In my recent post, 5 Questions to Help Me Identify My Dream, I shared the 5 questions that John Acuff poses in his book, Quitter, that help identify hinge moments in your life. These hinge moments could be the key to unlocking your true dreams/desires for your life.
On Thursday, I answered question 4: If only your life changed, would that be enough?
Today, the final post in this series…
Question 5: Are there any patterns in the things you like doing?
Oh, right. Elaborate.
I suppose this would be a good time to walk you through a high level overview of my life.
It was a balmy summer day in Des Moines, IA when in 1978 I was removed via C-section from my mother’s womb.
Sorry. High level.
Years later, my family moved to Tampa, FL.
When I was 7 I started karate and summer camp. These two things would have a profound affect on my life and shape many of the choices I made in college and as an adult.
Karate gave me self-discipline. It taught me how to work towards goals and achieve them. It was something I chose to do; something that at 7 years old after watching The Karate Kid I sought out. It was something my family thought I would do for a little while and then fall away from like I did with baseball and soccer. But instead, I stuck with it month after month, year after year. I was committed to earning my black belt. And, at age 15, 8 years after I started, I accomplished my goal. It was also the first place I got to teach. When I was 12 or 13 I started teaching lower ranking belts, and as I moved towards my black belt I was an assistant instructor. I found out I was pretty decent and transferring knowledge from me to them.
Camp was my world. When I was 4 my brother started going to summer camp. I couldn’t go because I was too young and it ticked me off. I was ecstatic then, when after moving to Florida my parents found a camp for us. I can still remember the first time we drove out there. I can remember touring the camp before we even decided to go there. I can remember many parts of my first summer out there; making new friends, swim classes, homesickness, my counselor, the food, and all the summer rituals that camp had established over the 40, or so, years it had existed before my arrival. That camp was my second home. When I think back on my childhood, I can recall more camp memories than anything else. It gave me a sense of freedom. It was a place where I could break out of my brother’s shadow. It was where many of my ‘firsts’ in life happened (they are too numerous to list here). I went to that camp every summer until I was too old to be a camper and then I came back as a counselor until I finished college. It was there that I started working with youth and I realized I had a knack for the task.
So when I surveyed my life while sitting in my dorm room as a freshman in college trying to answer the question, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” I looked to these two parts of my life to give me some guidance. I was not a believer at the time and so I had to rely purely on my thoughts to make a decision. But, I believe God was trying to lead me. In those moments, too, I recalled a couple teachers who had encouraged me along the way. They were both English teachers and one of them had even told me that I was good at writing.
I liked to write + I liked working with kids + I wanted my summers off to go to camp + Those two teachers were English teachers = Become an English teacher.
I made an appointment with my guidance counselor and it was done. I was an English Education major. I took the classes. I did the internships. I put together a pretty nice portfolio. I made pretty good grades. And then after college life took a different turn and through a series of events I ended up in a cubicle.
You might say that the decision should be easy then. Go back to teaching. But if that were true then I would think that the prospect of that would get me excited. It doesn’t. When I think about teaching, I think about politics, budget cuts, and salary decreases. I think about all the cool lessons I could create that would only be cut short by standardized test preparation. I think about dealing with parents, or worse, dealing with the lack of parents. In short, I do not feel called to teach (I wonder if these words will come back to haunt me someday).
Moving passed that for now, even when I look at my professional life I can see patterns. Over the years I have worked a number of different jobs within the two companies I have been with. I tend to shine when I am training, giving presentations, or using my creative skills to put together analysis for people within my company. My natural talents fall somewhere in the realm of knowledge transfer, especially when that occurs via written word.
I find it difficult, however, to get passionate about the subject matter which I am presenting. The industry I work in is not particularly exciting; at least not to me. Could it be that I just need to find a company in an industry that excites me? I don’t know. Something doesn’t sit well when I type the word ‘company.’
Community. That’s a better word (and I have no idea what that means).
To sum up. Writing. Teaching. Youth. Analysis. Knowledge transfer. Community?
What patterns can you see in the things you like doing?