When people face obstacles, they take one of two routes:
You decide which is ignited in you.
With both types of reactions, you find yourself realizing that you have a choice. You have a choice every time a job promotion slips through your finger, someone disappoints you or life plans change.
When I see something not working out, I tend to go towards number two. Rather than inflict external messages onto myself, I choose to become inspired. How can I be better? What am I missing? What do I need to change?
Throughout the years, after going to conferences, leading workshops, leading student run organizations and doing fairly well for myself on paper and in practice, I have also reflected for every success, something else did not work out. For every success, there is a sacrifice.
Standards are what you decide for how much you are willing to sacrifice. This year I pushed myself harder than I had ever before to make a situation work that wasn't. Mainly, a career pursuit that just wasn't for me. Instead of at first accepting this, I pushed myself and sacrificed a sense of stability. What was I doing it for? When I realized I was not as passionate about the work as I thought I would be, it was time for a change of plan.
So, I left a situation.
Have you ever had to do that? Leave a situation, person or experience behind because you realized you were sacrificing too much for too little? Other things were calling my name– mainly writing a book as well as exploring other career ventures. Yet, to get to the place of acceptance and willingness to start over, I had to find my fire.
Finding my fire meant that everyday, I would still try to accomplish what I could. I began freelance writing and having some of my articles noticed by important people. My networking had begun, but I did not know where it would lead me. Then, I realized it didn't matter. I was doing something that I loved. Through my writing, I was sharing ideas, deconstructing society and most of all, shedding light on certain subjects unexplored from my unique angle.
I even watched a TED Talk by Jacob Barnett, and he is a physicist genius. He is in high school able to do quantum physics. Well, high school age. He is actually in college assisting others with this as well. But he said something interesting in his video. He said– we have to approach learning from our own unique angle. That's what Einstein did, etc. We have to stop “learning” and start thinking.
I realized that's what I was doing. I was no longer just following the expectations set for me. I was deciding them on my own. I was finally “thinking.” What works for me? What doesn't?
And therein those simple questions did I find my voice. One of my articles was retweeted to 4 million followers. I had a photoshoot with someone who has also shot a famous celebrity.
I had the power to not remain stagnant even if the situation had changed. It may not have made sense to others; it did not even always make sense to myself. But leaving one situation and relearning or “thinking” about what I really wanted to do helped me to find my fire. And to know that in any type of change, I can survive, and I can grow stronger.
When a person disappoints me or when anything disappoints me, I also have another choice. I have a choice to say: “You don't and will not define me.” In other words, the greatest thing I suppose that happens to me is a “I'll show you mentality.” I don't know who it is that I'm showing. I don't know who I am writing for. I don't know the end results or destinations. All I know is that nothing can stop me. That's how fires are. They just keep burning, despite what is in their path. That's where I end this. In one instant, your life can change. You can change. But you have to keep on burning. If you don't someone else will. No one can do the things you are meant to do. And that is your greatest strength. Only you can be you. Go out and seek what is yours.
Find your fire.