Last week I wrote about finding passion in your life’s work and how I, over the years, never thought about passion in my work. In my blog, I questioned why some people seem to always focus on their passions and why others (like me) don’t. If you didn’t read it, then click here to read as it sets the stage for what I am about to tell you.
As you’ve read, I thought that the decisions I made over my lifetime about my work have always been made on what I was good at and where I could get a good job. When I retired I was asked “what are you passionate about? when were you the happiest in your career?” Then, and only then, did I think about passion and I easily answered “I want to help women feel good about themselves.”
When was I the happiest at work?
When I reflect back, I was happiest at work when I led a team of people who felt good about their work, felt they were being valued, challenged, learning something, and having fun. I also had a special affinity to helping women. I worked in a man’s world and when another female came along I wanted to help her navigate that world.
When several of my female team members urged me to become a “personal stylist” when I retired, I laughed! They said “Kathy, I would love for you to take me shopping and show me how to dress like you dress.” Well, needless to say, I thought about that long and hard as I was deciding what to do after retirement. I liked putting outfits together, I liked shopping and I was good at it! So here again, I was considering something that I liked and was good at but never thought I was passionate about.
My sudden realization
It wasn’t until two weeks ago when I started focusing on passion, reading articles about how to find your passion, and talking to people that everything became crystal clear.
I suddenly realized that I had focused on my passion my entire career!
Remember how I told you early on that I wanted to be a teacher? I led the Future Teachers of America club at my high school. I always helped my classmates with their math homework. In fact, last year, I went back to my home town and visited a classmate. I had lunch with her and her husband who I hadn’t seen for some 40 years. The first thing he said to me was “I remember you – you always helped me with math.” I smiled. I felt really good – he remembered me because I helped him.
Even though, I never ended up in front of a classroom, I have always “coached’ people my entire life. Back in the day, we had secretaries and then assistants – I know 3 of these women went to college and graduated while they worked for me and then went on to other careers.
I also look back and several times in my career, I was given the employees who needed special coaching. One time, my boss said “Kathy, if anyone can help him turn this around it is you.”
During my career, I was part of the Project Management Institute and I was a mentor to several young project managers. When I first retired, I mentored math students at a charter school in Providence. Last year, I just taught 40 women at TAPIN (a local non-profit) how to use a new computer system. Are you sensing a common theme here?
What I have finally realized is that I’ve always loved teaching, coaching, helping people feel good about themselves in one way or the other. That is my passion!
I didn’t realize it as I always thought a passion was something artistic or creative or something that would make people say “wow”. I only had to put “two plus two together” (pun on math!) to conclude that just helping people feel good about themselves in many different situations or ordinary life was my passion!
My advice if you are struggling to find your passion
My take away in all of this is that, if you are struggling to find your passion, think back on your life and remember what you wanted to be, where you received the most joy and see how they can apply to your life and your work today. It doesn’t have to be something exotic. It could be something as simple as “helping people feel good about themselves” as I discovered. Just remember back and you might be surprised by what has been right under your nose all along!
I would love to hear your comments about finding your passion in life.
LOOK GREAT | FEEL GREAT | DO GREAT!