Part of the Ramadan challenge that I previously mentioned of removing distraction and focusing on understanding myself is figuring out what my thing is.
1. The focus of professional pursuit and growth that enables the creation of impact and meaningful work. Synonyms: passion, focus, career, IT.
This definition does not refer to specialization or academic study but is rather more focused than that. I know I need to be clear on what my thing is for several reasons.
a. I know that what I studied for undergrad and masters is exactly what I wanted to study (questioned and reaffirmed) but it still is a wide wide field of play. Unless one goes down the traditional path (which I have no intention of doing) there is a lot that can be done.
b. There is a lot of need in my context therefore I am easily pulled by different issues that need attention and work. Lots of problems = need for lots of solutions. However, impact does not come from this hopping around of focus and cheating on one issue with several others on the side.
c. Every person whose work I admire in a variety of fields (from illustration to education to sales) has a thing. They have a focus because creating impact requires getting that little seed of a focus and then nurturing it with effort, feeding it knowledge, and helping it grow with experience. Of course, within all that there is plenty of room for creativity and working transversally.
These reasons made it essential that I figure out what my thing is! I was reading Lilly Singh’s book “How to be a Bawse” (which is actually a good read!) and she used a metaphor that really clicked. She said that every person is climbing their ladder – I imagine their ladder is their thing- and in climbing, each rung represents a significant amount of learning, effort and experience. So when we see someone we admire, we see them at a higher rung in their ladder and we may not notice all the rungs they have had to climb to get there. Some also have several ladders but with each one the starting point is always the bottom.
This is good to know when you have a ladder but no one tells you how to find one for yourself. I suppose that is because it is so subjective and requires looking inwards. So I spent time paying attention to the topics that excite me, in work, reading and conversation. I wrote them down and then began to narrow it down gradually. At one point I doubted whether or not I was making any progress because it is not sitting in front of a piece of paper but rather paying attention to my thoughts, my words and my feelings. It is gradual but honing in meant finding a tiny seed.
This was written after the second week of the Ramadan Challenge.
Disclaimer: Always learning… Always evolving… For life. x