Watching the workers on the conveyor belt attaching doors onto new cars, they hadn’t noticed a group of us were watching them and yet we were only a few yards away. In today’s language I think they were in the “Zone” although to me the work looked mind numbing, so it could have been that. It was starting to give me a headache and I felt a strong yearning to get out of this car factory as quickly as possible. It was 1973 in Dagenham and we had been brought here by the Army. I was 16 and a Junior Soldier and every so often we would go and visit a factory. They never explained why we did this, but I am guessing their motive was to show us how lucky we were, doing what we were doing no matter how tough or brutal our own existence was.
The Army didn’t need to put me through those kinds of visits to make me realise that I had chosen the right career path. I already knew how fortunate and privileged I was to be doing something I was passionate about and something I got to do for 24 years. I had seen what my school mates were doing in the Steel Works and Chemical Works of Stockton-On-Tees in the North East of England and knew that was the last thing I wanted to do.
Fast forward to this week, on the train coming home from Dosh Strategy Day in London, I had the best day, working with some incredibly talented, knowledgeable and experienced people on how we could support people with learning disabilities in the next 10 years, and I was buzzing. I looked at my fellow commuters, I may be being unfair but they looked weary. I detected the same weariness in the conversations they were having on their mobiles too. For me though, this is a second career which has lasted 21 years so far and one that I am incredibly passionate about.
Since my train journey home from London this week, I have been reflecting on why it is important to find your passion and do that. Always finding great enthusiasm for what you do.
My oldest daughter works in the Theatre. She really works seven days a week, when she is not working she is enjoying the shows at her theatre, it’s her world. This is her passion. It’s a family thing and makes for some interesting and engaging conversations at home.
The days and years tick by and it is important you don’t wake up one day when there is no time left to do the things you dreamed of, to be the person you always wanted to be and to exceed your potential. These were and are the reasons I find my passion and do that.
So what have been the benefits?
I recently attended Damien Piper’s (Effective Challenge) Resilience Training and he used a model: P.R.I.M.E as a way of investing in yourself which strengthens and maintains your resilience. Doing work that you are passionate about and which you have strong emotions for does not mean that there will not be obstacles, setbacks and failures however paying attention to all aspects of PRIME (Physical – Rest – Intake – Mind and Energy) will help you bounce back when things don’t go your way.
Doing stuff that you have a passion for helps you to maintain and have stronger mental health. In your quieter moments, acknowledging that you are doing something that you are passionate about can give you a sense of well-being and contentment.
With passion comes a high level of enthusiasm for what you do. I have found this to be contagious not only do your friends benefit, but also your family.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
Here my top 5 tips for finding your passion:
- What do you have strong emotions for – make them visual so write them down, better still draw a picture for each one
- You need to find something that has a ‘purpose’: will it make a difference in another person’s life?
- Think about what you are good at, would it pay you a living too? When you have both, not only do you find your passion you feel successful.
- What excites you: what would make you get out of bed earlier than you really need to? I fling the bed sheets back at 5am every morning, yep even the weekends I can’t wait to start my day and find out what dosh.org are up to.
- Dream Big “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman
As a young 15 year old heading towards the Army Recruiting Office in Middlesbrough while my school mates headed in a different direction towards their interviews for ICI Apprenticeships as Welders and Platers, I thought that if I didn’t love what I was going to do I wouldn’t be able to do it with much conviction or passion. I felt the same way when I entered into the world of supporting people with learning disabilities.
“There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”