I found my passion while on my knees begging, absolutely begging for a sign, wisdom, clarity, or at the very least, a speck of dust showing me I’d been heard. It was a desperate moment.
I’d left my corporate job — the one with people, perks, and passion — because I no longer believed what I was saying on their behalf. I knew that if I could not do my best for them, it could not be the best for me. I didn’t leave after slammed doors and a scene in the boardroom, although my mind played out that scene. I left slowly and quietly, with a plan to finally, after years of growth, become my dream.
I wanted to be, and I figured out how to be, an insurance agent.
As a little girl, I remembered the large brunette woman who was an agent. For some reason, her job looked perfect. She sat behind a desk, wore a nice scarf and well, that is all I noticed. I was a kid after all. Then, I met my father-in-law. He was a larger-than-life man to me. He had hundreds of friends, laughter as big as the sky and a confidence I still don’t understand. This is the man who would sit in his underwear during dinner with friends and family, and then he would get up and go to bed while company was still at the table. He would tell it like it is, being sure everyone knew his opinion, and then he would bask in the love shared by all who knew him. His job? You guessed it. Insurance.
If I could just sell insurance, well, I could have all that, except the underwear and going to bed early part.
I spent years learning one thing and then the next —perfecting my people skills, learning everything about sales, being absolutely passionate about each of my roles, always coming out on top and learning how to help others do the same.
There I was — at long last — an agent. Cue the trumpets.
And … cut the trumpets.
My sales were phenomenal. It’s easy to sell when you are living your dream, but I was easily and constantly distracted by coaching others on the team. I was in my happiest moments, coaching the whole team, and once, even coaching the business hosting the enrollment.
Coaching and training — it had snuck up and become my thing.
So, I left insurance to take up coaching. Cue the trumpets! Wait, wait, wait! Where are the masses of people? Quiet the trumpets. I need a crowd. I need creativity. And, I love to travel. What in the world am I supposed to be doing? That is what I asked when I hit my knees.
And, this is what I was shown. Two people painting on one cup in the ceramic studio In Good Glazes that I owned with my daughter, Liz.
Cue the trumpets. Begin the Google search. Assemble the test and there it is, the moment we all are waiting for when we are looking for our passion and our purpose — the halleluiah chorus. Each person I have coached to their passion has heard it. The sound of angels singing and the light filling their hearts. Passion. Purpose. They have glorious arrivals and that moment generally shakes up everything in our brains.
For me, I designed the process I use at my business, Canvas Creek Team Building. It is everything I wanted from insurance and a million things more. Everything I have learned has come full circle. It is my Venn diagram of joy. I could never have skipped ahead to this stage in life because I would never have understood or been prepared to execute the plan. I wish the journey hadn’t required hitting my knees delivering such a hefty bruising.
So, how do you find your passion, being a wise person who is reading instead of jumping without clarity?
Go for a nice long drive. No radio. No passengers. Get in the car with just you, the road and the wisdom you can find just rolling across the land. Driving quiets your mind and lets creative ideas find fertile ground.
Stop seeking. Instead of praying, thinking, talking, worrying about your passion, do something creative. Color with actual crayons. Puddle paint on a canvas and see what happens. Sculpt and gather what I call ‘Play-dough wisdom.’ Simply take time to do something completely different, and you will create new thoughts.
Embrace Ikigai. Ikigai combines the Japanese word ‘iki,’ meaning life, and ‘gai,’ meaning value or worth. You can do this by noting each moment you feel truly alive. When does your heart soar so high that you forget to eat? List things you value, things like community, peace, creativity, and then list the values that are naturally present on your best days.
These actions get you ready to begin where I ended, with a Venn diagram. A Venn diagram is a series of intersecting circles that show relationships and purpose identifiers. Seldom does your first Venn diagram result in your perfect answer, but each diagram you create will bring clarity and structure to a process that can seem chaotic and messy.
Educationworld.com has a template or two for a downloadable Venn diagram that is easy to use. If you click on the site, just search Venn and the template links will pop up. There are even more robust Venn diagram makers available with a quick Google search.
Why does this process work? It gets you thinking about what makes you happy, what the world needs and the role that just might fit both purposes.
So dream a little. Once you’re ready to put pen to paper, in the large circles answer the question, What do you love? What does the world need? What can you be paid for? What are you good at? As the circles intersect, add in mission, vocation, profession, and passion. Working through these circles, your purpose will start to become more clear. You will feel centered. You’ll be able to write your purpose in the center of the diagram and then, all that will be next in your journey will be the first step.
I did not use a Venn diagram. I used nothing but my blind enthusiasm and landed in the right spot. Working backward, however, I see how beautifully my passions, my gifts, and what the world needs, fit into the diagram. The result? Doing work that is exactly my Ikigai. Cue the trumpets every single time I am with a team.
When you find your Ikigai, it will be a beautiful moment. Trumpets, choruses, and soul-filling peace will complete you. I have a feeling you are right there. You are seeking, looking and working towards your passion-filled purpose. Do not let it slip away from you. You need it. The world needs it. Ikigai = life + value. You, wonderful you, living your purpose. I can’t wait to see it!