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Anne Naylor

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Discovering Your Passion

Posted: 08/14/10 09:00 AM ET

When I stand before God at the end of my life
I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left
and could say "I used everything you gave me."

--Erma Bombeck

A while ago, my friend Julie gave me a little tray I use every morning. It has the quote above written on it. Was she trying to tell me something? I had not been in touch for some time and this week, called to catch up with her news. She has found her life mission.

For nine years, we ran a local Possible Dream Group helping people new to the area find their way around, meet new friends -- to identify and realize their possible dreams. Julie is a devoted mum to her two teenage children, and a friend who will go out of her way to help others.

A few months ago, she was reflecting on what a privileged life her children lead, and that many children in the world are not so fortunate. She was keen that they be aware of those others. She heard about a project being run in Kenya, The Isaiah Trust, working with impoverished children, and was moved to find out more about it.

She was invited to go see the work for herself. Keen to assist, she asked what she could possibly do to help. Did she have any skills or ability to contribute anything in that situation? The director said simply: Be a friend.

It was with some apprehension that she left for her two week visit. During it, her heart was touched and opened. She found what she now calls her life mission. Everything she has done in her life so far has prepared her for it.

She did become a friend to the children cared for in the orphanage. She sat and listened to them, talked with them, shared what she had with her, played with them. She encouraged their dreams of a better life, sharing their enthusiasm for a good education and the hope it gave them. She helped a mum who had no water dampen her baby's face. She was instrumental in helping one little boy escape the brutality of his violent home in the slums to join the orphanage and begin his education. She witnessed his transformation from being hungry, ragged and despondent to standing with pride in his school uniform with a big smile on his face.

Julie had extended her family. Her natural calling as a mum and friend had made the experience easy and graceful for her. She is now applying the skills she learned in sales, marketing and presentation in a major multinational corporation to invite support back home for the Trust. Her kids have been inspired by her passion and tell their friends at school about their "cool" mum and her mission.

Julie's passion for the orphanage is serving to help her develop new skills. She is taking an open university course in Creative Thinking to find new ways she can serve the children by gaining attention and support from people in her local community.

Before we put the phone down, she suggested I go to this site to see how I fit on the scale of the global rich. Check it out for yourself. It is quite interesting: Global Rich List

Doing charitable work is not everyone's calling. Julie's story however illustrates how a calling to personal fulfillment can take place. It involves being aware, and listening for the guidance and signs you are being given.

1. Knowing Your Passion

Go to the Clear Results Self-Assessment to explore your inner motivations. It is free of charge. Be open to what you might learn about yourself through it.

Your passion will speak to you through your dreams, through circumstances around you that touch your heart, through a clear sense of knowing: this is what I must do.

2. Expressing Your Vocation

In response to my article last week, "Finding Your Personal Motivational Trend", one reader wrote to me:


I did a short 'finding your passion' exercise that was very similar to the one in your article and what I arrived at was that I do indeed know my passions  but don't have a clue as to how to fully/realistically pursue them. 

I was on Huffpo just catching up on news, not searching for this specific info, and came across your article.  Just reading about how you shifted -- that you can shift, to think about it that way is fab  Your experience of creating the cookbook and how you used those same skills, and strengths to do other things is EXACTLY what I need to discover for myself. I haven't a clue as to how to start to make the shifts but its encouraging to read your piece.

Any chance of a follow up article on how to discover/discern the paths for shifting??? :)

When you know your vocation and passion, you then need to go into the world to find opportunities to express them. Keep an open mind. Allow yourself to be led. Talk to people who might be able to participate with you, or contribute in some way. Explore. Have fun! Your passion has energy. It will direct you.

3. Finding Fulfillment

If you have yet to find your life mission, you might, like Julie, start with something simple. Extend your kindness, and be a friend to someone. You never know where that may lead you.

In response to my recent article, "The Power of Expressing Your Love,""dianecurriesam" wrote:

I just spent the day with my six-year-old son, who, in between wearing a crazy hat and skipping and singing down the street, kept randomly kissing my hand and telling me how much he loved me. Sometime in the midst of all this, I thought how beautiful the world would be if we were all as free and expressive as children.


WATCH: Dionne Warwick -- What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love



Do you have a talent that you have not yet fully expressed? Have you ever been inspired through your dreams? How do you recognize when your heart is calling you?

Please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me at anne@annenaylor.com

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