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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO

Part 1: Rediscovering your Passion



"When you don't know what to do, DO..."

"What DO?"

"Just DO. Do something."

"Do what?"

"Do something you like...something that gets you heat up as in' turn on.' Something you'll enjoy. Something you feel meaningful. Something you like. Something you are good at. Something..."

" How do I know what I like? I feel lost. I feel light. Up in the head. I can't see anything in my head. It's blank. It's like...it's like ..anorexic up there. I have no appetite for thinking, but I have a longing. I want to be. I want to do something useful. Something that makes me feel alive! Something that makes me feel purposeful. Something I am, was good at...something..."

"There are several ways to rediscover what you are good at, even what you are passionate at. A quick and easy way is to ask people who are really close to you, family or friends. "What do you think I am good at doing?" "What do you think are my best skills, as in what I do very well?" "What do you see me doing when I am happiest?" Of course, this has to be a long and deep discussions with validating questions. Not that you do not trust anyone, but to make sure you get an accurate assessment. Of which you will reflect and try to reconnect with that passion. By designing an action schedule, one small step at a time to ease you into your productive zone. The key strategy is discovery and easing into. Take care not to overwhelm yourself with lofty targets.




The other way which is useful is to construct the timeline of your life from junior school to the present. At each major milestone identify your wins, your best performance. What were they? What were you appreciated for? What is the common thread?

Reviewing my timeline, I was at my best when engaged in activities and works that were communications linked. My first win was reciting a 'pantun' or poem at the annual school day. For that I was presented a hard cover fully illustrated, "Little Red Riding Hood." My first treasure.

The next milestone for me was three or four years later. I won a small red Toshiba radio and an electric shaver in a radio product slogan contest. Hearing my name being called, on air, as a winner pumped me with pride. I can almost sense the feeling now, although it happened when I was 12. ( I remember keeping the radio and giving the shaver away to my tuition teacher. Giving something away to someone I looked up to, made it an exhilarating experience.)



Before my next big deals, I had two highs in high school. Those days, I was crazy about Hemingway. I remember reading 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' by the street lamp, late into the night. I was not allowed to switch on the room lights. I was reading with the light from the street lamp. It was not direct illumination, streams of light were peering through the lattices of the window. It was good fortune to have a street lamp standing tall outside your bedroom window. Except when the 'rain bugs' drawn by it, would circle it for a while, and then  proceeded to explore your room as part of their itinerary.

Back to the high school highs. I submitted an essay, aping the style of Hemingway. My English teacher, a certain Mr. Reutens wasn't aware, but I was floating when he commended, "excellent." The other high was not unexpected. This was something which I had 'natural talent for.' I scored straight A's for my fine art papers. It was not the result that was etched into the emotion part of my brain but the grand ceremony by the art teacher. He called me in to the teachers' common room and said with accompanying gesture, "I salute you."

Thrown into the job market, I was hired as a 'studio executive' with a local advertising agency. The virtual JD (Job Description) included designing the visuals and logos, copy-writing, delivering the finished artworks and collection.Virtual JD because there was no written JD. You volunteered it when the boss asked you to do it. The high was not that I was hired. I nearly hit the roof again when the logo I designed, for one of the largest industrial corporations at that time, was accepted. Although the boss, who owned one of the larger Mercedeses on the island, did not pay up, it was not my problem. I felt like I was in a state of flourish, seeing my work used on their packaging.




Once in a while, I wonder. How would my life change if it was smooth sailing for the next episode. I sent in a portfolio and was accepted as a cartoonist for the national newspaper at that time. I was offered a weekly rate by the editor, who, before we started our business relationship, left. No one in that organization cared to reply to my queries despite having an offer letter signed by the editor. It was a tremendous loss for me but it was a high. 

Big time came within a year. I was hired as a HR person. My talent was recognized before the year was out. I assigned the founding editor of their in- house newsletter. Then I was lured by another large corporation to revive their newsletter. The job expanded,covering the full spectrum employee communications portfolio. Thrown into the  'basket of goods'  was the function of organizing events. Events are not just for fun and festivities, they are an important communications and development tool.

For me, the common thread is as clear as daylight. Communications, communications, communications. As you structure your timeline, you will get to see the common thread. It may not be as lucid as mine, however, you will get it. If you have more than one thread, how do you feel about each? Is there something that resonates with you?


Our conversation continues...


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