"Do what you love...and the money will follow,"says author and wise woman, Marsha Sinetar. We've all heard this countless times. But, few of us have yet to attain either the "what you love" or the "money that follows" or both!
On the other hand, some of us have it reversed. We're doing what we hate for the money that follows. It may come in the form of benefits; but even then, money is our bottom line. There's little chance that what we love will follow those dollar signs, so we hold on with all our might to the strands of passion we can tease out of what we're doing for the sake of money.
I've been teaching a college course for nearly 10 years entitled, "Let Your Life Speak: The Language of Passion & Purpose." I encourage and empower students--traditional and nontraditional alike--to explore who they are on the inside before they launch a massive job search, declare a major, or even find a new relationship or a new home. There are scads of tools and techniques available to help people of all ages discover their sense of passion and purpose. So much so, a 15-week course can touch upon only a little of what's out there.
Writer Marie Forleo penned a great article on ways to uncover your passion. Unlike Marie, I believe that stories from our childhood and self-assessments such as the Campbell Interest and Skills Survey can indeed provide indicators of our adult passions. She does hit it on the head, though, when she recommends experience as the best way to find the brightest part of who we are.
Living your passion doesn't require a fulltime job or a vow of poverty. You can explore potential passions through short-term volunteer jobs, free online studies, and local workshops. You can "try on" a passion by shadowing those who are doing what you're interested in or are just intrigued by. You can do informational interviews with others in potential positions and possible fields.
I've done all these things in the circuitous journey to my heart of hearts. At a crossroad in my career, I interviewed 5 people of whose work I felt jealous--a VP of health marketing, an executive director of a local health-related non-profit, an executive director of a for-profit medical megalith, etc. I asked each person the same questions: how they got where they were professionally; what they loved about their current job; what education they had or wished they had; and, what advice they would give someone like me. They all were delighted to share their wisdom and experiences with me.
Years later, before heading to seminary, I shadowed chaplains in hospitals and in Hospice agencies. Each semester I was in school, I participated in temporary opportunities that got me out of the books, out of my head, and gave me tangible, hands-on experience. These real-life stints allowed me to "try on" a wide variety of roles that my degree might encompass.
Along the way, I have learned to pay attention to the things that make my pulse quicken and my heart go pitty-pat. I have learned to say, "No, thank you," to the roles that don't create a positive response in my body and "Yes, please!" to even the littlest thing that stirs my inner fire.
Those internal responses are sometimes faint. At times, the "Yes" is followed by a question mark. But, I make note of it all and stay open to what it might look like if I took one step closer.
A few years ago, that step closer involved enrolling in an art journaling workshop facilitated by the most extraordinary Cyndi Briggs. I didn't know Cyndi or anything about art journaling. I had to drive an hour to get there after a long day as a Hospice chaplain. But, deep down, taking the class felt right.
Before 6 weeks was up, I was doing a happy dance and singing, "I like it! I love it! I want some more of it!" ♪♫ My heart was pitty-patting double time! I had no idea where this newly discovered passion was going to take me. I just knew that it was somehow woven into my DNA, into my fingerprints, and into my soul.
I knew that no matter what, in some way, shape, or form, art journaling had to be part of my life from then on. Slowly and surely, that knowledge and my putting it into practice has led to one major shift, then another and another as I keep following my pulse and my passion, one step at a time. It's been the impetus behind my book, "Me, Myself, & I ~ 28 Days of Creative Self-Love," and I still don't know where it's going to take me!
Have you noticed your pulse speeding up lately? Have you felt your heart expanding a wee bit? What little thing instigated it? How can you say "Yes" to it--even if it's a meek and mild "yes"? Even if it's a tentative "y-e-e-e-s-s-s"? What teeny step can you make that will take you just that much closer to your yes and the possibility of living out your passion and purpose?
Notice your pulse. Listen to your heart. They know what you love to do, and they pointing the way!