When I Grow Up...

Remember when we were kids and used to dream of what we wanted to be when we grew up? What no one told us, is that as adults, a lot of us would still be trying to figure out who we were and what we wanted to do even after we were ‘grown up’. You see, there’s no handbook for life and we’re taught to believe we’ll grow up, figure ourselves out and live happily ever after. Except, it doesn’t really work that way at all. We are way more complex than that and so our lives, what we enjoy, our goals, all of that will change (probably a few times in our lives). That’s OK, it doesn’t mean we’ve failed or we’re lost, all it means is that your path looks different from the next person’s, and honestly, I think that’s the point.

Many assume that success is the result of some secret formula that only a select few have figured out; I'll share that secret with you. Are you ready? The secret is.....there ISN'T ONE! That's right, there is really very little mystery to pursuing one's dreams and achieving success. There is, however, an unbelievable amount of hard work, dedication, determination and drive required. But, and here's the key, work doesn't have to be a four letter word, not when it's getting you a step closer to your dream.

For me, I found my passion totally by accident. I had just been diagnosed with a chronic illness and was struggling with unrelenting feelings of fear, anger, uncertainty, frustration; you name it, I was feeling it. This started me out on a journey of self exploration, because I was beginning to realize in 3 decades on this earth, I didn’t know who the heck I was and I had been living to fulfill what others wanted for me instead of what I wanted. Looking back on this now, I’m so grateful for getting sick (I know, but I really mean it), because it forced me to stop ‘going through the motions’ and start truly living.

 On this journey, I took time to get to know myself. Who was I, what did I like, believe, and, knowing that so much I had always taken for granted would now forever be out of my control because of my illness, what really mattered, and what didn’t. Instead of constantly asking 'WHY', I started asking 'WHY NOT'. From that journey, I found a new sense of focus, all the unimportant stuff melted away and for the first time I could clearly see ME and the path ahead. With this clarity came a decisiveness and a joy that I never thought possible. Instead of waiting for an opportunity, I decided to start making my own.

While I can only say what worked for me in my situation, here are some tips that I hope you will find helpful:

1. Be honest, I mean REALLY honest with yourself. What do you like to do and what is just not a good fit for you?

2. Be realistic, I know, it's not fun, but its necessary. Every dream, every passion, must have an element of realism. Not every path to your ideal career is for you, but there is one that's right, you just have to find it.

3. Be confident, it makes all the difference. For me, pushing myself (kicking and screaming) out of my comfort zone was both the hardest and best thing I have ever done.

4. Be yourself, because nothing will work if you do not embrace your own inherent value. After all, YOU are the one that determined your passion, YOU are the one that decided to pursue it, and YOU are the one that will make it a success.