Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who Are You?

While chatting with Archbishop Wood's principal about my speaking on Career Day, she commented on the pressure placed on kids when we ask what they want to be when they grow up. I agreed and offered an alternative. We should be asking them, “Who are you?”

That question gets more to the crux of the matter. Decisions based on personal truths tend to work out better than those based on desire. Our wants can be misinformed and fleeting.

I wanted to be a rock star when I grew up. Never mind that I couldn’t sing or play an instrument. (That hasn’t stopped some.) I've never been one for relentless travel or repetition. So much for worldwide concert tours with night after night gigs. It's no surprise that never worked out.

Who was I in high school? I was curious, communicative and very social. In my spare time, I wrote notes, stories and poems. I’d answer that question the same way today. I do what I am in my job, and not so surprisingly, I’m very satisfied. Do what you are!

Whether you’re an astronaut or laying Astroturf, you can bring yourself into any job. Former QVC host Mike Rowe, who is famous for his show “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel, once wrote, “Never follow your passion, but by all means bring it with you.”

I think that’s brilliant. He explained it further in an interview for Outside magazine. “If you bring your passion with you, you can apply it to anything that makes sense. If you follow it, you’re going to be miserable until X, Y, Z happens, which might be never.”

Whether you call it fate, God’s plan or luck, life takes many unpredictable twists and turns. The one thing that is stable enough to rest your future upon is you. Who are you?

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