Sunday, March 6, 2011

Igniting the Passion

A little over seven years ago, I dropped out of law school (after a little over a semester) and moved to follow my ex as she took what was the job of her dreams. Ever since then, I have been searching for a job (or career) that would set my soul on fire. I decided I wanted to work to improve the lives of animals and have since worked in large, medium and small organizations for animals on an international, national and local level. In those seven years, I have moved around the Midwest and East, the marriage ended (which I now know was a really good thing), have added some more animals to my family, have lost a couple of these animals, have grown a lot, have battled some personal demons and have found an amazingly loving and interesting woman who, for some reason, is happy sharing her life with me.

I am not the same person who made the decision to leave law school. I have learned a lot since that time about who I am, what I stand for and developed a lot of the values I hold dear. I have also become a bit more jaded and cynical, having seen things I would never wish upon anyone...having seen the way our society and individuals can treat animals with disdain, lack of care or abuse. I have helped animals in these situations escape them and I have helped some people see there are other ways and have shown them how to integrate these animals into their family; how to care for them in ways to make both of their lives better. I've embraced new ideas as they have come along and believe I have evolved with the times.

I haven't found the job or career for which I have casted about. I have also realized this is probably more because of who I am rather than the jobs I have worked. I constantly look for something new and different, thinking this magical "it" will make me happy. I want to do more and more, but I am fearful of actually doing it. This fear is one side, I am afraid of failing at something I want to do. On the other side, I am afraid of not failing but finding that something I can do is not what I want to do. I want to be more big picture, but I focus more on the day to day and menial tasks instead of thinking big picture. I want to be a leader, but choose instead to sit back and be a doer. I want the freedom to develop my own plans and prioritize my programs and duties, but then have to force the motivation to get the things done when there isn't a lot of busy work to do.

I want to let go of this fear and step forward and say I can help lead; I am valuable as more than a worker; I have big thoughts and ideas. I am working on doing this more every day, but I need to figure out how to eliminate the fear making this difficult. I need to figure out what it is about me that makes this so damn challenging. I look at all the people I have worked for and with over the last seven years and see great leaders, average leaders and terrible leaders. I have had the privilege of working for people who are amazing people, but terrible leaders and amazing people who are also great leaders. I have learned different things from each. I have managed large groups of people and pushed them to excel. I have had people push me to excel. But, when it comes down to self-motivation, I sometimes have a problem with pushing myself to excel. Maybe I want too much? Maybe the perfectionism that has been around since I was five is weighing too heavily? Maybe I am supposed to be a great doer and not a leader? Maybe I just haven't found or developed the position that will allow me to be everything I think I can? Maybe I should be doing something else entirely?

I do know I will never stop looking. I do know I have to overcome this fear at some point and step out to the edge and decide to leap. I have overcome some fear in my personal life and taken some really hard looks in the mirror and changed some things about me that needed to be changed. I have overcome some of the things that have held me back and not allowed me to develop as a person. I have learned when I put my mind to something, really put my mind to it, then I can follow through and make the changes needed. I just have to keep working at it. With some work, maybe I will become the leader I think I can be. Or, maybe I will realize the passion lies elsewhere, doing different things. Maybe I don't have to change the world, but only my part of it. Maybe with a bit of work, I will realize the passion is here, I just needed to find it. Maybe within our lives, it is more about the journey and not the destination. Maybe the real goal is to never stop looking.

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