Life Purpose: You already know what you’re meant to do…
“That’s so awesome,” she said over her latte. “I wish I could draw like that!”
That was Sarah. An old highschool friend I spotted out for coffee one night, she was currently gushing over her new friend Mike. He was doodling on a napkin, creating a piece of art worthy of a museum. At least it would be, if it weren’t for the Starbucks logo on the back.
I watched them from a distance with my warm cup of pumpkin spiced coffee, half listening, half admiring his artistry.
“It’s no big deal. You just have to take the time and play with it – anybody could do it, really.”
She laughed, muttering something about unrecognizable stick figures. He chuckled and smiled. They moved on.
I don’t know Mike that well. I know from Facebook that he is a graphic designer, that he went to a great school and landed a great corporate job. I also know from his Facebook feed that Mondays are not his favourite thing, and Fridays are spent waiting to escape.
I imagine what Mike really wanted from his life. His talent is obvious, his apathy toward his job apparent.
I imagine that if I could ask him, Mike would tell me that he always dreamed of being an artist… But there was no way. “People aren’t willing to pay for scrap napkins,” he would say, and he has bills to pay.
I guess I know Mike better than I think.
For over 10 years, I’ve watched people just like him – and probably just like you – trying to break free. To jump ship from social convention and strike out on their own, hoping to make a living at their “thing”.
Hoping to make a living doing what they excel at, what they love, and what they find easy.
And time after time, they – maybe even you – have struggled with one thought:
“People aren’t going to pay for this.”
Digging deeper, you see that the true belief is around the value of work. Of hard work. That if something is easy, it cannot be of value. Making money, creating a business, working in a job are things that take hard work. Hard work is honorable, it is valuable, and it has merit. Things that come easily… Not so much.
I wish I could tell Mike the truth. I wish I could tell him to go for it. Because honestly, those things that come so easily – the very things we undervalue – are often the brilliant innate talents that make us valuable.
Think of an electrician. You call him in because your light switch won’t work, and within 10 minutes he has it fixed. Easy for him, not easy for you.
Or think of the artist who created the painting hanging in your living room. They didn’t stress over colour or composition, they didn’t worry about the final product looking like a preschool printable, they just created from the heart. It was easy for them.
That isn’t to say that becoming an electrician with customers, or a paid artist were easy paths – far from it, they take work. But the actual skill, the very thing they’re marketing, the thing that people value and pay for? They come so easily to the people who perform them, from pure mastery of the skill, that it just seems to come naturally.
Like Mike and his coffee shop doodle.
Often, we find ourselves stuck. We do what we’re expected to do, we go the conventional way, because we’re taught that doing otherwise will lead to failure. To loss. To pain.
Sometimes we do it so subconsciously we can’t even see our true talents – the very things we are meant to be doing. I know that was the case for me, for many years.
But your time has come.
Now is the time to dust off those dreams. To look back and ask yourself, what comes naturally to me? What makes me smile, lights my fire? When have people said to me, “I wish I could do that!”?
Those things – those silly little things that you dismiss because they’re “too easy”, those are your gifts, your talents, your innate abilities, your mastered skills. Those are the most valuable assets you hold, especially when they light you up and make you happy to perform them.
Once you can recognize those “easy things” for what they are, the fun begins – designing your life so that you can spend your days giving value to people from your skill.
For me, entrepreneurship was the tool that allowed me to share my innate abilities to connect people and guide them toward the right path. Entrepreneurship may be the path for you, as it was for Steve Jobs who had the ability to see what people really wanted; For Arianna Huffington, who had the ability to predict what people would really want to read; for Fred Smith, founder of FedEx who was a logistics savant; For Chester Carlson, founder of Xerox, who created revolutionary technology for processing photographs.
For you, entrepreneurship may just be the path to take your gifts, your talents, your mastered skills and turn them into something that leads to success.
You just need to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, what is easy for you doesn’t come as naturally to everyone else. You need to acknowledge that maybe, in some way, you are different and special.
To become an entrepreneur and change the world with your abilities, you need to accept that you – yes you – are worth the risk.
Who knows. Maybe you’ll even get paid for it.
Cheryl Woodhouse is the Founder of ProjectRADIANT.com, where she helps fearless, unconventional women unleash their brilliance on the world through entrepreneurship. Click here for tools and resources to help you follow your heart.