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Today I had a meeting with an “old” client of mine from back in my Adecco days. We had met a few years ago when I just started my own business and now we met again for a coffee and a talk – three years later. At one point in our conversation he told be “I am so glad to see you are really doing the thing you wanted to do, exactly as you told me three years ago”. My first thought was “Of course I am”. I am doing the one thing I wanted to do. Coaching 1-1 at the highest level and giving back through BigFish4.kids, my pro bono activity. Just as I planned to do, right from the start. Loving every step of the way.
On my way home I thought about our conversation, understanding there is no “of course” in all of this. And please do not think everything comes naturally to me. I’ll tell you more. When I spoke to my dad on the phone yesterday, saying I feel – when making appointments – that summer is already arriving and that I’m stressing a bit because I’m scheduling for September and October whilst not being ready to take a summer break yet, he told me “Why on earth did you leave a well paid job to live in this insecurity?” I started laughing. It’s true. It’s difficult sometimes. Not knowing what will be on your paycheck within 2 months. Trusting that everything will work out just fine as long as you give it your best.
Yet I have met so many competent and amazing people that are not doing the things they really want to do. Not even a bit. And let’s be clear I’m not judging at all. And I’m not saying everyone should leave their corporate job to start their own business either. Maybe one day I may return myself. Who knows? Then why am I sharing all of this with you? (Except for letting you know I will be working hard during most of the summer in case you want to do some personal development ;-)).
1. Dare to choose
What I have learned is that following your true passion is all about making choices. About daring to choose. Daring to focus. And by consequence, daring to lose. Following one path. And making sure it’s your own path and not someone else’s. “When you are writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen”. I’m not saying we should all act selfish. It’s not that black or white. Sometimes it’s more like “cultivating” passion in stead of just dropping everything and following the one thing that makes you smile. But you are in the drivers seat. Wherever you work. Whatever you do. You decide.
2. Do what makes you happy
Another thing I’ve learned is that you are at your best when you are doing the one thing that makes you lose track of time. Call it flow, or mojo. Tell me, when did you forget all about your busy schedule? Your next appointment? Your responsibilities? Your next paycheck? When was the last time you were enjoying yourself that much that nothing else mattered? When was the last time you were completely positively absorbed by the tasks that come with your job? Were you talking to someone? Leading a group? In a meeting? Concentrating on a very precise task?
3. Surround yourself with people that complement your skills
The beauty with the questions above is that all our answers may be different. Isn’t that wonderful? Knowing that, make sure you have someone around you that loses track of time doing exactly those things that make you feel as if you are staying in one and the same minute forever. Those things you may detest, may exactly be the things someone else loves to do. Make sure they are on your team. And if you ask me, as long as you share the same mission, vision and values, internal as well as external partnerships are priceless. Dare to delegate. It’s a clear win-win.
4. Overcome your fears
Last but not least, to be able to follow your passion, we all need to overcome our fears. Every day again. Me as well as you. Without getting stuck in the reasons why things won’t work out, take a look at those things that are holding you back today. What are you afraid of? What’s there to lose? Are you really in the driver’s seat of your own car? What’s your worst-case scenario? And what would you do if you could not fail? What do you need to push that button? And again, it’s not an “all or nothing” story. Sometimes it can be just a small change. One little step in another direction. Contributing to a more fulfilling career and life.
In spite of my weaknesses, in spite of my fears, in spite of all pressure, I feel blessed to be able to make my living doing what I love the most. Challenging the status quo, upgrading performance, simply touching the most vulnerable side of people that are used to build a more or less untouchable image. The only disadvantage is I’ll be old before I know it, having the time flying this fast when having fun.
- Should you on the other hand be struggling to get through your work-day.
- Should you feel the need to have more focus instead of running around and jumping on every opportunity.
- Should you have lost all passion that comes with your job.
- Should you be feeling as if you are a bird in a golden cage (even with an open door).
- Should you not know if and where you want to fly to.
Give me a shout. Or even better, schedule your free 30-minute session online now (choose your date and time and I will confirm asap).
And if not, I’m looking forward to hear all about your passion. I’ve told you mine, what is yours? Let’s share our thoughts and catch some big fish during the Summer !
About the author
Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me and a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself