Thanks to Some Kind of Wild Blog for asking me to contribute! Here is the article I wrote about finding and following my passion.
"Words" have been coming outta the middle of me since before I can remember. I've swallowed them, sought them, used them as weapons (then as tools to heal), inhaled, written, re-written and then wrote them some more. Words anchor me when I'm adrift but it wasn't always like that. The journey to connecting to our Core Passion and Purpose is a Universal endeavor. We're all on that road trip shoving Swedish Fish down our throats and pretending what we just ate was probably a hot dog. My trip is very much like yours. It has involved trial, denial, neglect, gratitude and joy. In an endeavor to help others who may be floundering, let's take this topic to church, shall we.
1. "Use your words": This is step one in living your Truth...JUST TRY! Not trying is the heaviest weight you're gonna place on those shoulders. It's called regret and sits squarely next to grudges, beside animosity and behind anger. We are all desperate to communicate, to be heard, to be valued. I see it in my kids eyes when they are trying to spit out a thought they don't yet have the vocabulary for. I see it in my own eyes when fear wants a seat at my table. Every flippin' day I have to admit "Ya, I probably shouldn't have said that."
Battleplan: Try and try again. Like a kid figuring out how to pronounce "ambulance" correctly, just practice. It's not a perfect solution but doing nothing is a bad idea. Every kid learns how to crack an egg, even with their adult counterparts cringing as they try. I'm going to fall, fail, flub and leave a few shells in my food along the way. I was given this gift for a reason and I believe I will be held accountable in the hereafter for how I did or did not use it. This keeps me anchored to "use my words".
2. "Shut up": I hear this a lot. From myself. From my family. From the world. Sit down, shut up, you know nothing. You are nothing. When WORDS are your passion, 'shut up' is where they go to die. "Shut up" turns to "shut in" turns to "shut off". We all have moments when we listen to forces outside of our own inner chorus begging us to live our Truth. Picture a graveyard (festive, right?) with voices pleading for you to come on in and sit a while. Do nothing. Stay silent. When I listen to those voices and I don't live MY PASSION and MY TRUTH, people get less of me and more of the forfeit version of me. It feels hopeless and empty 'cause it is. Ya, I'll shut up. But my world will turn to gray within days and black within months. Been there, done that.
Battleplan: My intentional thought: "It's possible I know very little. It's probable I can and will learn everything I need to".
3. "Why": Who wants to bet that every kid asks about 7,000 of these questions every month? My experience...I just never stopped asking. I love to learn. I seek information; old, new and forgotten. I accept pauses in understanding and I continue to search. I am an unlearned, unabashed observer.
Battleplan: Get curious and stay that way.
4. "Let your light so shine": Light still exists, even if it goes unnoticed. Wouldn't Comte be proud of that thought? The light is still there even if you ignore it, squish it, set it on fire or the world pounds it relentlessly. It is simply always there. You were born with it. However, having a person take notice of what makes you shine...man, that helps alot.
I was 6 when my dad sat me down with a poem I'd written and told me I had a gift with words and I needed to use it. I was 13 when I used that same gift of words to tell him I hate him. He died 3 weeks later. I was 18 when an author took time to tell me I was capable, smart and genuine. If my writing could stay that way, then it would succeed.
Battleplan: Identifying our Truths is hard. In fact, it's downright unsettling at times, painful even. Once you know them and own them as "you", this is the beginning of accountability. If you aren't blessed to have a person cheering you on, then now is a good time to let you in on a secret....you are going to be your biggest cheerleader or stumbling block. I wish the whole human family had a selfless BFF who told them which dress to buy (or not buy). Even if you don't though, you've got you. Find your North Star. Believe it's there during day, night and change of season 'cause it is. Even if no one else sees it.
WORDS are one of my Core Truths. What are your Truths*? Find it, own it, reclaim it from the English Language. You'll know it when you find it, like the perfect pair of jeans that fit you every time of the month.
Oh...and take heart, Champ! Don't stress if you haven't stumbled upon your "Truth" yet. Opportunities exist all around you to do you, be you and share you. Passions and Personal Truths are as varied as the human race (and thank the Good Man). If your talent is singing, dancing, music or under-water basket weaving then great! If it's patience, endurance, laughter or friendship then BRAVO! Don't just look for the visible talents. Your Truth could be anything and lives everywhere inside of you.
Summary: Try, be authentic, get curious, be accountable.
*This thought process and training come from Jim Hensel of the Mayhem Mindset group. Check him out @mayhemmindset. I usually leave better than I show up when I listen or read his stuff, which is how I measure my time usage.