Passion. I love to say the word out loud just to hear the sound of it. It resonates with me, making me think of all the experiences that fuel me, give me my juice: my work, speaking in front of 50 people or 5,000 and seeing someone have an "AHA! moment," my great friendships, my dogs, the trees in my front yard, my wondrous, amazing, unfolding life.
I knew the day I first arrived in Chicago to audition for a talk show that even if I didn't get the job, I'd find a way to live here. There was an energy, a connection, a holy vibe that said, "Yes! This is where you belong!" Well, I did get the job, at AM Chicago—but going to work wasn't just a job anymore, a means to an end. It was something I so loved doing that I would have done it for free.
Almost 20 years after I landed here, it's clear the universe had a bigger plan for me than I ever imagined for myself. I didn't end up here by chance. Long before I'd left Baltimore, where I'd been an anchorwoman, I'd walk around with the song "Chicago, Chicago!" in my head. I believe we discover our destinies in the smallest ways—in a fascination with words, in the thrill a child's laughter evokes, and even in a familiar song we keep humming. If you pay attention to these cues—to the times you've felt most joyous, most fully engaged, most connected with yourself and others—you'll always be guided to the next best place.
I know for sure that every person in the world has a purpose for being here—a calling. The work of your life is to discover that purpose and get on with the business of living it out. The only courage you need is the courage to find and follow your passion.
Does what you're doing now feel right? Does it fill you up or leave you drained? Forget what everyone else wants for you. This is not your mother's or your best friend's journey. Your role is not just as your husband's wife, your boss's employee, or your children's mother. Only you were there for all the significant moments that hold the clues to your calling.
There's an old gospel song with a refrain I love: "I've got fire, fire, fire shut up in my bones." We were all born with this fire, but beginning in childhood, we let others snuff it out. Passion is the log that keeps the fire of purpose blazing. Your work now is to find that fire and rekindle it—and then to let it burn.