I turned 40 this past May (2010). All the days leading up to it, and the days that followed, seemed like any other day. I didn’t feel impacted by entering a new decade of life one iota.
But everyone kept talking about it. And more than talking about it, they kept asking me what it felt like. I got a lot of, “Wow! 40! How’s that feel?” And, “Do you feel wiser?” And more, “What can you tell me you’ve learned, now that you’re 40?”
So, what did this highly introspective person do? I became even more introspective, thinking, well maybe, just maybe, there really is something to this change in number. Surely people aren’t just trying to annoy me.
As much as I felt that nothing had changed, I had to admit, there was a little nagging coming from somewhere. Something very gently tugging at me. It was so subtle at first I didn’t recognize it… until I did. All of these questions and the mind chatter I had created because of them, had awoken someone whom I thought I had long since buried, or at least hidden very well: my Passion Phantom. Corny as it sounds, really, that’s what she’d become, the one who evaded my constant question: What Is My Purpose?? I had been chasing her for years, only to be evaded and confused by her so many times that I did what I do best, and buried her again. But now here she was, and this time I was more determined than ever to figure it out, once and for all. I mean, come on, I was 40. Surely that counts for something… according to everyone.
I decided to take a different approach. No more meditating, I had already done plenty of that. No more journaling. No more going within. I’d do something I had never done before. I signed up for a workshop. An intensive three day workshop that would help me see the light and point me in the right direction. Whew! My passion/purpose would finally be unveiled to me in three short days!!
Now, I must say, it was a fabulous workshop. The experience, the take-aways, the insights I walked home with were incredible. I learned a lot about myself. But no, I left still not knowing my passion.
I later came to the conclusion that I was defective — at least as it related to this topic. And I decided to move on, determined that the phantom would remain a phantom. But with one slight change on my part. Instead of burying her, pretending she didn’t exist, I made a conscious decision to let go. I would no longer give this notion of passion any more energy.
Fast forward several months. I was on my way to the store, listening to XM Satellite radio. Dr. Oz was on. He and Dr. Roizen were interviewing this guy named Gary Vaynerchuk. They were discussing social media. I remember thinking that if I had only caught the show from the beginning, I would understand why two medical doctors were discussing social media with an entrepreneur on a medical show. ??? My attempt to figure out why Gary V. was being interviewed soon didn’t matter anymore. I was engrossed in what he had to say. This guy was talking to ME. But how was that possible? I wasn’t big into social media; I didn’t care about that sort of thing. I had no desire to become an entrepreneur. Yet I found myself listening so intently, that I didn’t want to get out of the car. So I didn’t. I finished listening to the rest of the show, as I turned my car around and drove to Border’s to purchase Gary’s book CRUSH IT!
I had to learn more about the passion he referred to as “living in our DNA.” What does that mean? Just last year I took Anatomy and Physiology and my professor talked quite a bit about DNA. I don’t recall her ever mentioning DNA and passion in the same sentence. [Donna, I know you’re reading this, so correct me if I’m wrong. You never mentioned those two together, correct?] Yet Gary spoke at length about passion and DNA and it was actually starting to make sense.
Fast forward a day or so. The book is now read. I understand the concept of passion being in your DNA. I’m ready. I sit quietly, and BOOM. There it is. No lie. I began to laugh. Or was it cry? Whatever. I couldn’t believe it had been right there in front of me all the time and I had been searching and searching like a fool. See, I was searching in the wrong place. I thought it had to look a certain way, so I wasn’t looking with my eyes wide open.
Very simply, MY PASSION IS CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE. That’s what I LIVE for. Connecting with people is what gives me energy and what helps me breathe. And with the whole concept of Trust Life Today (TLT), I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that I like connecting with people on a rich and meaningful level. That doesn’t mean I can’t talk hair and nails, too. But I can’t talk ONLY hair and nails. There has to be more. I have to be learning and growing from the connection with other people, and ideally, I’d like the other person to be learning and growing through me also.
Now at this point, if you’re reading this post and are disappointed because my passion ended up falling short for any of the following reasons, here are some 40 year old’s words of wisdom for you:
1. If my passion was too anti-climactic for you — It’s MY passion, not yours, and I’m REALLY excited about it, you don’t have to be. (And I hope you feel this way too once you realize yours.)
2. If you thought it would fall into the category of a job or a career that perhaps would also apply to you, but doesn’t, that’s very inconvenient, I realize. But YOU have to do the work, no one can do this for you.
3. If you had visions that my passion would tie directly to money, and since it doesn’t appear to (on the surface), you don’t see the point, well, sit tight.
Here’s the kicker — pay attention. Another thing Gary V. speaks to at length is how any passion can be monetized. Any passion. [He even gives a ridiculous example of a passion for worms to make his point.] If this is the point that has disappointed you, and you want to find your passion, and you want to link it to something you can monetize, then I highly recommend you pick up his book. Short book. Easy read. Nice lay out. But you must be willing to let go of old thinking. Things don’t have to look a certain way. Eyes wide open is key.
And in my opinion, Letting Go and Trusting Life will do you a world of good too.