Last night I enjoyed a leisure time with my 3-year-old son coloring with crayons. It was the first time in more than 20 years that I had “played” with those little wax sticks. Even through my 15 years of art training from grade school to college, I had used professional level media and eventually worked my way into a serious career in graphic design.
Any business owner, perhaps you, who has followed his or her passion and turned it into a career, could probably attest that the pressure in using our talents for something as important as putting a roof over our head and food on our table, could easily start feeling mundane. Yes, even in an industry we have greatly enjoyed, our efforts become systematic and competitive… and then we get ourselves so consumed with “moving forward” that we neglect “stepping back.”
By “stepping back” I don’t mean analyzing last year’s earnings and marketing efforts for better decision-making in the future. No… I mean getting physically and mentally engaged in something that has helped to influence your former child’s dream for the future.
For example, in just the past week I have colored in several pages of Elmo with more joy than I remember having when I did it as a little girl. Can you bring to mind something that you enjoy so much that when you’re focused on it, everything else fades into the background? That was the level of focus with Elmo, of all things! Of course, when I was a child, completing a page in a coloring book took more effort because, at that time, it was a step moving forward… you get the gist.
But now that I am so much farther along in my artistic accomplishments, getting myself fully engaged in something, that initially established the direction of my life-long path, did not bore me as if I had “been there, done that.” Instead, it really seemed to recharge my creative passion, because I could sincerely appreciate and embrace the smaller achievements that put me where I am. And because of this, I am now in a place where I can recognize the rewards of my life-long diligence with gladness. This, I believe, brings even greater passion to my work and will consequentially boost the success of my career regardless of the competition.
If you make a point of reading the Bible, perhaps you’re familiar with the following:
- Job 8:7: “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.”
- And I always like to paraphrase Zechariah 4:10 to say, “Do not despise meager beginnings.”
Considering my own experiences, I think it’s easy to think about these verses when we’re moving in a forward direction and making small accomplishments while hoping for a big payoff later on. But I believe that, last night, God gave me these thoughts in sort of a backwards context to serve a different purpose. I believe He wanted to intimately remind me of why I am where I am, and to give me joy to pursue a different level of expertise.
I couldn’t possibly tell you how it would work for you since we’re all unique in our experiences. But I do challenge you to revisit your inner child and do something you haven’t done passionately in years. If you have children, get them involved and allow them to lead you. If you’re a cosmetologist, take turns with a child in putting makeup on each other. Don’t get too technical with it… have fun and allow yourself to make mistakes.
Take a day to refrain from being the super-established professional you are, and humble yourself to those “meager” beginnings that put you where you “are” and let them open you up to rediscovering yourself for where you’ll be. You might be surprised at how much better you become at what you do.