“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to discover those jewels––that's creative living.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
A couple of years ago I was at Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina pacing up and down the path to the beach. I was talking to my therapist and out came the revelation that I wanted to be a coach. I had previously been hesitant to bring it up to anyone because when I discussed it with my other half, he responded with the stark reality that I had no time for it - being a CEO and all. I was crushed. My therapist said I should go for it. I was elated. Following that call, I got my headphones, turned on some music, and literally danced in the ocean.
Yes, everyone on the beach thought I was crazy.
For the first time in my life, I didn’t care.
It took two years and the onboarding of my other half before I put myself out there and applied to Duke Medical School. They have one of the most respected Health & Wellbeing Coach trainings. By some miracle I was admitted and it has changed my life.
Lately I’ve found myself thinking about the fact that prior to enrolling (and even afterward) I was terrified. While college had its moments of intimidation, most of it was academic - not real world application. With Duke, not only did we have to apply what we learned immediately, in front of established coaches; we also had to continue to prove ourselves to mentors. I didn’t know if I could do it - it was very much a “take it day by day and pray” situation. In less than a year I went from not knowing how I would coach for five minutes to coaching for hours at a time.
There are moments in life we are called to something - a job, a location, a new beginning, a creative pursuit. Often we turn it down because it doesn’t fit into the comfortable box we’ve built for ourselves. Recently I picked up the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. She says that we all need something that isn’t work to fuel our creative side. And for the human givers of the world, she also states that it shouldn’t be for the benefit of someone else - it should be 100% because it makes us happy. She wrote Eat Pray Love for herself, not anyone else.
So I went from a woman dancing on a beach thinking that one day I’d live that creative passion, to a Duke trained health and wellbeing coach - and what’s more: a much better human. Duke taught me more than how to be a good coach - they also taught me the beauty behind non-judgement, how to genuinely listen, how to acknowledge others, and how to create space for others to be their authentic selves. It didn’t fit in my box and it took away from everything I thought was higher priority, yet it made me the best version of myself I have ever been.
“Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
Our callings should not be ignored.
We have passion for a reason. It may not be convenient and certainly push us out of our comfort zones, but the end result is often so much more rewarding than the daily grind. That isn’t to say, “go quit your job and become a painter.” Even Elizabeth Gilbert kept her day job after being published numerous times. She’s taught me that our creative endeavors shouldn’t pay for our living - instead, they should bring us joy and willingness to live intentionally.
What is your passion? What is the creative thing you love to do that you lose a sense of time while doing? What recharges you?
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
I encourage you to take one step toward that today. Or go pick up Big Magic.
A dancer on beaches