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Out of Our Minds
Monday, May 03, 2004 11:45 PM
The Forum: Finding Your Voice and Calling
Anita Sharpe on Passionate Work

If you ever took Latin, you know that voice and vocation share the same root. Your voice -- or who you are at your essence -- sometimes screams and sometimes whispers, but it always tells you what you should do with your life.

That was obvious when we were eight years old; what we wanted to be when we grew up was what we most loved to do or think about. But as years passed, other voices drowned out our own.

Writer Ray Bradbury tells a story about loving Buck Rogers more than anything when we was in the fourth grade -- until other kids teased him out of his passion. 'He was gone, and suddenly life simply wasn't worth living,' he writes in Zen in the Art of Writing. But unlike many of us, Bradbury at age nine chose his passion over the opinions of his peers. 'My life has been happy ever since. For that was the beginning of my writing science fiction.'

Similarly, cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, speaking at a college graduation, gave the graduates this advice: 'When you remember what you love, you will remember who you are. If you remember who you are, you can do anything.'


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Halley - 5/5/2004 1:52:31 PM
Great post -- thinking about this -- will write soon. H
anita - 5/4/2004 2:38:29 PM

In many ways, we see Worthwhile as addressing the heart and soul of our work lives.

I love the rubber-band metaphor.
Dave J. - 5/4/2004 12:49:41 PM
Is this a spiritual blog or a business blog? And about kids sports. Seriously, I enjoy how you are meshing the subjects so it becomes a blog about life.

Last Sunday, I sat in church listening to a missionary using rubber-band as a metaphor for ourselves, which seems to fit here. Our passion gives us the strength to stretch ourselves. Ignore it and life loses its meaning.
anita - 5/4/2004 11:45:56 AM

I love that passionate comment, particularly the emphasis on 'why,' because you're right -- if we can identify the underlying process of what we love, we can find many paths that satisfy.
Curt Rosengren - 5/4/2004 11:12:14 AM
Now THIS is a theme that's near and dear to my heart!

I would go so far as to say we aren't truly alive until we find (and express!) that voice, that calling, that passion.

The energy differential between an 'OK' career and one that makes your eyes blaze is huge. I've experienced it myself, and I've seen it again and again in others.

It's not rocket science either. It gets down to doing something that truly comes from the core of who you are, rather than wearing the mask that most people wear on a daily basis in their jobs.

Over the course of my work with people on this, I've come up with my own definition for passion. It's 'the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do.' That simple.

The key, then, is answering the question, 'Who am I? What makes me tick? What lights my fire at a core level?' (OK, that's more than one question - but you get the idea). Once you know that, you can start exploring the possibilities and evaluating the options.

There's a common conception out there that we have ONE thing that we're meant to do, and if we can't do that we might as well heave a huge sigh and resign ourselves to a ho-hum career. The reality is, for most of us their are any number of paths that would be perfect for us.

If we figure out what the underlying characteristics of the things we really love are - not just what we love doing, but WHY - we can use that as a point of departure for brainstorming career possibilities that include those.

I could (and often do) go on and on and on about this, but for the sake of brevity I'll stop and take a breath here. ;)
Avi Solomon - 5/4/2004 10:20:11 AM
Ray Bradbury is still going strong here:)
Currently reading his collection of essays 'Futuremorrow'


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