I often share my personal story about my son with multiple disabilities and how at the age of 4 he had been excluded from playing soccer. It was not the first time I had personally felt the ramifications of exclusion, but this time it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was one of those people that had to be brought to my knees and knocked in the head a few times to hear my calling. I was 40 years old when I was forced to carry my son off the soccer field. It shows you how long it took for me to finally hear my calling.
Somehow in the business of life I had forgotten to listen to my heart. When I finally did hear it, it came through loud and clear.
What Have You Been Born to Do?
People often ask how I became so passionate about inclusion and how they can begin to find their calling. One of the best questions to ask yourself is, “What makes your heart sing?” Tune out the world and tune into your heart. Listen to yourself and pay attention to what brings your life joy. What are your strengths and how can you turn those into tools to help you achieve your passions? As I began pursuing my calling for inclusion, I felt an infinite amount of joy whenever I worked with children. It did not just make me happy, it was as if I had found heaven on earth. There was no question that this was what I was born to do.
Don’t Let Being Busy Consume Your Life
Being busy often consumes us and keeps us from finding our calling or living a life that has real meaning and purpose. My life had become almost like a broken record. I was very busy doing the same thing day in and out. My “to-do list” kept getting larger but my heart seemed to be getting smaller. Life seemed to be living me, not me living life. I felt less joy and longed for more greater meaning and purpose. I was taking care of kids, going to work, caring for the house, and the list goes on. I needed to experience my son’s heart break of exclusion to wake up. From then on, I began to hear a faint voice growing from within. As I began to listen to that voice, I started to understand how to turn my passion for equity and inclusion into my life’s purpose.Instead of spending so much time on making your daily “to-do list”, spend time listening to your life and trying new things that make your heart sing.
Never Stop Listening
Once you begin to find what makes your heart sing, continue to expand on it. It may begin when you are coaching a team, teaching a class, or volunteering in a homeless shelter. Whatever it is, take the time to listen to your heart. Write down daily what makes your heart sing and begin to look for patterns. Think of it as a treasure hunt that will open doors to an abundance of opportunity and possibilities. Your heart will begin to take you on a journey that will never be easy, but will progressively reveal what you have been called to do.
I strongly believe that when you find your purpose, you will find that place deep inside where you belong. It is not a physical place but an inward sense that is almost all consuming and unshakable. For me, it felt like I was home or that I had finally found that place I had always been searching for.
I do believe we all have a calling or a seed that was planted deep inside. The first step is to keep asking yourself what makes your heart sing. For the next few weeks we will talk about other steps you can take to find your passion and begin to grow that voice from being faint to something that becomes your guiding force. Again, write it down and look for the patterns. Journal a few lines every day. Write what you do well, what are strengthens, and what brings you joy and gratitude. Every week highlight patterns, words, and actions that repetitively pop out at you. Do you notice similarities and when you read your journal does it lift your spirit?
Always remember, never allow your heart to go silent or the calling that lies deep within you to remain dormant. Instead, pay attention to what makes your life worth living and begin to listen to what makes your heart sing!
All proceeds from the Include ME! book and donations will go toward our mission of promoting inclusion. Click below to purchase the book.