What Do You Care About?

One of the most important steps in figuring out your place in the world is to stop and ask yourself what you care about most. Most of us did this as children, but I’m fairly convinced that over time, we often trade our passions in for the pragmatic. What will make us the most money? What is easiest or most convenient? What makes the most sense for now? Maybe we put our passions on the shelf at one point and never returned to them. Or even worse, maybe we’ve never asked ourselves the question to begin with.

But it’s an important exercise. Our callings are wrapped up in our passions and our gifts–what we care about and what we’re good at and where the two overlap. And while it’s okay to do what needs to be done to get by when it’s all we can do, it’s not okay to become complacent or to ignore the things we know we were meant to do.

I spent way too long in one place, because I was scared of making the change. I questioned myself and my motivations, I assumed I was just being flighty or selfish. I told myself I was unqualified. But I’m here to tell you now, years later, that if you feel that nagging sense of discontent and longing for something else for an extended period of time, you really might be doing the wrong thing. And it’s okay to find a way to get paid to do what you love, especially if you sense the call. It’s not selfish. In fact, as your world becomes happier and more content, you can do more for the people around you. As everything falls into place and you find a peace in your work, you’ll find your ability to serve others in a way you never could before. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the other people in your life.

And so a while back, at the prompting of my friend Alejandro, I finally asked myself the question “What Am I Passionate About?” And here’s how I answered:

First, in general I’m a curious person. I like knowing things, I like keeping up with the latest when it comes to gadgets and technology, and I like having the inside scoop on what’s what in all sorts of fields. I like it when people consider me a resource, and I like it when I can connect people that ought to be connected. Over the past month, I’ve had a lot of different, unconnected people tell me they think one of my greatest talents is networking. I’m not sure I would have said that about myself, but I like knowing people think of me that way. It’s something I’d like to develop further.

Second, and closely related to the first, I’m not only a curious person, but I’m a sort of nerdy, intellectual type. Still, I consider myself quite balanced here. I know a number of nerdy intellectuals who put me to shame in that arena. But I care about knowledge in a theological and philosophical sense. I don’t just want to know the latest and greatest, I also want to know things at their core. I care about etymology and foundation, and my faith definitely influences my choices and work ethic. I see laziness in thought and action as directly linked to ingratitude.

Third, I also have a thing for power. This is probably one of the more negative driving forces inside of me. I’m motivated by the deep desire to be overwhelmingly successful. I like to be involved with big ideas and life-changing events. I am passionate about process improvement, and I am for anything that makes life easier, richer, healthier, lovelier, safer, etc. I love creativity and invention, but I’m also very drawn to the sort of creativity that changes paradigms.

Fourth, I have a weird relationship with money. I guess growing up in a household where people considered me “rich,” made me a little reactionary. I never wanted to be someone people considered “spoiled” or “lazy,” and my parents definitely didn’t raise me to be spoiled or lazy. So, there’s a bit of overcompensation there when it comes to work. I will dive into something and give it everything I’ve got. There’s definitely something to prove there, and I’ve got no problem giving up a social life to put in 14 hour days. That having been said, I would love to make a ton of money, but I want to feel like I’ve earned it. I’m thankful for the way I grew up and the experiences and passion it’s given me to be successful. I’m thankful for the resources that are available to me if I need them. These things are blessings, but I don’t ever want to take them for granted and/or rely on them over and above hard work.

Fifth, I have a passion for my community, my country, my world. I care about everything from religion to politics to education to health. I know at the heart of all of these things is a desperate need for education and resources, and I love anything that helps the community as a whole grow, evolve, develop into something better, something real, something powerfully deep in connection and relationships. But I’m not interested in getting there through government programs. I want to see individuals and groups rising up and taking action to make their communities better. We can’t and shouldn’t trust the government to make our lives better. We need to lookout for ourselves and our neighbors intentionally and purposefully. It’s our burden.  We can’t just rid it to someone else. Our neighbor’s hurts are our hurts, and our communities are best served when we all train ourselves to recognize the needs of others and to help when we are able.

After committing some of these things to writing, I was finally in a place to start discovering what it all meant. And that took time. In fact, I’m still figuring it out. Thankfully, God keeps dropping opportunities in my lap and introducing some pretty great people into my life, so I’ve been able to learn a whole lot very quickly and dabble in quite a few areas. Over time, I’ve been able to solidify more of what my ideal sort of work schedule and environment looks like, figure out my priorities, and morph my schedule to accommodate my priorities. And most importantly, I’ve figured out a way to fund my daily bread while still allowing myself to build and create on the side.

But these sort of things don’t usually just happen to us. They require work, determination, and a willingness to take a few risks. That kind of stuff can be really scary. But I’ll tell you what’s truly scary; what’s truly scary is the mundane life. The life without passion. The life without ambition. Do you really want to be doing what you’re doing now for the rest of your life? If you do, great! But if you don’t, you need to stop what you’re doing right now. Stop. Seriously. And make a list.

I’m challenging you today to write down the top five things you’re passionate about. Blog about them. Share them here. Get them on paper. And then ponder, pray, and dare to dream about what it could be like if you could spend your days attending to the things you care about most. That’s where it starts, friends.

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Beka Johnson
Beka Johnson

Beka is the Director of Inbound Marketing for a fintech company in the Seattle area. She loves dabbling, reading, scheming, writing, and dreaming up ways to make good things better. When she’s not working, you can find her digging up all sorts of adventures in her new city.

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