“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman
One of my friends called me today, excited to tell me that I had helped her bring her passion to light by sharing the idea to look back at what you were passionate about when you were a child to find out what your passions are as an adult. That made me think about the path that led to where I am today.
I’m passionate about what I do. Every day.
I have been on a journey of self discovery ever since I left the corporate world. Part of that journey was to figure out what I’m passionate about, and to make a living doing it. I wanted to do meaningful work, something that got me excited to get out of bed every morning. So, I read a ton of books about how to discover your passion, I did a bunch of exercises to get in touch with my inner voice, and I tried a lot of new and different things to see what I liked for the past 6 years. Still clueless, I started to think about what I loved as a child, what my creative outlets were, what I enjoyed doing. And that’s when things started to fall into place.
When I was in grade 1, there was a big wall-to-wall reading progress chart at the back of the classroom with a little paper cutout “avatar” for everyone in the class. Every time someone finished reading a book, they would move their avatar forward, closer to the right end of the chart. I remember most of the class being at around the same place on the chart, somewhere near the left end of the sheet, and I was off by myself on the extreme right end, quickly running out of room to chart further progress. That gave me two big clues about my passions: I love to read and I don’t mind standing apart from the crowd.
As I continued to reflect on the things that I enjoyed doing in my younger years, I found that I was an avid reader, and I enjoyed books that required the use of imagination, Watership Down was one of my favorites. At 7 years old, I was creating recipes and baking from scratch without any help or supervision. At around that same age, I joined a bible group because I was interested in learning about where we came from, and who we are. I also became a card carrying member of Green Peace because I was very concerned about the plight of the whales. The more I looked back, the more a reoccurring theme emerged. I couldn’t get enough of the stories that captured my imagination like Alice in Wonderland and Anne of Green Gables. I re-read those books and many more as a young adult, in the elective children’s literature course I took in my senior year of university. And even later, into my early thirties, I loved scrapbooking, and once technology caught up, I loved to create digital scrapbooks and online albums, including documenting history and teaching lessons through my writing. I even found a creative outlet in my corporate life – I became known for my expert spreadsheet skills. I could take a large amount of data and create a report that looked like a piece of art when I was finished.
Reading. Imagination. Self Discovery. Writing. Story Telling. Teaching & Mentoring. Digital Art. Love of Animals. Cooking & Food. Organizing & Reporting Information.
They say that until the age of 7, you are mostly in a theta brain wave state. That’s the state of enhanced creativity, the state you go into when you visualize or meditate, the state where you consciously create your dreams.
If you want to live a life of passion, take a trip down memory lane. Remember what you loved when you were a child, it’ll be the first clue to finding out what you are passionate about now.
Remember you thought you could fly when you were a kid? You can.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!