Do you know WHAT you want to be when you grow up? Better yet, do you know WHO you want to be when you grow up? It's ironic that many people cannot answer BOTH of those questions. It's when you can answer both of the above questions that life begins to have both purpose and passion. I continue to learn this at my age, but it has taken a lot of time and effort to get to this place. Here's what I have discovered so far:
1. You must have a passion. It doesn't matter what it is as long as you have one. If you are a person who doesn't know what you might have a passion for, then I urge you to take the time to explore your options. This is some tedious work, but it is also fun. Think back to when you were a child at the magical age of 8 years old...who were you and what did you love? Really think hard and gain insights, as this was the age when you were your most 'true' self.
My Dad always thought I should be a journalism major. I appreciated him believing in me, but writing was not something I was absolutely passionate about. Years later, when I discovered coaching, I immediately knew WHAT and WHO I was supposed to be. I had ALWAYS been a coach, but had not yet let it manifest in my life. It turns out that Dad was correct...I do USE writing as a vehicle for my coaching, but it is not my passion. Supporting people in creating a wonderful life is MY passion and MY purpose.
My oldest son, Chris, is 16. He is about to embark into the world of assessments like the SATs and ACTs for future college placement. Like most teenagers (and many adults, myself included for quite some time), he does not yet know what or who he can become. I have stressed to him the significance of pursuing something he can be passionate about, no matter what it is. It does not matter as long as it brings him fulfillment and supports him in being exactly who he is becoming.
One more thing to note about passions...they can change as people evolve. Prior to becoming a coach, my real passion (in spite of doing some other things along the way) was raising my very young children. While that is obviously still a passion for me, I am in a different place now, as are they. My youngest, Anna, is now 11 years old. Because I now have (made) the space to do so, I have been able to shift my passions just a bit in order to fulfill my dream of developing my business.
2. You must overcome limitations. Don't feel alone...we all have those fears and self-defeating behaviors that jump in our path. Some of these are real, but many are creations in our mind...gremlins full of negative self-talk. We can become paralyzed by the past or other people's opinions of us. It's total brainwashing and it is a yucky place to be. Don't fall for it!
But how do we get past these blocks that make us second guess ourselves, our passions and our purpose? Ahhhh. That's the $64,000 question, isn't it? My scientific answer to that is: ANYWAY YOU CAN! :)
Seriously, again, take the time to know yourself. Read, think, meditate, get a coach or someone else who can support you. What are you naturally drawn to? What do people like most about you? What is something you love so much that you totally lose all track of time when you are engaging in it? What brings you joy? Who brings you joy?
Every day I look at my son, Michael, who is 13, and I just marvel. He was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes just over 5 years ago. This is a chronic disease with long-term implications that are really not pleasant. Controlling blood sugar is the key to his health and so he pricks his finger to get a blood sample 4-6 times a day. In addition, he has 2-3 injections of insulin daily. It's a rough life for a kid.
What amazes me is that he has no idea whatsoever that he has some real limitations. He teaches me daily with his attitude. He's a nut, a wild man. He's a jock on a traveling soccer team, a kid who spends 15 minutes putting gel in his one-quarter inch long hair, and a kid for whom the phone never stops ringing. He is passionate about being who he is and he lives LARGE every day!
Limitations? They simply do not exist. They are self-created and they exist only in your mind. Obstacles, yes, they are out there...but they are really only opportunities in disguise. I encourage you to also to think of it in this way and to live LARGE!
3. Perseverance overcomes failure...and failure is just another way of growing. You must keep on. It takes strength, courage and GUTS to persevere and not let the past stop you from moving forward, whether that be with WHO you are or WHAT you are.
If you are doing or being something or someone that is not working in your life, look at it from another angle. Try a different route. Hey! If you've been down one road that didn't work out, then you have narrowed the odds in your favor for the next time. Get clear on exactly who and what you are.
Step out of your comfort zone. Stay away from naysayers and the negative energy that they transmit.
The other option (Is this really an option???) is to remain stagnant. To continue to do the same old thing. To say, "You know, you were right about me...." To never grow, learn or evolve. To live a benign, flat-line life. To be stuuuuuuuuuck. You get the point. As a coach, my passion is supporting others in finding a way to live an AUTHENTIC, fulfilling life. I want to encourage you along your journey! In the words of the U.S. Army, "Be all that you can be!"
Beth Burns is a Professional Life Coach, partnering with motivated people on their personal and professional goals.