. And so many times I settled down at my desk to “write a book” – granted, I would get about five pages in and run out of fuel, but I always enjoyed writing. The essay section of our standardized tests were my favorite part – the only part I felt confident with. Anything that gave me the chance to be creative.

Drive.

It was the best day of my life as a kid, because my dad got my sister and I a basketball hoop for our driveway in Memphis. I went on to play basketball for about five years, but this particular day/night was my first time holding a basketball and shooting it.

It was late afternoon when the hoop was set up on our driveway. And I stayed outside shooting that basketball until I made at least one shot. I would not go inside until that ball made it into that damn net. I was a little twerp throwing myself into the air, trying to gain enough momentum to hear a “swoosh”.

I ended up getting the shot I worked on for hours, and finally went inside for some chicken nugs.

Photography.

As a freshman in high school, I inherited my grandfather’s giant Canon DSLR. I was coincidentally taking a photography class that semester, where I learned all about the basics of photography (however, we didn’t touch on digital photography). That was the start of my love for photography. I went on to shoot all of the basketball games for our school’s yearbook. I created a Flickr account with all of my photos from my school’s sports, family vacations, and around-the-house doodads.

I even had a dream to study photography in college. I went to my university’s orientation set on studying business and photography together so that I could open my own photography studio. My mind changed as my love for sports trumped the photography dreams I thought were unattainable (real confident, little Tina) and I chose to study the business of sports. Which I now realize was a roundabout way of pushing myself into a field of study revolving around exercise, without having to actually take any science classes.  

How Your Childhood Could Predict Your Career Path

Creativity.

From art contests to designing our high school’s yearbook pages (back when I was an InDesign pro, now… notsomuch), I always yearned to be creative. Hence why I was so miserable at my first job out of college – I could not be creative in any way, shape, or form. I have creative juices pumping through my veins, and I have a deep desire and need to use them everyday.

How My Childhood Passions Connect to My Current Career Path

By now you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with anything.

Here’s the point. These were all things that I did naturally, intuitively as a child. And the funny thing is, I always felt so insecure, almost lost, because I was the only one in my group of friends that never felt confident in my answer to the age old question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

My answer was always, “I want to own my own business.”.

I had no idea what this meant, but to li’l me, this was the way to go. Then there was the occasional career goals of being an SNL cast member, or an artist, each of which quickly faded into the abyss of my childhood imagination. And yes, I’ve watched and loved SNL for as long as I can remember (minus now, ‘cause it almost always sucks nowadays. #tbt to the Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon days amiright? Okay, moving on.).

So I had all of these things that I enjoyed naturally, yet I never felt like I had a purpose. I was never that kid that knew she was going to be a lawyer or knew she was in love with science or knew she was going to be a news anchor.

But there is something to be said about the activities you naturally enjoy as a child. Not once did I ever say I would do anything with my love for writing, exercise, or cooking. I never said “I’m going to be a personal trainer” or “I’m going to be a chef”. I just kind of, enjoyed them… never thinking twice about it. Which, for a career path, could be the best way to start.

Takeaway

So, if you’re in a stage of feeling lost in your purpose or your path (which I have definitely experienced), it could be worthwhile to look back into your past.

Ask your parents what you enjoyed as a child, something you never looked very deep into. Maybe it’s pretty obvious that you enjoyed soccer because you played it for five years, or maybe you are known for having danced since you were three. But ask about the little things – what were you innately drawn to? What were your interests? All of the things I listed are things I remember enjoying (and still do), but didn’t necessarily connect them to what I’m doing now, until recently. I just never really gave it much thought. But once I did, a big fat “holy sh*t” blinked through my mind.

Join the conversation:
Have you noticed any of your childhood interests appearing in your chosen field?
Is your life now similar or completely different to what you thought you wanted to be as a child?

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Comments

  1. says

    Amazing post Christina!! What an awesome story to share :) I’ve noticed that music and dance were always HUGE parts of my childhood, which explains why I love music so much and that I’m a dancer! Haha however, I always thought I’d be interested in ONLY dance, but now I’ve realized that my true passions in life are using dance and my knowledge of the body as a catalyst for helping others with their own health and body image :)
    Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It recently posted…Friday: Top 3’sMy Profile

  2. says

    This post made my heart happy. Mainly because I’m 50 shades of creep and I love learning about people when they were younger. Anyways…I couldn’t agree more with the message of this post and recently had this conversation with a friend. It’s crazy how life works, but I truly believe everything that happens is preparing us for something later.
    Les @ The Balanced Berry recently posted…10 Healthy Summer BBQ RecipesMy Profile

  3. says

    I absolutely LOVE this! It’s funny because my mom always said that with me she would swim while she was pregnant and eat really healthy. While I didn’t join a swim team or anything, I actually landed a job as a lifeguard in college and taught swim lessons for years. I’ve never been a picky eater so that makes sense now that I love food, trying new recipes, and exploring new restaurants. Also, in high school I loved writing and always wanted to go into journalism. Now I have my own blog and work in social media/content marketing so everything seemed to fall into place as I got older :)
    Kellen McAvoy recently posted…How to Master the Running SelfieMy Profile

    • says

      Aw that’s so cute!! My mom told me while she was pregnant with me she was OBSESSED with canned tuna LOL that hasn’t appeared in my life in any way but I’m waiting to see if it does somehow lmao. Love that – I wish I could meet you so we could chat marketing!! :)

  4. says

    LOVE THIS! It’s amazing how much your childhood influences you. I grew up in a VERY health conscious household where my parents constantly talked about healthy eating and fitness. I ended up getting my degree in nutrition and have been working in the health industry ever since.
    Diana @ Live Lean Eat Green recently posted…Memorial Day Fruit SkewersMy Profile

  5. says

    THIS IS COOL! :) Seriously, I really love this, because I think I’ve realized how so many of those things have coalesced for me as I’ve grown up. It’s amazing how God makes us with different talents and they really just grow and develop as we get older. I was also a picky eater when I was younger, but now I love trying new things and new recipes. This blog for you Christina is like the blossoming of all those things you did as a little child.
    Emily recently posted…What Katie Taught Me About LifeMy Profile

  6. says

    I’m still in high school and am nearing that scary stage where I’m supposed to “magically figure stuff out”, so this is really helpful to me. I hope to use your examples and advice to draw connections in my own life. And maybe, just maybe, I might figure a little bit of it out!

    • says

      Girlfriend you are not supposed to magically figured stuff out by college! So please don’t think that haha! College is a time where you learn a lot, learn about yourself and what you want/don’t want. So enjoy the journey <3

  7. says

    Love this connection! While I have no idea what I’m going to be doing career-wise, now I’m extra-interested to see what it turns out to be and how it relates. I know when I was growing up, I read and wrote a ton, made up my own cooking shows, and was fairly obsessed with the idea of bake sales… which never made a whole lot of money but I loved them anyway. 😊
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Five Friday Favorites 05/27/16My Profile

  8. Charmi Mistry says

    Hello, Sweety here..
    i just checkout your article : “HOW YOUR CHILDHOOD INTERESTS COULD PREDICT YOUR CAREER PATH”
    and its mind blowing so same way i am pursuing my masters and i wanted some data regarding the same topic so could you please help me in this data gathering?
    Thanks :)

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