The Secret to Your Passion is Right In Front of You
It was April of 2008. I was on the phone listening to a ‘speech’ from a man at our home office. He was explaining why I couldn’t sell a mutual fund to a client who had requested it. After several minutes of listening to “Regulation ‘this’ and ‘Restriction that,’ I got bored.
You might be familiar with this type of call, the one that inspires your mind to drift to faraway lands.
In this case, my attention shifted to something a little closer – my bookshelf.
With the man’s voice still droning, I started counting the number of books on that shelf. When I finished…’52, 53, 54’….. I was struck by something unexpected. 49 of those books – 94% – had nothing to do with financial planning. They were about public speaking, storytelling and how to give a great speech.
When the call mercifully ended, I thought about the implications of my discovery. I’d been struggling with my career direction – stay in financial planning, which I liked, was good at, and which provided a fairly steady income, or, find that subject that gets me up early, keeps me up late at night, and….. has absolutely NO guarantees.
Could the answer be found in something as simple as my bookshelf?
The more I considered this question, the answer was obvious…
When there is a consistency in the subject matter of the books you read, the videos you watch, and the articles you read, you have found your passion, and your calling. I realized that most of my spare time was spent in studying public speaking, storytelling and speech development.
With this revelation, I started my company. Although it was a very small and slow beginning, it set my life on a new course. I was transitioning to speaking and speech coaching. Along the way, opportunities and unexpected doors opened to me. I did not create a Grand Plan to make this happen, I simply followed my passion, laid out some general goals and have done my best to take advantage of opportunities as they’ve appeared.
What this has also provided is a wealth of ideas for me to talk about – subject matter for speeches, articles and blog posts. It seems that once you unlock the key to your passion, you also unlock the key to a treasure trove of ideas related to that topic.
An interesting twist to this story is that I haven’t had to completely disengage from the financial planning world… I simply changed how I participate in that industry. I give financial presentations that provide value to the public, and, I work with other financial advisors to improve their presentation skills. In this way, I get to do what I love and still positively impact people, more than I ever could have as a solo financial planning practitioner.
If you’re feeling stuck, weighed down because you’re either unsure about what you should be doing, or perhaps you’re just not sure what you can talk about in your next presentation, the answer may be closer than you think. Take a breath, step back, and look closely at your bookshelf. It just might lead you down an entirely new and exciting road.
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