What is your passion? What activities make you light up? What do you love to do so much that you’d do it for free?
So … do you do it?
Is your passion part of your life? Do you do this thing that you love to do in your present job? Does your daily life reflect who you really are and what you care about?
These were some of the questions I asked a group of administrative assistants from small, independent colleges all over western North Carolina. What I found out wasn’t a huge surprise. Most of these women are worn down from doing for others—whether it’s their boss at work or their family at home. They never give a thought to what makes them glad. Their own desires are put aside, seemingly forgotten.
They’ve stopped dreaming.
I challenged them to find what brings them joy and to pursue it. I quoted C.S. Lewis: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
I gave the women a short quiz to help identify their passion. Maybe this will help you, too.
- When I was a kid, I dreamed of being …
- I can’t pass up a book or movie about …
- If I played hooky from work for a week, I’d spend the time doing …
- Most people don’t know this about me, but I really enjoy doing …
- If I could star in my own how-to TV show, it would be about …
- I lose track of time when I do …
Do you see a theme with your answers? If you’re still not sure, think about your innate gifting, the strengths and abilities you were born with, the things you think you do well and others say you do well and you feel good about yourself when you do them. And then there are your experiences. Think of the things you’ve tried and felt like all cylinders were clicking, the area where you’re the go-to person among your friends, the things you do where you might feel like you’re being who you’re meant to be. Find those activities.
Gifting and experiences together should make you glad. Don’t you wish you could spend more time doing the things that produce gladness?
Frederick Buechner writes about choosing a vocation, or in this case, an avocation. He says that the voice we should listen to most is the voice we think we should listen to least. That’s the voice of our own gladness. “What can we do that makes us the gladdest, what can we do that leaves us with the strongest sense of sailing true north and of peace, which is much of what gladness is?”
I told the women that writing makes me glad. As a child, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d immediately shout out, “An author!” And yet I let this desire lie dormant for years. I told the room full of women that when I turned 40 I took stock of how I’d invested the first half of my life and realized I wasn’t being a good steward of my shrunken, rusty, dust-covered talent. I can’t tell my story apart from my journey of faith, because that’s who I am. I made a promise to God, shortly after I moved back to the States from Eastern Europe, that I was going to make some changes in my life and begin to pursue my passion. And I believe he opened the way for me.
Those changes involved writing and learning how to write better. It’s taken a lot of sacrifice, but I’m so glad I’ve pursued this path. In my administrative assistant job, I started to make it known what I like to do, even though no one asked. That has resulted in a couple of projects coming my way, projects that have involved not only writing, but art (my undergrad degree). And the biggest accomplishment is that I’ve nearly completed a Master’s degree in writing!
Remember the Chariots of Fire film? Olympic runner Eric Liddell said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”
What is it for you? What do you do that causes you to feel his pleasure? How can you put that passion into your job and life? I hope you do. It’ll make all the difference.