What Are You Good At?

Be careful what you're good at --you could be doing it for years.  - Danielle LaPorte

Just this week I read the quote above in a book called The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte and I had an Oprah "ah ha" moment.  I suddenly realized how many things I am good at, but don't really enjoy doing.  Then I started thinking back and here is what I realized.

In the late 70's I was going through a divorce and was desperately looking for a job.  A friend of mine worked at a Rape Crisis Center and told me they were looking for a secretary.  I had no experience as a secretary and told her I wasn't qualified, but she insisted I come in, fill out an app and talk to the Director.  I did, and I got the job.  Since it was a non-profit, the pay was low ($600 month, imagine!) but I would have flexibility and being a single Mom, I needed flexibility.  Then an amazing thing happened - I was good at it.  I was organized, efficient, had pretty good typing skills and was great on the phone.  I kept the office running and the staff supported.  It felt pretty good.

Over the next 23 years and two non-profits later I continued to do what I was "good at", in positions with more and more responsibility, with better titles, and not so much money.  The benefits and flexibility were the extra compensation.  But what I was doing was virtually the same as the job I started with, organizing, supporting staff, tech management, human resources, fundraising -- stuff I was good at.  It never occurred to me that being good at my job was killing my spirit!

The truth is, I never really chose that job.  It fell into my lap and I never stopped to question my own happiness until 23 years later.  In 2001 I resigned my position and chose to follow my heart. And I have been following it through a maze toward finding my true path ever since.  Having the freedom to investigate the maze is the choice I made. And I don't regret it for one moment. 

Being "good" at something isn't enough to build a life or a career around.  Being good at something doesn't make it your life purpose.  We are all good at so many things.  That's not the question.  The question is what do you feel passionate about - what makes your heart soar?  What fills you with excitement and makes time stand still.  That's what you could be doing!

Building your life around what you're good at, and not passionate about slowly kills your spirit. And the sad thing is our friends, family, community and the world at large encourage us to keep doing what we're good at.  It is a standard that was set in decades past.  It's time to expect more.

We are now in a new age, a time of elevating our consciousness, seeking to live with a since of purpose and fulfillment.  It is a gift of our time--this time in history.  It is time to let go of what we're "good at" and embrace what INSPIRES us.  Choose the path with heart, the one that excites you and makes you happy to get up in the morning!  Feeling right, knowing you're doing what you love!  Or, just making a choice, like I did, to stop doing what doesn't fit and giving yourself a chance to explore the possibilities!

Are you doing something right now that you're good at, but doesn't fulfill you?  Are you living a life that's just okay? What are you gonna do about?


Anonymous said...

Oh Cindy, I am working on this right now! I followed a career path similar to what you described in your post. Now I am the head of a sizable non-profit. My organization is the result of years of other people's hopes and dreams and millions of dollars in charitable giving. I feel guilty and ashamed that I am not inspired by my job. I feel crushed by the weight of it all.

Unknown said...

You are awe inspiring!

Marti Brown said...

Another great post, Cindy! As I look back on all that I've done and have been good at, I can honestly say that I've been following my heart for years and have loved every adventure I've had in jobs/careers...and I don't know how that happened for me...it just happened. Maybe when I was a kid growing up and "Had To Do" all sorts of jobs at home that I dreaded...but at least got to go out and play as soon as I got them done...motivated me to find things I loved to do so I wouldn't fall into that dreaded path in life....I still have a few mundane things I don't really love to do but those are daily things that have nothing to do with making money so I make the best of them and do a lot of imagining while I'm getting them done! I feel pretty blessed and now I love to help people find their true purposes in life and manifest their dreams. Thank you for sharing this post. It is good to wake up and do what we love and if we are doing what we love, it is a great post to remind us to be grateful for the path we are on. Thank you for the reminder.

Carol Bailey Floyd said...

Hey Cindy -- I am doing a book group on FIRE STARTER SESSIONS right now. I love on the back of it where it says it's the ------ version of THE ARTISTS' WAY! It is a remarkable book, very powerful. Your essay is spot on. I do a lot of things that make my heart sing, but I always have to pay attention so I don't slip into the mundane and waste time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy - Thanks for the latest "Be careful what you're good at" - I've been thinking about that for quite a while, just haven't jumped off due to financial constrictures. Made me think about finding a way around all that - want that joy! Miss you and Jeff
Kathy Spindler