Are you chasing someone else’s dream?

It’s not surprising that many stumble through life, not really understanding or figuring out what their dreams are. As parents, especially when our children don’t know what they want to do with their lives, we find that our natural inclination is to guide them, direct them. Often, what this means is that we guide our kids or even friends of ours toward what we think they should be doing rather than toward their own dreams.

I remember a time last year when one of my kids came home from school. She was filling me in on something a teacher had shared about careers with a class of middle graders: A job isn’t supposed to be something you love. It’s to pay the bills, and something you love isn’t going to pay the bills. My response was something along the lines of “WTF?” Because this is exactly the opposite of what I teach my kids and share with everyone I know.

What is your passion? What is the one thing that drives you and fills you with such joy that getting out of bed in the morning excites you, and you can’t wait to start your day? This is what I ask my kids and my friends. Have you ever worked a job that has left you with a knot of dread in your stomach because you don’t really like what you do, but you do it anyways because you’ve been trained for it, and you’re stuck in a series of dead-end jobs, getting through the week, just working for that paycheck? If this is you, you may want to ask yourself what your passion is.

I live my passion now, but I didn’t always. Like many, I worked a series of administrative and management positions that provided a good paycheck but didn’t excite me. They did nothing to make me feel I had any impact in this world or was making a difference. That was until one day when I was at my lowest, with a new baby, my oldest child just having been diagnosed with autism, and my marriage ending. I found myself saying, “Is this it, seriously?” I started to pay attention, to listen to myself, and it wasn’t long after that I sat down and wrote my first book. I would get up at two or three in the morning and work my butt off, writing when the kids were sleeping, and I didn’t give up even when, at first, every door in the publishing industry was slammed in my face. A few years later, I was at last picked up by a publisher, and I can honestly tell you that what I do now is my dream. I look forward to it every day, because what I do now isn’t a job. It’s my passion.

What I tell my children and friends is to figure out what your passion is, and from there you can figure out what you want to do. It doesn’t have to be something that fits in a box. Think outside the box, and remember, you can always change your passion down the road. Nothing is set in stone. You can even go back to school. No matter how old you are, it is never too late to start living your dream. Now that is something to share with everyone.


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