Archive for February, 2012

 Saving the World: Coming back to your love first love

I've taken a time-out to reflect on something everyone wants to know: "What do I [you] actually love to do?" This question is very different from what you can do. A lot of us sell ourselves short of what we can accomplish (gulity). But setting our competence and experience (or lack of) aside, what is it that you enjoying doing??? And why isn't it obvious?

For some reason, this nagging question hits the twenty-somethings the hardest. And it can be paralyzing if you let it get the best of you. Alas, there is hope! I'd like to share a glimpse of my approach so far to "figuring life out" and my most recent result from the process. Yes, it's a process. Life is a process. Get used to it!

Sam's How to Figure Out what You Love Approach:

  • Pick 2-3 things that you would like to explore for 3-6 months. This could be anything to which you're drawn. Feeding the homeless with Food on Foot. Learning about the solar industry and how to finance solar panels. Writing and producing music in your very own home(made) studio. Perhaps you're the 1% that likes to voice his/her opinion online and want to consider blogging on an issue you care about--like healthcare!  Maybe you want to checkout what the startup hacker world is like after moving to the San Francisco Bay area. It's also possible you may want to delve deeper into something you've done in the past.
  • Stick to your exploratory ideas for 3-6months. The trick is to stick to your few exploratory ideas for a specified amount of time. If you don't stick to it, then you're back to square one. You don't want to go back to those days! I talked about the dangers of sticking to one idea in a previous post here. Here's what happens when you stick to your ideas. You get more ideas. Ideas on things you'd really enjoy. Maybe you'll learn things you can transfer to an old idea. Or a new one. You're not wasting your time or your life. It's worth it to have clarity. Clarity provides direction...and peace.
  • Evaluate yourself on the passion scale each month. How are you doing on your explorations?  What aspects do you enjoy and which aspects do you enjoy least? What would it take for you to keep exploring a given area? Remember, these are checkpoints. Evaluate yourself with a friend. Have a friend ask you some questions and take notice on how you answer. But remember, don't give up on your pursuit!
  • Stick with the idea in which you feel you can be yourself. After your specified amount of exploration time, you'll notice that the idea you end up of loving most is the idea in which you feel most comfortable being yourself. It's true. When you can tie in passion, personality, and skill, then you have hit the jackpot. Even if you don't have the skills, matching passion and personality will take you far (you'll acquire the skills as you go).

And now...the results of Sam's 6 month pursuit on figuring out life: saving the world through sustainability! This is in fact, my first love. However, I wouldn't have seen how important this interest is to me if I hadn't taken the time to explore other things like the San Francisco hacker's circle and general business plan consulting. I now plan to use this exploration knowledge to my technical/entrepreneurial work in sustainability. Through my eyes, this is a field-worth-pursing because I see a beautiful merge between improving people's lives, changing our very environment for the better, and using entrepreneurship to find the answers.

Don't waste your life not knowing what you truly love. Take some time to seek clarity. It's worth it. Follow your dreams!

Here's a TED talk worth watching if you'd like to learn more about issues around sustainability in a visual fashion! Very cool.