Celia Ward, the author of A Woman’s Guide to Having It All, Life Lessons to Live By, said something in her book that jumped off the page and into my heart. Her words touched me so deeply I actually yelled out, “Hell yes!” That's why I feel called to share her words with you right here right now.
“When we're born we all have unique gifts to share with the world. Throughout our lives we are often thrown off track by taking a job that is safe and has great benefits but isn’t fulfilling, we aren’t passionate about it and it doesn’t serve our purpose. We may be good at it. We may be the best at it. That doesn’t mean that is your gift.”
We receive so many messages from from everyone in our lives. My parents said to me once that it doesn’t matter if I like my job or not, as long as it has health benefits. They told me that most people don’t like their jobs and that’s life.
Is it? Is that life? Are we put on this earth to work 40-80 hours a week doing something we don’t like just so we can get a decent paycheck and receive health benefits? Are we put on this earth to work really hard at something so when we’re in our 60s we can start living? Is it better to play it safe and have a job that's secure than it is to take risks and live a life of passion and purpose?
Thinking this was the truth, I applied for a job as a dance teacher in a public school. The job had amazing health benefits, a steady paycheck, I was putting money into a 401(k) and my parents were on cloud nine. For a moment I thought, "Heck yeah! I made it!"
After the excitement wore off, every day I went to work I dreaded it. I actually would pray to get in a car accident on the way to work. I would sit really close to the kids who weren’t feeling well so I would maybe catch what they had. I hurt my back one day and the doctor told me I couldn’t go to work for a week. I actually cheered in his office. Is that what life is about?
Sometimes there are people in our lives who tear us down by not supporting the amazing unique gifts we have to give to the world. They may or may not be doing it on purpose. It may be what they were taught and they think they're doing what's best for you. Those people can momentarily destroy our confidence so badly we start to believe we don’t have any special gifts at all. When this happens it leads us down a path that's not very happy or fulfilling, and if you don’t take the steps to change, it won’t end well.
We're meant to live lives full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles. That's what we were put on this earth to experience. Think about what excites you. What are you bursting at the seams to share with others? Do you have an amazing skill you love to do and could do all day, every day? Do you have a talent that could be used serve others? What does your inner voice tell you?
Experiment with interests you may have been afraid to go for and are hiding deep down within you. See what happens. The sweet spot is when you recognize what you love to do, then work your ass of at it. Just because this is your gift doesn’t mean it comes easy. You have to work at it everyday.
When you figure that out, you can experiment with how those skills can be a part of your life and part of your journey.
Some people are born with clarity and know right away what they're going to do. For others takes much longer.
You might find that you're very talented at something, but it doesn’t bring you any joy. That is not your purpose.
Your purpose is something you kick ass at that brings you great amounts of joy.
Everyone wants to be able to do work that uses their own unique gifts. We all want the universe to be like, “Yo! You're doing the right thing and here are the signs to let you know that’s true.” Be patient. It’s all about the journey of finding your gift and using it to share with the world the best version of you.
The world needs us to rise to the occasion and be the best versions of ourselves in this very moment so we can give back. We must never push or force this. We must be present with every step we take and grateful for it. As my friend Cora Poage so eloquently stated, “It doesn’t matter how big a step you take, as long as it’s in the right direction.”