Do you remember when you were a kid and every time you talked about your favorite subject you lit up? What was it? What made you feel like the world revolved around you and you wanted everyone to be a part of it? Close your eyes, drown out the noise and recall when you were the center of the Universe. Do you still feel the same about it? Does your passion for this still sparkle? When we love something, we actually shine. We are beings of energy and we literally light up when we’re happy. Think of lovers looking into each other’s eyes. Look at the eyes of a wedding couple or parents looking at their newborn. See the luster oozing from within? Are you still reflecting that light, that glitter? If not, perhaps now is your time to shine.

When did you take the wrong track and let your fire go out? Were you one of millions who listened to the crowd and went after money, the way I did? Ever since I was a little girl I knew I was destined to help others. In fact, I experienced two visions about it; one when I was around five years old and another one as an adult while visiting Israel. Both messages reinforced that my work is meant to lift others up. When I was offered $65K plus bonuses and perks straight out of graduate school, I forgot my passion and I went for the money.

After I left trading I became involved in ministry. I had the opportunity to do amazing outreach work and awaken others to the joy of service but, I could not keep my light from going out. I became disenchanted with the politics of religion and the inconsistency between the message and the action.

I decided to create a non-profit to fill the gap with the mission of raising public awareness about the value of volunteering and to provide opportunities for service. We had an all-volunteer agency including its board of directors. I was never so happy, but I had bills to pay and the bureaucracy kept me from working in the field.

My hours were consumed with paper work and most of my time was spent in accountability leaving little time for action and programs. Many worthwhile humanitarian programs die every year because of the voluminous amount of formsthat need to be submitted and the time spent keeping up with changing laws to ensure conformity. The laws governing non-government organizations (NGO’s) are complex and vast.

Not one to easily give up, I tried different businesses hoping to combine my passion for service with a steady salary. I was in despair at the thought of living a life without purpose. I came across digital marketing and a whole new world of potential opened up. My spark reignited and my light today shines brighter than ever.

But this story is not about me. It’s about you. I want to know what drives you andhow I may be able to reignite your light. What can you be doing instead to make you sparkle again? What activities excite you? I met a very successful doctor recently who would rather be fishing than in the operating room. I meet professionals all the time who complain about their work and who would rather be writing, playing golf or spending more time at home.

I take my hat off to people who snub their noses at the crowd and turn in the opposite direction. It takes a lot of courage and conviction to follow your heart instead of a paycheck like I did. It may seem scary in the beginning but in the long run, who is the happiest? Who has the more interesting stories to tell? Who radiates the most?

Do you know that there are endless possibilities for online commerce and that you can market your passion globally without giving up income? It just takes a different way of thinking. Take the story of Paul Graham, a computer scientist, venture capitalist and writer.

He realized that what keeps us from living to our highest potential is that we get stuck into old patterns of thinking. The “light bulb” goes on when we look at things in a different light and when we allow our imagination to take over. Now is your time to shine. How can you turn your passion into profit? Start remembering what lights you up.

My period of “hopping around” looking for ways to feel happy in my work meant that I was not where I was supposed to be. If I was happy, why did I keep looking over the fence? It’s like being in an unfulfilling marriage. The wandering spouse is looking for something different because the excitement is gone and the passion has faded.

Maybe on some level during my years of professional drifting I was looking for approval, the acceptance from others that what I was doing was okay. I learned that so long as you work for someone else, you’ll rarely get recognition. I wonder how many people go through life like this. When I found my passion, I didn’t need anyone’s validation. My enthusiasm lit the way.

When our oldest son graduated from Brown University (turned down Harvard), after attending Georgetown for undergraduate and 12 years previous to that a preparatory school, he dropped a bomb shell on us. On graduation day, he announced that he had decided to become an actor. Left speechless and knowing it would be best to bite my tongue, I played along thinking this was a passing phase.

Do you know what? Out of his entire class, he’s the only one that has been consistently and gainfully employed in theatre, film and voiceovers. He’s never been happier. Most of his classmates gave up their dreams. The others are working at unfulfilling jobs. Our son sparkles and radiates when he leaves the stage. He often tells us how fortunate he is to follow his passion. Can you put a price on your child’s happiness? How about your own? The point I’m trying to make is that when you follow your bliss you will be happiest. Find your passion for work, let your light glow again, it’s your time to shine too.

ROXANA BOWGEN, Digital Marketing Strategist

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