Are you fierce and strong?
Are you full of fire because you have a passion burning inside of you?
Have you ever found yourself stepping back for a moment and looking at the past week, month, or even year and wondering how you survived?
It’s amazing what happens when our survival skills take over. We find we can survive on less sleep, experience more stress, and do more in one day than seems humanly possible.
I’ve lived through a few time blocks that I consider a “year (or period) from Hell:” my father’s two year health struggle from a cranial aneurysm, my mother’s struggle with cancer, my experience with a simple divorce that turned somewhat ugly, my becoming an administrative target at work, moving out of state, and my husband’s current health struggles.
These kinds of struggle can either break you or develop your inner strength. It’s your choice. They can also help you develop a certain fierceness within you. (My daughter-in-law endearingly calls me “Mama Bear” because there isn’t anything I would do to support my kids, their spouses, and the grandchildren at least emotionally.)
But today I would like you to think about the fierceness and strength it will take for you to follow something that you are passionate about.
Does that passion burn inside you? A passion to do something that is nestled in fear?
Let me give you a few examples:
I watch the new episodes of Shark Tank, and the reruns. I am both humbled and motivated by some of the people looking for an investor for their company. Their stories about their journeys are what make me look at myself and say, “If they can accomplish what they have, so can I.”
I had a passion to write early on in my teaching career, but I put it on the back burner because of perceived family and teaching responsibilities. And, when I got laid off from teaching after my first year because of budget cuts, I allowed my fear of leaving the security of a teaching career for a writing career steer me back into a teaching job.
What a mistake!
I had searched the newspaper for jobs. I had applied for a couple of writing related jobs. I did the follow-up calls. But, because in the early 80’s there seemed to be fewer jobs than people who wanted to work, I got discouraged about venturing away from teaching.
I ended up landing a job teaching English/language arts at a Catholic parochial school where, as a Lutheran, I was like a fish out of water. The last straw that motivated me to seek a different teaching job was the directive by the principal, a nun. She had heard I got engaged over Christmas break. She told me that I wasn’t to mention it to my students.
And I still wasn’t writing! An activity I had enjoyed since I had been in elementary school.
My passion for writing all but burned out.
Almost two decades later, a principal granted me the opportunity to teach the resurrected creative writing elective.
Two things happened to me that year.
- I joined the first of several writer organizations in town. I needed to connect to a writing community, something I hadn’t done since college.
- I had a student come to me in October and issue a challenge.
“I’m going to write a 50,000 word novel for NaNo. I bet you can’t.”
“National Novel Writing Month. It’s November. I bet I can write 50,000 words in November, and I bet you can’t.”
Whoa! A challenge from a student? Game on.
I took that challenge and so did one other student in the class. The three of us updated our word count every morning, and by the end of November, the student who challenged me and I had each written better than 50,000 words.
The fire was stoked. The embers hadn’t died, but the flames of that passion needed fuel. A writing contest. A writing challenge. A chance to read what I wrote to my writer’s group. A chance to read what I had written to my Toastmaster’s group. A friend who asked permission to publish a poem I wrote in the local paper.
My passion to write and the fire that feeds my passion is alive and well.
It has taken me a bit of time to believe in my self and my abilities. It has taken me a bit of time to figure out how to be retired AND develop a writing career. But little bit by little bit, my fierceness and my strength and my passions are overcoming my fears.
So, enough about my story.