What would you rescue if your home suddenly caught fire? It could hold the key to your true career destiny.
I’m passionate about television. I have been since I was a little girl. When I was 5 years old, our house caught on fire, and when my mother came in my room to rescue me, I rescued my little white portable Sony TV. I didn’t have a favorite doll that I lavished love on. I adored my Sony instead.
Suze Orman, who wrote "9 Steps to Financial Freedom," tells a poignant story about a death-defying act that taught her the importance of money more vividly than any lesson. She was also a small child when her father's store caught fire, and he ran into his burning building to save the cash register, and carried it out, burning hot, in his bare arms. My devotion to my TV and its importance in my life felt like that.
Our house practically burned to the ground in our fire, and not very long after that my mom and dad split and I became a latchkey kid. Until my dad came home from work at night, it was pretty much the TV that kept me company. I tuned in to laugh, learn, and feel safe.
When I grew up, I became a television marketing executive and for the past 20 years I have run a brand marketing firm that launches television shows and reinvents television networks. Sony is one of my most-valued clients.
Out of the ashes of that fire, my true destiny was determined.
What really makes you happy? What do you love to do? Who you are can be inferred from the things that interest you most. For instance, my client Werner Berger values courage. His passion is mountain climbing and it has propelled him to become the oldest person in the world to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents.
I think of values as having more inner significance, and passions as being more “of the world.” For instance, one of my passions is cooking, which I can’t claim to be something I value as much as I value love, but cooking does say something about my desire to nurture the people I love, and is therefore a valuable clue to who I am.
Thousands of events, as big as a house fire, as small as a latchkey, go into forming who we are and what’s important to us.
Over the past week, we’ve all read and heard about the devastating fires near Denver, Colorado, that torched 4,000 acres and forced people to make difficult decisions about what to take with them as they evacuated their homes.
Whether you’re burned out or fired up at work, take a moment to think about what you’d rescue from your home if it were threatened by fire. Beyond your life partner, kids, and pets, make a record of those things you love most and just couldn’t part with. It doesn’t matter how many items you list.
This little assignment isn’t designed to change who you are. It’s about becoming self-aware and honest with yourself. It requires no judgments, just observation. But if you don’t like what you see, it’s within your power to make changes.
Your passions may be buried beneath a pile of work and responsibilities. Just for today, set them aside and dig deep to find the real you.
Robin Fisher Roffer is a leading brand strategist and reinvention specialist. Founder and CEO of Big Fish Marketing, she is the author of Make A Name For Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs To Create A Personal Brand Strategy For Success, The Fearless Fish Out Of Water: How To Succeed When You’re The Only One Like You, and Reinventing Yourself: 10 Steps To Shifting Your Career Into High Gear. Learn about her Reinvent Yourself! Workshops at http://relevanceinstitute.com/