Often we can find our passion by recalling our earliest interests, what we were naturally drawn to. "What did you want to be when you grew up?" the coach asked Susan.
She grew quiet for a bit. "When I was a little girl," she finally answered, "I remember reading every book I could find on wildlife. I used to say I was going to be a veterinarian when I grew up. I was crazy about animals, but I didn't love the thought of operating on them. So maybe I didn't really want to be a vet. But I did love watching spiders build webs on our back porch. Or birds take off in flight. I loved the outdoors. I loved hiking. Still do. But you know, as I'm sitting here thinking about it with you, I guess it's not just about the nature. I love watching people too. It's part of what I adore about being in the city on my lunch hour—just watching people and how they interact."
"I guess it's trying to understand what exactly is going on. Trying to figure out what they're doing and where they're going, trying to predict how they'll act if a certain circumstance is presented." Susan was identifying a passion for learning that carried over to a joy in traveling and reading about animals, people and various cultures. She enjoyed sharing her knowledge with others, drawing her daughter and close friends into her interests. If Susan's work was to be aligned with who she really was, learning would have to be a central focus. But her passion for learning was just a single part of the three-part equation. For Susan to unwrap her gift, she would need to discover her values and strengths as well.