What dream in life gets your heart racing? If you could do anything for a living, what would it be? What if you could spend the 40+ hours you spend at your “day job” doing what you really love? In his book Quitter, Jon Acuff will help you answer these questions and perhaps nudge you further from where you are and closer to where you’d love to be.
By Jon Acuff
Whenever you start trying to actively figure out what it is you want to do, whenever you start to search for the thing that makes you come alive, something weird happens. You imagine you are going to discover it.
You might not verbalize this, but inside you start to think that when you finally land upon what it is you are supposed to be doing with your life, it will be a pleasant surprise. We all tend to view the process of finding our dream job like arriving at our surprise birthday party. We imagine we will take a personality test, arrive at the results and be blown away. Like we never saw it coming.
“Circus acrobat? Wow! And I’m an accountant. No wonder these years have been so hard. I should be in the circus.”
We think finding out what we want to do is going to be a revelation. In our twenties or thirties or forties, we will serendipitously stumble upon some activity we’ve never done and like a kid tasting ice cream for the first time, we’ll be hooked. Light bulb! Turns out we like beekeeping. Although we’ve always appreciated honey as a concept and definitely in Cheerios, we’ve never had a fascination with queen bees and hives. But suddenly we want to spend time around bees. A lot of time in a lot of weird suits with smoke and local farmers who have braids in their beards.
That’s what we believe about our dreams. But dreams rarely work that way.
In his book, Start with Why, author Simon Sinek discusses this reality. He calls our dreams, or calling, our “WHY.” He says, “The WHY for every individual or organization comes from the past. It is born out of the upbringing and life experience of an individual.” He further explains that finding WHY is not a process of “invention.” I agree with that. And I would take it one step further.
I think finding your dream job or what Sinek calls your “WHY” is more than a revelation or an act of discovery. I believe it’s a process of recovery.
More often than not, finding out what you love doing most is about recovering an old love or an inescapable truth that has been silenced for years, even decades. When you come to your dream job, your thing, it is rarely a first encounter. It’s usually a reunion. So instead of setting out to discover this thing you love doing, you’ve got to change your thinking and set out to recover it, maybe even rescue it.
Excerpted from Quitter by Jon Acuff. Copyright 2011 Lampo Licensing, LLC. Published by Lampo Press. Used with permission.
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