I posted this Danielle LaPorte quote on Facebook the other day and while I love Facebook it's not the best tool for gauging people's responses. Some days people don't see the post, some days they don't connect with it, some days they love it but don't feel like commenting. This was one of those quotes that I felt was really important but also really hard to process. There wasn't a lot of response so I'm wondering if maybe you're like me and this hit a nerve but it might have taken too much brain power to really stop and think about (it was the last week of school after all!).
Many of us go into school and careers thinking about what we want to be when we grow up and our ideas are based on image, money, travel, and what we see that feels good for other people. Sadly, I believe that at the young age of 18 it's pretty much impossible to know what it is that "lights you up", especially when it comes to choosing a career path. So we go to school, we get jobs, we start businesses, and then we have that moment when we realize we love working alone in our home office but we hate managing payables, or we love the kids we teach at school but we are completely uninterested in the topic, or maybe we are sick to our stomach heading out the door to work each morning and leaving our kids in someone else's care but we need the paycheck. So we continue on, not lighting up.
The good news/bad news is...it takes us awhile to get to know ourselves and it's hard because we're a moving target. What you were interested in when you were 20 (or even yesterday for that matter) may not be what you're interested in now. If it is, then you are one of the lucky ones, you knew all along at your very core, what it is that makes your heart happy.
So on my quest to figure out what makes me happy way down deep, I've become a professional personality test taker. I've done them all, even the free ones in Cosmo magazine. I'm an introvert in some situations but an extrovert in others, I like to work by myself but I get my inspiration from others, I am motivated by reward and recognition yet I don't like to be the center of attention...you get where I'm going here? Confusing. On Sunday I am Princess Di, Monday I am Sheryl Sandberg, and Tuesday I am Kim Kardashian. <sigh>
Fortunately I got the opportunity to witness a real life personality test last week, I worked at my son's school for Field Day. My 20 year old daughter and I ran the Gunny Sack/Shoe Kick station (you're totally reminiscing right now aren't you?). Remember "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum? It's true.
The cutest little kindergartners came through and as I helped a sweet tiny girl into a gunny sack that seemed to swallowed her whole she kept repeating, "Is this a race? Cuz I don't like races. Is this a race? I don't really like to do races. Is this a race? Do I have to win? Is this a race?" I told her all she needed to do was hop hop hop like a bunny over to her friend on the other side. She seemed okay with that but that little girl never smiled once, it's as if I had asked her to share her very favorite doll with the class mean girl.
Something tells me she won't be playing in the WNBA when she grows up and not just because she's little.
She doesn't have the competitive DNA. It's totally okay, I don't really have it either unless I'm competing with myself. I hate that there always has to be a winner and a loser, especially when it comes to kids. And by the way can we re-define or create a new word for loser? There's just no nice way to say "You're the loser" or even "You didn't win". It all implies that, well...that you're a loser.
That was a little off topic, my point is, what lights you up is built in to you, it's in your DNA. I believe you are born with it, it comes from somewhere way down deep, the trouble is it's hard to get to. That's why it takes us so long to figure it out. Years and years of trying to get access to that control center, trying different keys, trying to pick the lock, and sometimes getting out the crow bar to pry that sucker open.
I don't have to tell you when you you've finally broken in, you know. You always know. You can feel it. It feels good, and easy even when it's hard, and peaceful, and right.
Cheers to Kindergarten and crow bars:)
With courage and kindness,