In this week’s Hooked on Books, we’re thrilled to feature a children’s book that tackles one of the tougher questions in life. It was written by Dr. Rumeet Billan, who was kind enough to answer some questions for us about inspiration, career paths, and enabling our children to become who they want to become in life.
Dr. Billan is a local author who lives in Oakville. She has been profiled as a Generation Entrepreneur by Forbes.com and she was just named one of Canada’s Top 10 Power Women. We loved her insights on becoming an entrepreneur and this age-old question, and we hope you enjoy the answers as much as we did.
Tell us about the person who you consider your greatest inspiration in life?
I’m going to bend the rules here and share that I have two inspirations in my life: my mom and my son! My mom has shown me the importance of hard work, education, and above all, kindness. I admire her intelligence, dedication, and resilience. My four-year-old son inspires me to want to be the best that I can be, while always accepting me just as I am. He doesn’t care about what I do professionally and what my title is, he cares about who I am, and how I show up every single day. He inspires me to be curious, to play, and to have fun. He is my everyday reminder of love, life, and everything I want to do and be. I am grateful to have them in my life.
Did you ever struggle with figuring out what you wanted to become?
I may still be struggling with that question! In grade six, we were what we wanted to be, and it would be included in the school yearbook. At that time, I said I wanted to be a Lawyer, even though I didn’t know what that actually meant or entailed. Later on, in high school, there was pressure to know what you wanted to become so that you could choose your courses accordingly. After speaking to my guidance counsellor, the field of human resources made sense at the time. I didn’t imagine that I would (or could) become an entrepreneur or an author. It’s interesting how career paths may not always align and knowing that it’s okay that we may not have it all figured out is important to our growth.
When faced with a challenge, what steps would you recommend a child take in addressing the problem?
For children, being mindful of the language they are using to describe the challenge and their role in it is incredibly important. For guardians, not minimizing the problem is just as important. When my son is faced with a challenge, as minor as I may view it to be, it’s big for him. I always remind him, that he's going to get through it, and I’m intentional about the language we use to discuss the problem and solve for it. We also have an “I got this” thing that we do, and I can literally see his body language change, and the difference it makes.
What’s the best way we as parents can encourage our future entrepreneurs at home?
Create an environment where failure is not feared. An environment that encourages learning from mistakes. This is how we grow and find meaning from the challenges that we face. It contributes to thriving!
Tell us about your book!
Who Do I Want To Become? is for anyone, of any age, who has been stumped by the question of what they’re going to be when they grow up. A class project is due, and Dylan is struggling with the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Ultimately, he realizes that it’s who you are that matters the most. This book is a new take on a question asked time and time again. One that invites us to discover something wonderful about ourselves that has nothing to do with what you want to be and everything to do with who you are and who you want to be.
Be sure to pick up a copy of this great read this summer. We’ll be giving away one copy to a lucky winner, too!
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