What did you want to be when you grew up? Part 3

Today we have the third post in the series curated by Stephanie Florence, 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, reflecting on how childhood dreams affect the people we become. Read the first installment here and the second installment here.


Whitney Johnson, From Pianist to Investor

“When I was really young, around 8 years old, I thought I wanted to be a concert pianist. But at about 10 years old I realized that I didn’t really want to be a concert pianist. After that, I don’t think I really knew what I wanted to be except for a vague notion that I would get married and have children because that’s what women in my demographic did. That absolutely affected what I wanted to become because from the time I was between 8-10, until I was 28, I didn’t have any strong career direction. Which is why when I finally ‘woke up’ at 28 years old, and wanted to get a real job, I had no business credentials, connections or confidence. And why, I had to move on to Wall Street through the disruptive secretarial back door.” –Whitney Johnson, 40-something, investor, entrepreneur, author and coach


Opal Vadhan – From Actor to Action

“I think the real question is what didn’t I want to be? As soon as I could walk, I was dancing and loved attention. And as part of my Indian cultural upbringing, I thought was going to be a Bollywood dancer. Then one day, I remember telling my parents that I wanted to be the first female President…and I wanted to do that to help people. A few years later, after watching afternoon TV with my Mom, I wanted to be a television host on The View. That dream stuck with me for a while. In 7th grade we had to memorize a speech from a prominent person to ourselves. I chose Barbara Walters. I dressed up as her and gave a whole speech and presentation on her. Then the dream of having my own show came along. I wanted to be Oprah and have “The Opal Show.”

IMG_8608My life was filled with dreams for myself. No matter what career I thought I wanted, I always wanted to have an impact. Even though the people around me would constantly doubt my dreams and encourage me to take the “safe” route, kept chasing my dreams…unrealistic or not.

At 21, I believe I’m on the path to exceeding my wildest dreams, but I don’t know what’s next. Yet I always have a plan and path to accomplish my dreams. Recently life gave me an unexpected opportunity that wasn’t part of my plan. As a result, I see my future dreams changing and I’m slowly getting used to that.

It’s okay to not have a plan, because some of the best things in life are unexpected. But it’s always important to continue to dream, and chase your dream. I still have a dream of changing the world and making an impact. I want to write a book, I want to motivate and inspire every child out there to follow their dreams, and I want to make a difference – no matter where my career path takes me, those dreams will always be consistent.” –Opal Vadhan, 20-something, student and freelancer reporter

Did a younger version of yourself lead you a particular direction in your career? We’d love to hear your story in the comments or in your own post. Stay tuned next week for Part 4 in this series.

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