The Many Meant To Be’s or Passions We Have
When I was sitting watching the startups getting their awards @ the Startup Columbia event something daunted me. I paused for a second and realized, what am I doing here? It was just 10 years ago when I graduated from Columbia with a Masters in Public Administration and I thought this is what I was meant to be doing. Then I thought, how many “meant to be’s or call it passions" do we have in life. Never would I have imagined sitting in a startup competition and mingle around Startups CEOs, Venture Capitalists, and Philanthropists. After I graduated from Columbia I was off doing what I thought I was supposed to do after getting my master’s which was to empower and rebuild communities in developing countries - so I was off to the Middle East and Asia. I never realized that this passion will die off after I finished working in Afghanistan. I wanted a changed and I felt it from my heart and now I found myself doing something else which was city government. There I was now working as a Commissioner during Mayor’s Michael Bloomberg Administration and then later working for the Mayor of Seattle Edward Murray as the Director of Innovation. I said to myself okay this is it, this is my passion. I have a steady salary and I can stick around here until I retired or so, and probably have a family. I knew I didn’t want to work overseas anymore as I did it for several years. It was only after an incident where I almost lost my life where everything changed and now I began to think about doing something else. It was in 2015 when I became curious about social enterprises, philanthropy, and impact investment. I didn’t know if this is what I supposed to do so I schooled myself in these three areas day and night reading, taking online courses, and going to network events. Frankly, I had no clue what I was doing but all I knew was that I just didn’t feel in my heart going back to the public sector. Somehow, I had this feeling that international development will change and social enterprise and impact investment will become key drivers in the next 3 or 4 years - and I was right. I knew I had the expertise in international development and I didn’t want to go back anymore doing that type of work after I left Afghanistan. I left on a high note my work and was asked to remain in this field but I still said no. Then later to my surprise, I found myself in Asia, India and Nepal wandering around in Hindu Temples, living in Tibetan Monasteries, mingling with monks and sadhus, living in Ashrams, and then living in the Isha Ashram for 5.5 months attending the Isha Hatha Yoga Teacher’s Program. Then fast forward yesterday @ the Startup Columbia event, when I was listening to the CEO speakers, I saw a commonality among us - we all have many meant to be’s or passions. This is the case of Shivani Siroya Founder and CEO of Tala which provides access to financial products in emerging markets. She was an investment banker, then went to get a Master’s in Public Health, and later found Tala. It never crossed her mind the idea that one day she will be launching her own company. This week, I attended an Acumen (a global non-profit investment fund) event on Gender-lens Investing in Emerging Markets. Even here I chatted with a CEO who is telling me her story and never imagined that one day she will be launching her own company even in a field where she never went to school to specialized. A week ago, I attended the Meet the Makers event in Brooklyn and heard Bevin Prince a former actress known for her role in the CW One Tree Hill series on how she transitioned from acting to wellness. If you want to go higher level, think of Bill Gates who left Microsoft to become a philanthropist or Elon Musk who has two passions aerospace and automobiles. And so are the countless stories of people who continue to reimagine and expand their possibilities.
Life is constantly changing and nothing remains the same. What I learned in spirituality is that we are always in motion with the universal flow. The beauty of a human-being is to continue seeking new potentials. Sadhguru says that we can live a life of suspense where you don’t know what is going to happen next. Imagine if someone tells you what your future is going to be, and everything happens as plan, would you be excited? Probably not. The suspense keeps you going and curious about what is next. Oprah Winfrey says that everything that you are doing now, is preparing you for what is to come and she doesn’t believe in luck. And this is true. It is not about luck but about the work that you put into will manifest the results. But you have to be patient and build a strong character to ensure you can enjoy your success. It is important to have the appropriate balance of body and mind. If you are internally well balance, then you become the maker of your life. Otherwise, success might come to you but you won’t be able to handle it. Life is your making and there is no age limit to what you can do. If you are in your 20’s most likely what you are doing now, might not be the same in the next 5 years. Or if you are in your 60’s, you might decide to try something new. And why not, right? Who deters you? Society? Not anymore. Today, we are living in society who are embracing dreamers and changemakers which was completely different just 10 years ago. I don’t know what will happen in the next 10 years. If you haven’t found your passion, don’t be in a rush to look for it. If you do, you might never get it. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s successes. Social media as good as it can be by watching other people’s success stories, it can create anxiety by pressuring yourself to be like everyone else. What ever you are meant to do, it will come to you very quietly with an a-ha moment. If you don’t know what to do, is okay. What you can do is to surround yourself with like-minded people. In time, you will find out what is your next step, and once you are in this flow, then you will know what is next, and so on.
Remember that your present moment is a reflection of your past and future.