A few weeks ago I was listening to a webinar by Darren Lecroix and Ford Saeks. They nailed it when they said too many people give up on their passion by “settling”. Wouldn’t everyone love to feel passionate about their job and look forward to getting up and going to work? But for many, this is just not reality and a vast amount of people settle for work which will pay them a wage, give them decent hours and good benefits.
Sometimes we find the “perfect” job but lose our passion along the way due to being treated poorly, getting stressed, having terrible co-workers or just losing the interest we once had. Our home life can get in the way too so that we have to make choices between a passion for a job and being there for our family and partners.
I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I was younger.. I wanted to be a pilot but when I went to sign up with the RAF in England, I was shocked to find that at that time they didn’t hire females to be pilots, a huge disappointment. Then I decided on another career - a teacher. I was on track with college interviews and everything seemed to be falling into place but then my parents broke up when I was 18 and I wasn’t sure what my future would be.. follow my mother to live with her family in Canada or stay in England and pursue a teaching degree. I only had to look around to find friends coming out of college who were not getting jobs and I quickly made up my mind to go to Canada and make a living as quickly as possible. And so I took a job as a secretary. Yes, I had settled but I was going to be a teacher eventually.. or so I thought. As time went on, I was advancing up the administrative ladder and getting paid very well, I was enjoying the people I worked for and got a lot of respect.. would it be enough? Somehow my passion was forgotten.
Of course, then everything in my life changed - I had a baby, found out we had HIV and then there were years of trying to overcome the sadness and stigma.
However, along the way I was learning a lot which would help me eventually revisit my passion. Here is what happened...
I started to speak about having HIV and talked a lot to the media. My fears of speaking were vanquished and I was finally able to educate others. As time went on, I gave more and more speeches and then I joined Toastmasters to get some evaluation, feedback and lessons on how to speak properly and off-the-cuff.
There was a day about a year ago when I felt that it was time to make HIV a bi-line of my life and I wondered what I would do. I pondered it for quite some time and eventually it dawned on me that the thing I loved the most was what I had already been doing for years - speaking to people at conferences and in the media.. teaching others. I then wondered what I would speak about because I certainly didn’t want HIV to be all I ever spoke about and I needed to go back to my roots - enjoying laughter and being a giver to others.
I decided to speak about overcoming hard times in your life, combatting stress and giving others the tools I had used and that really worked for me. I wanted to be an entertainer with stories and some funny anecdotes.
By doing this, I felt I could help people with their passion and wanted to show them how they could get over changes and stress to still focus on what they most enjoyed.
That is how I came to be a professional speaker and, with great coaching from fellow expert speakers such as Hugh Culver, I dream that I can live my passion as it should be lived - with excitement, happiness and pride.. and with a feeling of gratitude for living in a country that helps you believe in yourself.
Denise Becker’s public speaking website is here.