If you read the last post in this series, you will have read 7 questions that I ended up asking myself in order to find my Holy Discontent (a phrase I borrow from the book by that name, written by Bill Hybels). These, and other questions led me to find some of the things I am passionate about. They can all be summed up in the phrase “Breaking Barriers.” What do I mean by that?
- I am passionate about interpreting (breaking linguistic barriers)
- I am passionate about preaching (breaking spiritual barriers)
- I am passionate about teaching on certain areas (breaking knowledge and understanding barriers)
- I am passionate about interpreting research (breaking linguistic barriers again)
It all comes back to a book I read by John Maxwell, where he said that some day your epitaph will be written, so it’s better to decide now what you want it to say. As I wrote a year or so ago on my old blog, I want mine to read “He broke the barriers” and I want my life to have had such an impact that everyone who reads that will know exactly what that means.
I discovered pretty much all of these passions a couple of years ago, when I went through a really tough patch, which began to clear when I read “Holy Discontent” by Bill Hybels. If life was simple, that would have been enough. But, as I said in reply to this post by Matthew Bennett, very recently, I have been going through another time of thinking about those things that attract my passion.
Now, thanks to some decisions I made not long after that tough period, I have never gone back to staring into space. One of these decisions was to begin a PhD in Interpreting (feeding at least two of my passions). I won’t go into the story of funding or the fears that go along with starting something new and realising that your timetable will be shaken up. That’s all for another post.
I was ready to change my work schedule and I was prepared to work for someone else again. What I didn’t expect was that feeding a passion makes it grow. What I thought would be a useful and fun part-time project sometimes threatens to swallow up my life. It’s not the volume of work or even the quality of work required. Translators and interpreters quickly learn how to manage both of them. It’s the fact that I have now realised just how much I love doing research. That also makes it much harder to do work that I am much less passionate about.
This is something noone tells you. Chasing a passion makes you that bit less tolerant of the things that you just do for money (unless money is your passion). In many ways, this is a good thing. If John Maxwell is right that “focus sharpens your talent,” then some things will have to drop by the wayside. Some things you do well you will need to stop doing to focus on the things that you need to do much more.
On Wednesday, I will wrap this up with a post on widening out the impact of your passion.