THE BLOG

Discover Your Passions in Life

11/21/2013 02:53 pm ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

When you have these things that you recognize, things that get you, things that upset you, things that push you, things that unlock your potential, your compassion, and your love for things... All of a sudden you look at life through a different window; and it's one that is really whole." -- Ian Somerhalder

Remember that time when you were told that you aren't good enough? Talented enough? Smart enough? Passionate enough? I do. I remember it like it was yesterday. Throughout my childhood I thought of myself as those things. It wasn't until a few years ago -- when I became involved with an organization that forever changed my life -- that I realized that what I lacked in life, was not all those things, but rather, something a bit less complex... I lacked a passionless life. What I discovered was that I have many talents, abilities, goals and smarts, but simply wasn't aware of them because I was misdirected in life... until now.

Why am I saying this? Well, I have an amazing story to share with you. It is one that will provide hope and maybe even inspire you to discover your hidden talents and passions in life.

As you might know from my biography, I am proudly a part of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, co-founded by actor/activist Ian Somerhalder (Lost, The Vampire Diaries), whose mission is to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures. It was designed to teach the importance of protecting the environment and animals, by empowering and supporting the most powerful, yet disregarded, disrespected and overlooked population on the planet -- our youth.

Earlier this month, I was extremely fortunate to be a part of the launch of Ian Somerhalder Foundation youth development program pilot event, U Factor, which took place in Atlanta, GA.

During this program, young children/teens from all parts of the world were given the opportunity and ability to share their passions and talents through various fun experiential activities and discussion that aimed to help them identify their passion, cultivate their talent and amplify their purpose.

Somerhalder believes that "our young people are our most valuable assets -- I believe they have the power to overcome all of the existing challenges in today's world." He's right. They have the power and the ability to change the world.

"You can't have enough passions and interests in life," said Kim Klingler, executive director and co-founder of the IS Foundation. During her moving speech, she discussed what some of her passions and talents in life are, and how it wasn't an easy journey for her to recognize them as a child. Just like the millions of kids who are currently desperate for new opportunities to experience who they are and what they have to give.

The problem with this unfortunately, is with our current educational system, sure they provide excellent opportunities for our children to learn and grow, but desperately lack opportunities for self-exploration of talents and passion. Instead, what we learn in school is that you have to wait until you're older and/or in a career to gain experience in life.

Do you see what's wrong here?

We shouldn't have to wait to truly find ourselves and discover our passions and talents in life. Sometimes waiting, till it's too late -- which for many prevents them from being able to learn who they are and what it is they want to do with their lives.

According to Kim, your job is to figure out who you are and be the person to your absolute best ability. I couldn't agree more.

At the end of the UFactor video, it leaves you with an empowering message that when given the opportunity to discover what they are passionate about, our youth cultivate their talents, amplify their purpose and are transformed into happy, powerful beings who ultimately change our world.

That right there is our future, our now, and the key to a lot of different doors... I truly believe that it's the key to a better life. What do you think? I will leave readers with a simple yet thoughtful message: What are your real raw passions in life? Then go out and make them happen.

To learn more about the IS Foundation and it's U Factor Program visit here.