Sarah May Bates
April 07, 2013 7:00 am

Maybe you’re a great artist or you’ve always had a passionate love for cooking. Maybe you’ve always been great at math or you really enjoy planning parties. Everyone you know tells you constantly that you must pursue this thing because “It’s your true calling and you’re so good at it!” You struggle to find the path in your life toward this thing, but it’s just never there. Life is headed in a different direction, and you’re actually doing well on the path that you’re on. More importantly, you can’t jump onto a totally new path because that would mean dismantling everything stable in your life. And where would you even be jumping to? What career is it that you’re meant to do and why wasn’t it more natural for you to arrive at it originally? Well, do not fret, because you can’t “change lives” overnight and even if you could, that life might not be as perfect for you as you think. At least, not right now. You are exactly where you need to be right now, to get where you need to go. What you can do is be productive with your energy so that your talents are shared with the world around you.

Start by acknowledging this talent you possess, and make an effort to foster it like the starter of a great loaf of bread, so that it is allowed to grow. (Yeah, I like eating.) A new sourdough bread starter is fed and nurtured over a long period of time before it is able to inspire bread. Kept active, the starter grows faster and faster, until one day it is so strong and full of spirit that it can bring to life many hearty and delicious loaves of bread. But to get there, it must be fed, or the starter will die. Okay, enough with the baking analogy… Instead of feeling bad that you’re not jumping off of the path you’re on now, take a moment to recognize the talents that you have. Know that they are real and a part of who you are, even if you’re not being paid to do them, and even if you’re not famous for doing them. Never dismiss them. Keep this talent alive, as you would the starter of these many loaves of bread. Whenever an opportunity arises in your life that rewards this talent, take it. Create things with this talent. Take physical actions that bring new things into the world. Whether it’s a blog or a special party you organize for a friend or a favor you do for someone at work etc. Make stuff. Build stuff. Write stuff. Use that muscle as often as possible, and pursue opportunities that arise, on the path you are on now.

What you might soon discover is that your life will take new bends toward this thing that you’re great at. You will become something of a magnet for more opportunity, and it will feel natural and easy; almost magical or fated. When there are no opportunities, create things for yourself on your own time. Just make things that you are proud of, big or small. Those things will confirm back to you who you are and what you are capable of. It’s a weird concept, but you can actually inspire yourself. You reflect back yourself what you’re really made of and in turn, you grow even stronger.

While you foster your talent, don’t waste energy on what you wish you did or he or she is doing, or where you “should” be. That just distracts you from creating things. You make decisions about your life for many reasons, and whether or not you’re conscious of it, sometimes our souls decide we want different lives for ourselves than our brains tell us we do. For example, maybe you had a real rough patch and now safety and stability are high priorities. That is totally logical and valid and it doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you didn’t move away for a chance at a great gig. Based on experiences, sometimes our priorities shift away from professional goals and more about relationships, and that’s okay too. Perhaps your talent is meant to be used much later in your life when you are more able to pursue it from a more colorful and experienced vantage point, or even one that is more financially stable. It can be a disappointment to realize your ambitions do not align with those of your smartest, coolest friends and peers, but don’t blame yourself for not wanting something. The best growth happens when you accept who you are and focus on pursuing what all of you wants. You can’t force yourself to want something if it’s not really you.

If you are authentically yourself in everything you do, your path will lead you closer to the things that reward you, naturally. Just like a stream making it’s way down the face of a mountain covered with trees and rocks. The water will always flow in the right direction. It will find its own path around obstacles, and as it continues to flow, it will grow stronger.

Happy Sunday, friends. xox Sarah

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