vincent-van-gogh-selfie-portraitAre you hyped to spring out of bed on Monday morning and dive into your work? OR Are you already counting down to next weekend?

This is not a new revelation, but if your work incorporates your passion…it doesn’t feel like work anymore!

I recently returned from vacation in Europe and spent some time in Amsterdam. There are many wonderful things to see but two experiences in particular really struck me as amazing examples of how important it is to find your passion in your work. The Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House tell  compelling stories about what good comes from tapping into your passion on a daily basis.

Here are some fun facts I didn’t fully appreciate about Vincent Van Gogh:

At age 16 he began working as a clerk for an art dealership and was fired several years later because he didn’t perform as expected. He found the work quite mundane and was constantly distracted by his passions – art and religion.
He spent the next 10 years trying one path after another bouncing around Europe: teacher at a boarding school, assistant preacher, bookstore apprentice, preacher again, theology student, English student, literature student, art student.  Finally, in his late 20s, we returned to live with his brother and began to paint.
All the paintings Van Gogh created were done in a span of 10 years!  That’s it!  I’m amazed at what a prolific painter he became and it all occurred in the last 10 years of his life from 1880-1890.  He died at age 37!

Why was he so successful in those last 10 years after struggling to find his place in the world?  Clearly, he finally began to “work” in something for which he was passionate!

Another example is the life of Anne Frank. She and her family along with another family were in hiding in essentially four rooms for 2 YEARS!  The windows were blacked out, they could not spend any time outside or even look outside, had to remain very quiet most of the time, and were completely dependent on others for food. Anne was age 13-14 during this period.  Can you image yourself or your teenage children living under those conditions?

But as we know, what helped get her through that terrible experience was her writing. It was something she could do quietly and served as an outlet for her emotions and documenting what daily life was like while in hiding. Anne always wanted to be a writer and by filling her long days with something she enjoyed, it sustained her. It also left an incredible legacy!

While none of us have to experience a prison-like existence like the Frank family, if you are in a job that is “just a job”, it may feel like your work day is a long sentence of drudgery.

We all know that people find success if they are doing the work that they love. It doesn’t mean you have to have some grandiose job – it’s about doing the work that is meaningful to YOU! Being a gardener and working on landscapes would be a little slice of heaven for someone who loves plants and being outside.

If you are passionate about something that seems out of reach for you right now due to your lack of experience or knowledge, then buck up and go back to school! Again, if you going to school for a subject you love, it will be something you look forward to. Maybe look for a volunteer opportunity or side-job to get exposure to a new industry and begin to learn the ropes.  Sometimes, you have to take a step back to move forward.

I understand that money is a valid concern, but again if you are doing something you love, you will be successful and with success other rewards will come your way.

For those of you who don’t think you’ve discovered your passion(s) in life, here are a few questions to help you make that discovery:

  • What are you good at? OR What do you find easy? Do you ever miss dinner because you’re so intent in doing something else?  What were you doing?  Your friends and family will also have a perspective about your strengths so ask them.
  • What type of things inspire you? Do you love to read and write? Spend time watching the History Channel for hours on end? Love coaching team sports? Come alive when you can get out in nature and explore?  These are all triggers to uncover your passion.
  • What would you do for free?
  • What would you regret not having done?

We are meant to make the  most of the lives we’ve been given. Why not make the most of it by doing something you truly enjoy!!

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