March 9, 2014

I'm totally going to get a good performance review for this.

You chose to go fishing because I like to fish.  You wanted to to play with princesses because their pretty dresses make you happy.  At 5 years old, you are pretty good at shooting that Wal-Mart-purchased compound bow with 8 pounds of draw because you eventually want to hunt animals.  Your bikes, playground, and other "hobbies" you have as young girls make you happy.  I love it.  These activities keep you occupied, stimulate your imagination, work your hand-eye coordination, and give you real-world experiences that will help you grow into well-rounded people.  And at times they make me laugh.

At some point you'll pick a career.  Or a passion.  Something around which you will focus your lives.  The two may be one in the same.  Maybe the career will support the passion.  Whatever it may be, you will choose to do something because for you, it provides fulfillment.  It completes that need in you to do something larger than yourself; change for the better some portion of your sphere of influence.  I hope you find a cause into which you can dive head first.  For me it was the Marine Corps.  Yours may be the same, or real estate.  A stay at home mother.  Engineering.  Marketing.  Teaching.  Church.  Or any of the numerous respectable professions that make this world go.

Here's a danger:  You could become comfortable in your passion and forget that you began your journey down this road for a specific purpose.  A purpose greater than yourself.  And as you get established in your field, making decisions, it will be easy to start asking yourself: what will my friends think of me?  How will this make me look to those who work for me?  Or maybe the worse of all:  How will my boss react and how will it reflect on my performance review?

As soon as this becomes a concern, run!  You have now lost focus on the reason you became the person you did.  You have forgotten the purpose for which you have invested your time, talents, treasures.  No decision at this point will be the right one because you are making it for your boss.  Or your image.  Or something other than that higher purpose.  You have shifted your focus from the prize and any action you take will lead you astray.  It may find you a good report, but everyone else will see right through you.  You'll lose the respect or envy you so badly wanted.  Everything else that matters will suffer.  The passion in you will be lost.

I've seen this first-hand.  It's not pretty.  And at some point we've all probably made a decision for these wrong reasons.  You can recover, but remember the reasons you do the things you do.  Hold close to your passion.  Don't let yourself stray down the path of the passion-less.  Do not let your life become about how people think of you.  Do not let your life become about yourself.  Stay focused on your larger goals, make your decisions for the purpose of attaining them, and leave the focus on yourself somewhere else.  You can do the positive things you want when they, not yourself, are the prize.

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