Find Your Passion!

Posted on August 15, 2011


Condoleezza "Condi" Rice

My husband, Willie, bought and read a book a while back written by Mary Beth Brown that he said I should read. The subject was Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under the junior Bush administration. The title is Condi: The Life of a Steel Magnolia. Reading into it, I found some things that resonate in me as they relate to writing and life in general.

Regardless of your political affiliation, I think you might find them helpful.

While speaking at the Boston College commencement in 2006, Ms. Rice shared her opinion on education and listed “five important responsibilities of educated people.” I believe these are also responsibilities of those who want to achieve success in writing.

They are as follows:

1. Find Your Passion — you may not even be aware of what it is yet. I know writers often have a passion to write, so that’s why they do what they do. I also believe, though, that there is a passion within the writing that we all have but may have yet to discover it. For instance, I knew I had a passion to write about law, so I found a way to do that. I had a passion to write books, but never came up with a subject on which I was comfortable writing. An acquaintance knew I wrote for a living and asked me to write a book with him. After I started helping him, he referred me to a co-worker who has a great human story to tell and I jumped on the offer to write it for her. I realized my gateway to writing books on a broader scale may come from helping these two people write their stories.

2. Use Your Reason — I always tell my followers and those who will listen to use your head and your heart — reason AND passion. I believe there are God-given desires each of us have placed in our hearts that we need to fulfill. Exercise reason WITH passion and it will have a tendency to keep you balanced in life. Our emotions or passion may draw us one direction. When we reason it out, though, we may realize a totally new, more-balanced direction. Sometimes, however, our reasoning negates our passion, but don’t let it be THE overpowering force. I liken reason to the rudder that controls our passion. We may have a whole lotta passion, but that small rudder guides us to safety and our next destination, where our passion will be a little more satisfied.

3. Cultivate Humility — Reject false pride. No one is perfect and no one has arrived at success without a variety of mitigating factors. Don’t think that because you are successful that you have anything more to offer or are any more special than anyone else in the writing world. As Condi says, “Never assume that your own sense of entitlement has gotten you what you have or that it will get you what you want.” Be grateful for your status or success (regardless of what it is) and cultivate humility.

4. Be Optimistic — Always. Are you struggling in your writing? Maybe you’re having difficulty finding good writing jobs or people tell you that your talent needs honing. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt and been there again. If you’re meant to write, it always turns around (exercise reason with that passion) — if you hang in there long enough, work hard enough and are meant to continue writing.

5. Serve Others. I find this to be one of the most fulfilling exercises in life. I serve my husband and children in any way I can. I serve my church, community, friends, several non-profit groups and my writing community in every way possible. This has a tendency to take the focus off of yourself and your own problems and help be part of the solution for others. I love that!

These five responsibilities resonate in me and I practice them every opportunity I get. What responsibilities do you exercise that fulfill you?