By Priya Vaidya
"Do what you love and love what you do!" -- The best quote, yet so fleeting and it cannot be a reality for all. Many of us are not lucky to have the kind of career that encapsulates our passions, life purpose, personal essence, and technical skill all in one sweet package—allowing us to exercise them simultaneously in one forty hour work week while making a living and quenching passion’s thirst.
I happen to be an engineer by profession, which is very enriching and satisfying, yet, when I’m doing my office work, my body still aches for creativity. The itch to create something fascinating "for myself" does not go away. The artist in me never sleeps and is waking me up at odd hours to create something wonderful. Together with the aspiration to make a difference in the world, these are both fundamental desires within me that are critical for making me feel complete and whole.
It took years of introspection and self-discovery before I realized what I needed to do to provide the "oxygen" for my personal satisfaction and happiness. It was only then that I realized I had to dedicate time outside my day job to channel these desires in a way that I had not done before. My creativity was my need. Eventually, I was able to find that balance. It not only fueled my creative thirst but also ended up helping the community and non-profits through my creative outputs, which was the most desirable outcome.
I thought I would share some of my tips with you to help you find your own passion, to ignite it and keep it burning. You will find the warmth to be satisfying to you and it will spread to your family, friends and community. Keeping yourself positive, engaged and happy is of utmost importance especially during the current unprecedented COVID19 times.
1. Think and Act
Reflect on the things that have been part of your essence, your being, your truth since you were a kid. Is it playing an instrument? Travelling? Hiking? Dancing? Playing soccer? Yoga? Creative writing? Find groups, guilds, reach out to like-minded people. Take a short evening class. Check out library offerings, online groups, and social media forums. Perhaps there are variations of these activities or hobbies that may better apply to you now that you are a working adult. Give yourself the time, reflect and then act on it.
2. Be True to Yourself
Sometimes we do certain things because we think we should do them. Maybe someone told us to do them, our parents forced us or just because they are trendy as our friends are doing them. Ignore all that noise. Listen for the inner voice nudging you in a certain direction instead of focusing on what you think you should be doing. It is okay to do things that are outside your box or other peoples’ boxes. It is okay to try something wacky or weird or offbeat because it piques your interest. Remember: Self-actualization doesn’t come from people-pleasing; it comes from being you, which sometimes requires finding you first. Another aspect is not to stop if others don't appreciate it. Remember you are doing this for yourself not for others. Become your own judge and keep pushing yourself.
This is by far the most essential skill to have. Once you start with the creative process, time will seem to fly. Always keep your priorities in balance. In your mind jot down a list of your priorities in whatever order works for you. For example, your kids, your husband, parents, job, friends, passion, social events and so on. Never mess up on your priorities while pursuing your passion. Remember you want to stay happy!
4. Allow Passion to work for you
You may have a dormant desire of publishing a book, acting in a stage show, being part of the singing crew, or sculpting a mural for a museum. Whatever the end goal, keep an eye out for opportunity. Take some calculated risks. Believe me, it is possible, and a sustained effort will get you there. Your passion will carve out a way. Share ideas within your social circle. Eventually something somewhere will click.
5. Give it time to grow
Don't beat yourself up. If you nurture passion, it will grow; if you wait for it, it will eventually speak up. Keep a few things on the back burner for a few days, and they may call you back on their own. Patience is key, and creative spurts come and go, wait for the right one.
In closing, for many of us—especially those with a lot of creative drive—balancing our career and pursuing our dreams are critical to leading a full, enriched life. Good luck and hope all of you have an enriching experience with your passion, like I have!
About the Author:
Priya Vaidya is an accomplished engineer who has pursued her passion of writing, with three published books as well as painting, baking and many other pursuits.