Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finding Your Passion (not the dirty kind…this isn’t that kind of blog)

See the full article HERE.

We got back from Chicago late last night, and all I wanna say about it right now is that I fu**ing love my family. The best. Ever. I’ll probably fill you in on the visit at some point, but not today.

Today, I want to write about this article, called “How to Identify the One Thing You Were Born To Do,” which is a terrible title, but not necessarily a terrible thing to try to figure out . Ross showed it to me today, and it’s been really interesting to talk to him about it. See, we’re just about to do an actual launch of the business. I’m in the process of registering our business name, and we’ve got holds on a couple of website domains so that we can try to really make this happen. Is it jumping the gun? Maybe…but as Ross and I have worked on building this up (me doing the writing and the networking, and him doing the art and creating ideas), we’ve gotten more and more attached to making Paint By Number Parents work as a real business. He is loving painting every day, and I’m remembering that I’ve been a writer (though never really professionally) for a long time. Plus there are piles of other reasons we want to make this happen: we work well together; he’s going to be a stay-at-home dad for a while still; we need some more income but we don’t want E to be in full time childcare; with a new baby on the way at Kelle’s house, Ross is going to have his hands full taking care of kiddos so school may take longer than expected. Plus the whole thing is fun, but I think I mentioned that already.

Anyways, Ross showed me this article today and it got us both thinking about how this project kind of actually fits who we are and what we love. Or, as Steve Olsher puts it, Paint By Number Parents just may be our “what.” Figuring out your passion can apparently be done in three simple steps, which is awesome, and so I’m not only going to go through them myself, but I’m gonna make Ross do it on here too. It’s about time his voice got added in as more than a critic of contemporary music.

We start, of course, with step 1: Answer the Question: What do you love?

Focus on the activities and interactions that lift your soul. Avoid listing skills you’re good at simply because you’ve practiced them over time. Now, dig even deeper. Remember a time years ago when you laughed hysterically? What triggered the laughter? And as an adult, what gives you goose bumps? Maybe it’s the moment when you come up with a really good idea and realize you’ve found the solution you’ve been looking for. Tie the goose bumps moment to descriptions that encapsulate the activity in noun or adjective form — such as singing, teaching or healing. When recalling a special moment, try not to be too literal; look for the subtext. For example, imagine you have a fond memory of an evening spent bowling with your grandmother. Instead of writing “bowling with Grammy” on your list, broaden it to “investing time with a beloved family member.”

This one is pretty easy, at least to start. I love teaching because I love explaining things…if you’ve ever hung out with me after I’ve had more than one glass of white wine, you know this. I just can’t help myself – the words are out of my mouth before my brain has a chance to tell me that no one’s interested in the love affairs of Louis XIV. I love writing, and telling stories. I love reading. So. Much. And cooking. I really like cooking, especially with Ross, making things with much too much butter. I love my family, and playing board games with them after dinner. I love wine – the flavors, the varieties, the fanciness, the opportunity to make fun of the fanciness. I love gossip, which means I love news, and politics and soap operas. I love cuddling, and capers (the sneaky kind, not the salty kind). I love terribly good music (If Neil Diamond and MC Hammer teamed up together to cover Debbie Gibson songs, I just might die in an explosion of glitter and snarky bliss.)

Next, step 2: Answer the Question: What do you loathe?

If you’re clear about which activities you despise, you can establish a strong foundation for moving your life forward by starting to let them go. Whatever it is that pushes your buttons (in a bad way), write them down. Even if you worry that others might see these things as petty, include them. The key is to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Now, reflect on why you deplore an activity. Tie these moments to descriptions that encapsulate the activity in noun or adjective form — for example, cleaning, watching TV, eating unhealthy food, being around miserable people, shopping.

Oooooh, fun game. Ok, I hate: people who are in the way (seriously, you don’t have to stop your shopping cart in the middle of the aisle, make small talk with the clerk at the DMV, walk three people wide on the sidewalk, or drive slowly); defeatism; technology that doesn’t work; being out of touch with the people I love; spiders; intolerance, or lack of compassion; when people say “nucular” instead of “nuclear”; Garrison Keillor’s smug voice and the fact that he has a weekly program that people listen to; blaming the victim; Men’s Rights Activitsts; when people don’t see their privilege; running (seriously, why would you make people do this?!); the NRA (and all other instances of promotion of violence as an answer to any problem, including other violence); actually, that last one should probably just say “violence of any kind” because I’m a big ol’ hippie; not being taken seriously when I’m trying to be serious, or having my actions/complaints dismissed as unimportant, or not being able to do something about “it,” whatever the “it” may be.

And finally, step 3: Discover the Seven Seeds of Your Soul

Get your lists of Things I Love Doing and Things I Hate Doing. Start with the top item on your list of Things I Love Doing and ask yourself each of the six questions below as it relates to the activity. Each answer should be a definitive yes or no.

1. Even if you didn’t get paid a cent for it, would you still do this?
2. Would doing this inspire you every day?
3. Does doing this come as naturally to you as breathing?
4. Do you feel you’ve been given a special gift to do this?
5. Does time seem to fly by when you’re engaged in this activity?
6. Can you possibly make money doing this?

Ok, so I can answer “Yes” to all these questions for: Teaching, writing, and cooking. Next!

When you arrive at an item with six yes answers, circle it and then ask yourself this final question: Does performing this activity involve anything on my list of Things I Hate Doing?

Hmmmm…actually, teaching may just be the only one of those things that doesn’t fit…but I can’t know for sure, because I’ve never tried to write or cook professionally, and if you don’t know that doing something as a job is different than doing something for fun, you have never tried to follow your dreams. Also, I love teaching. And I teach at an amazing school, which in part means that I can do more than one thing, since teaching hours are so conducive to life outside of work, if you’re doing it right! So with that, I’m gonna hand this off to Ross, who has just finished making me a dee-yicious salad for dinner. Next post will be from him!