I'm aways interested in how people choose the path they tread. I asked a number of people I respect and admire to talk about how they found their life's purpose.
In the first of a series of blog posts Helen Mary discusses how she turned her passion into a career.
Writer Helen Mary:
We all dream of making a career out of something we love but it is not always that easy. Some of us don’t grow up with a burning passion, we plod along. I remember being so envious of my brother growing up, because he is an unbelievably talented artist. A natural talent he seemed to have had since birth. I never had something like that, something that I was really good at and loved. I had managed to get to my early thirties, drifting from job to job, no direction or purpose other than to pay the bills. There were things I was good at but I didn’t love them. I always had a job rather than a career and I didn’t think I would ever find my way. Then I had children and while it was a chaotic time when they were little, the one huge benefit is it gave me the time to think and readdress my life, career wise.
I am not massively outspoken but I have always had so many thoughts going on in my head that I felt I wanted to share in some way. One day I decided to be brave and start a blog. I didn’t expect anyone to read it but they did and that really gave me that little bit of encouragement I needed. I remember saying to my husband that if I could just get one person to pay me for something I had written it would be a massive achievement. I would feel like I had really accomplished something. It’s a tough career writing, because people expect you to write for free at the beginning unlike most careers and so in my mind I wasn’t a writer until someone was willing to pay me, only then when someone asked me what I did for a living, could I say I’m a writer. I wasn’t about earning masses, to be honest at the beginning if someone had given me a fiver for something I had written, that would have been enough.
I started offering to write for free to gain experience, I wrote for the NCT magazine, a luxury magazine in Dubai, the local paper, a Brighton website and a couple of guest blogs. For the first time in my life I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I was motivated and willing to push myself way out of my comfort zone. I wanted experience with all different styles so I wrote travel editorials, property editorials, opinion pieces, reviews, company blogs and I even wrote a short story which I am exceptionally proud of. At the time I was doing some social media for a digital marketing company and they asked if I wanted to write a trial piece of web content to see if I could do it and they were pleased with my work. That is when I started writing web content. I couldn’t believe it, I was actually getting paid for doing something I loved. It grew from there as I became braver about approaching companies I really wanted to work for and I can now proudly say out loud ‘I am a writer’.
I found my passion at age 34 and four years later, down to hard work, perseverance and faith in my own ability, my passion is now also my career. Maya Angelou said ‘you can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes of you’. So I say to you all, it is never too late to find your passion and when you do, grab it and run with it. You can do whatever you put your mind to if you really want it, go turn your passion into your career.
Read more from Helen at Mostly Talking to myself.
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