Growing up I was so passionate about reading. By the age of 10 I had read every book in the school library, my Mum even went into school as she didn’t believe me!
I spent hours in the local library reading everything from The Chronicles of Narnia to Malory Towers. I also wrote my own stories and poems (I was even published!) and while I had a happy childhood I also had an active imagination and reading and writing was just what I needed to keep my mind occupied.
I was also brilliant at sport, I was a national gymnast, part of the local swimming team and excelled in all sport at school (except the javelin!). Everyone told me how I definitely had a career in sport and how I’d make a great sports scientist or teacher.
I took this praise with me all through school and while I still read and wrote in my spare time, I continued to excel at sport. I got my degree and I went into the world of work (after travelling for a few years). I had some great years, however I could never shake the feeling that something was missing.
I had a chance meeting with a colleague of mine one day and we ended up having a coffee. She observed that whenever she saw me I always had a book and a note pad with me, she asked me why I had never followed a career in writing and delivering training, she knew I was good with people and had attended some of the workshops that I had taught, which she thought were brilliant.
This got me thinking, while I was not unhappy, I was not fulfilled either and I realised there and then that I needed to do something that moved me. That day I decided that my life had become monotonous, I needed to find my passion again, I needed combine my love of reading and writing with something I was good at… writing and training.
So I went back to University, requalified and started to design and deliver training. It was hard at first, I took part time jobs to make money and it wasn’t all plain sailing, believe me, starting again is hard. However, being passionate about what I do has led to me becoming one of the Directors of The National Training Academy, something that I not only enjoy, but am immensely proud of.
When you discover something that nourishes your soul, that one thing that brings you joy and excitement, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life, even if you can only spare a little time on the side, like me when I started. If you love something but find that you don’t have any time at all for it, stop doing things that don’t matter like posting pictures of your food on social media or watching the TV just for something to do.
So remember, if there was ever a day to follow your heart and do something that matters to you, however small, that day is today.
1 – Your life is a result of the choices you make.
Apart from death, and taking up physical space, everything in life is a choice. Some choices are not easy (I need to go to this job I hate as I have to pay the bills) but they are still choices. So, if you don’t like your life, if it lacks passion and excitement, it’s time to start making better choices. All change starts with that first step, however small.
2 – Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.
You can follow a path that you are passionate about. You can always find time to do something small and positive that makes you happy. Life is not a rehearsal, do what makes you happy, you only have one ‘performance’.
3 – When time has passed, it has gone forever.
Things in life such as money, work, houses, obligations, etc. are just things. If you lose them, you can work hard to get them back. Time is the one thing you can never get back once it’s gone. Use your time wisely and do things that make you happy.
4 – It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. Anyone can say anything, if you do nothing, nothing changes.
5 – Your passion is an important part of you and who you are.
Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about. If you think about something every day, that much passion for is ever a waste of time, no matter how it turns out in the long-term. You may make a career out of it, you may not, but passion is what keeps you alive, don’t stop doing what makes you happy.
6 – Positive energy leads to positive change.
When you focus your heart and mind upon a meaningful purpose, and commit yourself to fulfill that purpose a little bit every day, positive energy gradually floods into your life, leading to positive change.
7 – Take accountability for yourself.
Blaming someone else for your misery is easy, when it is someone else’s fault, you don’t have to accept accountability. Stop telling yourself that other people are our reason for you being unhappy, unfulfilled, etc. You are the master of you and your choices define your happiness.
8 – Stop looking for external approval.
You need to love yourself and who you are, everyone is different and your differences are what makes you special. The more you fill your life with genuine passion and purpose the less time and energy you’ll waste looking for approval and admiration from everyone else.
9 – Rediscover what excites you.
Regrets help no one, what has happened in your past can’t be changed, however the present and future can. Rediscover what excites you and then dive deeper into it. Even if it only for an hour a week, passion and excitement lead to positive change.
10 – Take it one step at a time.
You don’t get to the top of the stairs immediately, you must climb one step at a time. It may take a while but you will always get to the top. True purpose has no time limit. True passion has no deadline. Don’t stress and overwhelm yourself. Just do what you can right now.