Personal compass

Here is my dirty little secret: I don’t actually know what my passion is. Not really.

I feel so vulnerable saying that. I can tell you that it wasn’t looking at mouse brains under a microscope, or getting flea bites in Sterkfontein, or teaching in Iowa, or editing manuscripts, or writing HTML. While anyone’s cumulative experiences shape the person they continue to become, mine feel like a sloppy mish-mash. They lack a brand identity, cohesion, mission. (I say that last part with a bit of snark.) But many of my closest friends are magnificently defined by their passions. They have a calling. It is a virtuosic part of their personality and to be honest, it’s really attractive.

Here’s what I do know. I like fixing things and arranging things. Folks come to me with their problems. A slurry of possible solutions forms in my head. Folks come to me with half-baked ideas. I can create an atmosphere or event where those can be made more real. Now I often get paid to do both those things; but lately it feels like I’m getting paid to not solve the problems I was ostensibly hired to solve. As in, I’m getting paid to throw the fight, lose the race, sit on the sidelines. Which is a major bummer. And it leads me to a realization that my quest to solve problems for others has left me with little energy to deal with my own. My own being that after almost 40 years, I still don’t know what my passion is.

Many moons ago, an amazing colleague of mine gave me this:

Here it sits, still in the shrink wrap. Why haven’t I invested the time in cracking it open and working through the contents?