Monkey Puzzle Blog

little chef

Your real passion in life might surprise you

 ‘What should I do with my life?’
It’s the most common question people come to coaching and programmes with and given how socially conditioned most of us are, it’s not easy to really get to the core of what really excites us and drives us as a passion.

I was having dinner with a former coachee of mine last week who got me thinking about a way of connecting ourselves with this. He said he had recently gone back to visit his parents to clear out some of his stuff and in the process came across lots of his old school reports and work – early stuff from the ages of 8 – 12, ‘before expectations and exams pressures took hold’. What amazed him was looking back at all this material with new eyes gave him a new perspective on what he enjoyed doing and was actually very good at. ‘I always thought I was a science freak’ he said, ‘and then I saw some of my old art projects and was amazed that I was creative and arty as a child – some of the stuff I did when I was 11 was great’. He realised that his natural talents were more artistic and creative than the career he had ended up following and he is now planning his career with this in mind. ‘I have always enjoyed artistic and creative things’ he said, ‘but had abandoned my talent at 13 to focus on more serious subjects, now it’s time to bring it back in’

This got me thinking about my own career. Back when I was 7 or 8 I loved putting on plays and shows for my family. I loved entertaining, although my talent for it was a little raw and those ‘serious studies’ soon got in the way of me taking it any further. I also loved teaching people things in an enjoyable way, I loved organising my sister’s birthday parties and teaching all the younger kids to do the Birdie Song and Agadoo. My friends will testify to my love of silly dancing and cheesy music even today. Is it then any wonder then that I ended up in with a career teaching and developing people? I hadn’t made the link before that conversation.

The thing is that the ‘serious studies’, social pressure and our parents well intentioned expectations mean that we abandon the natural talents and passions that we enjoyed before the education system took hold of us.

If you are curious about what your hidden passion could be, here’s a great way to work through it:

What did you enjoy doing when you were young, pre senior school and probably between then ages of 7 and 12 when your cognitive brain was developing at it’s quickest?

Did you love entertaining like me or were you a problem solver, engineer, builder or did you love helping or baking cakes or organising your friends? If it helps to look at pictures, ask your family or watch videos of you, this will give you a fresh view on that time and give you new insights

What’s the theme? Don’t interpret it too literally. My Mum thought I wanted to be an actress or a singer but that’s not what my intention was in my plays – I wanted to entertain, make people laugh. Think about what you were fulfilling in yourself by doing those things. If you were arty or creative it’s doesn’t mean you wanted to be an artist necessarily, but you may want to work in the arts or with a creative organisation.

How could you incorporate this into your career plan? This doesn’t mean a total career change, although it might. Often people are most successful when they incorporate their passion into their existing knowledge or industry, so can you take your career in a direction which meets your passion or incorporate elements of your passion into your work. Or is your passion a useful second career?

It could help to talk it through with someone objective who can help you work through it.


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