“People are always telling me that I sound like Cinderella.”
Can you imagine any more perfect job for someone who sounds like a Disney Princess, than being a kids’ dental hygienist? What child isn’t going to listen and obey when Cinderella tells them to open wide, or floss better?
I suppose she could have chosen to do voice-overs or acted as one of the princesses at Disneyland. Certainly she would have been hired. I’ve never met anyone with quite that sort of lovely, sing-songy voice (outside of a theme park). And yet… rather than the obvious, this young woman chose a dental career.
In a recent program on NPR a student who felt he was a generalist without an sort of passion inspired a team of economists to model the best way to choose a career. (I know I’m Supposed to Follow my Passion. But What if I don’t Have a Passion? )
“In the end, the three economists did not advise Max to pursue some particular career path. They didn't even give very specific advice. But they did all agree that Max's lack of a passion could work to his advantage. Pursuing a passion — especially if it's a popular passion — often doesn't pay very well” (Chana Joffe-Walt – Morning Edition, May 9, 2013)
Right now, as many graduates leave high school for college or college for work, the question remains, what should I do? Assuming that there is only one right answer is part of the problem. What motivates us when we are young is not necessarily the same thing that motivates us when we are older. But I disagree with the economists on NPR…
I believe passion comes aligning our unique talents, the strengths that are central to us being who we are, and our interests. This passion won’t give us a career, but it will provide the inspiration, the fuel, for a well lived life.
I’d love to be able to wave a magic wand to help people identify what these strengths are. But right now I am short on magic. Instead I have found it takes hard work and a willingness to try and fail at many different things. It also helps to have access to a great career center. Many now have career tools which incorporate not only what you are good at, but also what motivates and interests you.
Perhaps next time I visit the dentist I will check with the hygienist to see which career counselor she used. Either they were very good at their job or she was lucky enough to be blessed with a very talented fairy godmother.
Bonus Features today: You gotta hear this hilarious girl doing impressions of all the Disney Princesses. Hilarious! Which impression do you think she does best? What job should she be doing? What skill would you broadcast on YouTube? Come on.... you know you want to leave me a comment this time, so just do it!
“Have you seen the movie, The Way?”
Two women near me were comparing movies and this one caught my attention because I had, indeed, seen it. (The rest all sounded like Woody Allen movie titles.) It was a brilliant movie with all of the things I love best, a sense of place, interesting food, amazing dialogue and Martin Sheen. The overhear prompted me to go back and look at the website for it where I was struck by the tagline at the top:
You don’t choose a life, you live one.
This idea of being driven by mission both intrigues and scares me. There is a loss of control inherent in the very idea of not having a choice… and attempting to be at peace with this has frequently eluded me.
Not so for others I know though. Some of the best artists, for example were practically, or actually, driven mad by their passion, whatever their medium- writing, canvas, stage. Passion, I believe, is the other side of mission. It is the living out of mission. The question is, how do we tap into our passion and do we have the courage to embrace it when we find it.
There are many different forms of mission, but one of the most obvious to recognize is the proselytizer. What I am coming to see, though, is that all missions are born of the same inner desire to be who we were born to be… in other words, to live our life rather than attempt to choose it.
One of my barista friends at Starbucks is a wonderful example of this. Raised in a family of missionaries, Justin is now leading his own missions to Prague. Justin, in fact, was born in Germany while his parents were on mission there with Cadence International (which provides Christian ministry for U.S. soldiers and their families stationed around the world).
Why Prague? For many years the Czech Republic was under communist rule where all organized religions, including Christianity, were persecuted. Now many missions go to rebuild the churches there. Setting up a missionary trip is
not an easy task for anyone, even assuming the support of a local church. But in this case it is even more daunting as Justin is in his early twenties and is drawing on his previous church in Colorado to help him. He has gone on missions with Bethany Evangelical Free Church before, but this will be the first one he has actually organized himself.
Still, 15 of his friends have agreed to go on this mission with him from July 8th to the 24th this year. As I write about this I am struck by the idea that 16 young adults have enough passion to spend part of their summer on a mission. I can’t imagine I would have had the courage to do this at that age.
Passion truly comes in many different forms. I feel grateful that over time I have found my calling, my mission if you will, in my writing. Through this I am no as scared as I used to be when I hear someone talk of their own personal mission. I understand it so much better now than I ever have before.
I wish Justin a ton of success with his own mission. I know it won’t be easy, not the least of which is because each individual on the team must fundraise to earn $2,400 in order to participate. Then again… it may not be the summer they choose, but the summer they live.
(Note: If you would like to donate to their cause or learn more about it you can contact Justin Schroeder at
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