The human race is a fascinating thing if you really take time to think about it. Each of us is born with innate talents and abilities and no two people share exactly the same gifts. Each person’s experience of life and abilities allow them to be the one and only that ever exists. We are our very best when we are living and doing what come naturally to us. It is the reason a great musician is just that “great”. The musician loves music and enjoys playing his instrument so much he practices and practices. Although it really is not practice it is the thing that has to come to life within him.
When we allow ourselves the time and the opportunity to enjoy our gifts we often find ourselves getting better and better at what we do. What makes us unique also makes us strong. We have a responsibility to share our gifts with the world and by doing so, we make it a better place. When we are living a life filled with joy from doing what we love to do people want to be around us, they are curious as to what our secret is. Is it a good relationship? Is it disposition? Is it getting enough rest and exercise? People cannot figure it out they just know they want to be around it.
Our society tends to tell us that we should go to college and major in something allows us to have a solid job and a good income. Many people go about this in a logical way, picking and choosing the parts of themselves that are most promising on paper. When we tackle our life in this way, we often find ourselves moving away from our passions and natural inclinations. We wake up one day and think, “how did I get here?”. We find ourselves stressed and unhappy not really understanding why. By then we are far into a career and it can seem as if there is no way out.
I know this because I did it.
I was a good student graduating valedictorian of my class, I wasn’t the smartest kid, but I worked hard to achieve my goals, and I wanted to be the best. I was particularly good at science and math which seemed to come easy to me.
In my spare time, I was always creating things, however. As a child I would take rocks and make them into paper weights by sanding them down painting them, I liked to figure out marketing messages of products I used as a teenager, I wrote songs with my neighbor, I created dance routines, and I drew. I was encouraged to follow the math and science path due to my grades and what I was good at, never considering my passion.
When it came time to commit to medical school, I just did not have the drive to make the leap. So I got a really good job in pharmaceutical sales and stayed there for 21 years.
Within the first 2 years I knew that something was missing. I wanted more. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and use all of my creative ideas, I wanted to be a motivational speaker, I wanted to design and build things. I was already making a great living and did not know how I would make the leap. So for 21 years I let life dictate what I was doing professionally.
One day I woke up and realized that I was miserable and had to make a change. I took notice of how short life was and realized there there were many things I wanted to do, many dreams I wanted to live. I knew that if I died tomorrow, I would not have lived without trying to accomplish these dreams. I started designing the life I wanted to live using my natural gifts and abilities as my guide.
It was not easy at first but as I planned, saved, and envisioned my future, peace filled me to my very core. I was never happier. I made vision boards, business plans, and I wrote my mission statement for my life. I had the fortunate circumstance of growing up with parents who told me that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. They said that as long as I was willing to read and learn I could achieve. My greatest gifts and passions were art, design, public speaking, starting and growing a business. So I followed my heart straight into the very essence of my natural gifts and abilities.
I left my pharmaceutical sales job a few years later and never looked back. I build a kitchen and bath design business which launched during the great recession but has boomed since day one. I have discovered who I am and what I am capable of while growing my business.
I took some knocks along the way – wonderful failures that have made me into the person I am today and helped to strengthen the business I built. I have established lasting relationships with people who are also living their dreams and created a work life balance that has enriched my family life. My children have watched me grow and even comment about how different I am now after starting my business. They notice that I am happy everyday when I am doing what comes naturally and what brings me the greatest joy.
I have found that living my natural gifts and abilities, giving myself permission to fail and to succeed, and following my passion, has allowed me to a live a life that is a joyous adventure. As I embark into the next phase of my journey, writing, speaking and coaching, I am filled once again with great peace and a sense that the adventure has just begun.