Lots of good ideas here, Kim. However, our passions often do lead us to find ways to be of service. While I don’t ascribe necessarily to the notion of “do what you love and the money will follow,” which disregards that somebody might really LOVE fishing with earthworms, it does make sense to find a way to incorporate a combination of those skills we’ve honed (cause we’re good at them and happened to enjoy them) with something that really moves us. It is indeed an evolving process. However the are rivers that run through our lives that keep rising repeatedly- for example, for me it’s athletics, horses, writing, and speaking. Those rivers continued to rise and converge and now at 66 I’m doing all four at once. Doesn’t happen overnight. Lots of work, focus, determination- and in the process there is the legacy that you and I leave. For my career, it’s books, it’s seminars, it’s inspirational work. For others, if they’re passionate about fashion, it might end up that they come up with a sustainable way to make t-shirts without wasting umpteen gallons of precious water in the process. However, let’s please acknowledge- being in our twenties (and under) IS about being self -focused. That’s where we all start, and it’s exactly where we should start. Most of us don’t have enough road rash to be thinking about a life of service that young, so we start out thinking about saving the world or making millions or whatever, which is very self-centered. Over time, failures, experiments and exploration, certain themes make sense, and if we attend, we will find a way to carve out a path for us AND others while doing something immensely satisfying.
When we let go of the notion that it’s all about the money (and the attention, the likes and claps and desperate need for applause) we can redirect. It’s all about evolving into our best selves (as in, find a way to be of service), and we give ourselves permission to both be joyful as well as deeply satisfied.
Each of us has, but often never identify, our life purpose. That purpose informs our goals, the goals inform our top-do list every day. It can take a while to find out what that purpose is I found mine in 1985. Guy making a speech nailed it in three words : move people’s lives. For some folks, it’s figuring out how to get the plastic out of the world’s oceans. For others it’s simply being the best mom or dad on the planet. We’re each here for good reason. What is sad is that vastly too many of us don’t ask this challenging question of ourselves, and take a good look at what moves us the most, then commit to living that purpose.
As you said, for some of us, we don’t even begin to come into our own late in life. I didn’t write my first prize-winning book until I was 58, didn’t climb Kilimanjaro until 60, and only really began to pick up significant speed in the last few years. Others tell me that I am living a badass life- with the implication being all the attention I get for my adventure travel. While yes, I may live that life, but I don’t do it for Instagram likes. I don’t even have an account. I live it because it feeds my soul, and gives me fodder for articles, books, and speeches that I dearly hope will inspire others to evolve into their best selves. The question of what is my purpose has a lovely way of focusing us on why we’re here, and getting in the face of the wholesale addiction to likes, claps, of whatever it is that we think we so desperately need that looks like public approval. When we make that larger commitment, that petty compulsion to post something for the sake of likes goes away, and we rise into the fullness of our being.
Then we can witness where we add value to others- as well as how we allow others to add value to us. Money isn’t the point. Living a deeply worthwhile life, is. And often, money recedes in importance. I do follow my passions, but they also allow me to serve. That’s a perfect world, but boy it didn’t happen overnight. I make enough money to pay the bills, live my lifestyle, and carve out a path. But making money isn’t my driving purpose in life- moving people’s lives is.
Thanks for your article.