Like a number of people I’ve met over the years, one of my brothers, Jonathan, had a career that didn’t completely satisfy him. This left him longing to make a change. The problem was, he wasn’t quite sure what “change” he was looking for.
Every once in a while, he’d throw different ideas, different career paths, at me and ask, “Does this make sense?” As I turned each one over and over in my mind, I always came to the same conclusion. No. It just didn’t feel like the right career for him.
One day he called me and, instead of having that unsure, soul-searching tone in his voice, I could sense a bit of excitement. “You remember how I used to love Lego,” he asked?
Do I remember? He used to sit and play with these tiny blocks for hours and hours on end, building and rebuilding anything his mind let him imagine. “Yes, I remember,” I finally responded, unsure where this conversation was going but loving the passion I could hear in his voice.
“What I’ve discovered is that I love to help people design and build their kitchens.” He’d finally figured out what his “change” was and I was absolutely thrilled for him.
“I love it!” I said in complete excitement. “Of course! You have to do it!”
We all have passions when we’re younger, things we could do all day and night and never get sick of them. For my brother, that involved playing with Lego blocks. For others, it may have been playing sports, dressing up Barbie’s, or any number of things they liked to do as a child.
But, somehow, as we grow up, we start to forget about these things that we enjoyed. We tell ourselves that part of being an adult is moving beyond these childhood activities and doing things that “big people” do. We must find a job, go to work, pay the bills, have and raise a family, and tend to all of our obligations.
Before we know it, our enjoyment for life is sucked out of us as we simply go through the motions, doing what we believe we’re “supposed” to do. We’re no longer having fun because we’ve told ourselves—convinced ourselves—that fun isn’t supposed to be in the equation. Only work. And obligations. And everything else un-fun that comes with growing up.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Actually, it isn’t healthy to be that way.
Who says we can’t take our passions we had when we were younger, passions that still reside within us (even if we’ve stuffed them deep down), and find ways to incorporate them into our careers, making us feel more satisfied as adults? Who says we can’t live a life of passion well into our golden years…even while working? We can!
Take a look at your own past and think of the activities you used to enjoy, the ones you couldn’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to do. Now, think of ways you can incorporate those same activities into your professional life so you can live a life you love.
For instance, maybe you loved dressing up your dolls. Well, what about a career in clothing merchandising or fashion then? Or perhaps you spent every spare minute you had tinkering with toy cars. Why not consider a career in automotive or mechanical engineering?
By figuring out what made your heart flutter many years ago, you may also discover what makes it flutter still today. It’s time to unbury your passions and return them to your world. When you do that, you’ll literally transform your life.