How I Found My Passion - Krista Parkinson

How I Found My Passion (and You Can Find Yours)

Last week, my friend asked me to pick up her eleven-year-old son Cameron from baseball practice so that she could attend “Back to School” night. I was happy to oblige. After asking about practice, school, and determining what beverage Cameron was allowed to have, he and I had an unexpected, yet short, conversation in the car that’s stayed with me all week.

“Isn’t it funny that I’ve known your mom longer than you?” I asked.

“No, you haven’t,” he said.

“You’re eleven,” I said, “and I’ve known her a lot longer than that.”

“Yeah, but I was in her stomach nine months before I was born,” he said.

“Right, but I’ve still known her longer,” I said. “What year were you born?”

“2006,” he said.

“Exactly,” I replied. “I knew your mom back in the last century, when we worked at WME together.”

“Sorry, Miss Krista,” he said, “but I’ve known her longer, because I’ve always been in her soul.”

And just like that he won the argument.

The truth is: we all have something in our soul that’s waiting to emerge; it’s our life’s purpose and it’s different for everyone. It could be having a family, making a certain amount of money, traveling, winning an Oscar, running for President, or whatever else we might want to experience. And the fuel for our life’s purpose is passion. Passion is a trendy word that’s thrown around a lot, and yet it can be elusive. We’re told to “live with passion” and “get a job you are passionate about.” But how do we know what we’re passionate about? If we mediate on it long enough, will it come to us? Are we born with passion? Can we develop it?

When I graduated college, I truly had no idea what I wanted to do and really didn’t have any passion, per se (more on that in a later blog). For many years, I worked, like all of us, because I had to. I lucked into a career in the entertainment business at age twenty-three, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I finally uncovered what has always been in my soul. I made that discovery in the same way Michelangelo is rumored to have said he sculpted the statue of David: “It’s easy, just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”

I’ve had jobs with varying degrees of satisfaction, success, and pain. When I ended a job, I’d slough off another layer that wasn’t me. Sometimes I’d like the work, but didn’t like the pay. Other jobs, the work was really hard, but the people were amazing! Other times, I liked the money, but didn’t like the people or the work. Yet, in every single job I’ve ever had, there was at least one aspect (usually more) that was tremendously rewarding.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the flickers of joy that I felt in previous jobs all built the inferno that burns inside me today. You see, today I help launch the most valuable startups in the world: young careers. I am a business owner, an adjunct professor at USC teaching twenty-somethings how to land their first jobs and internships in entertainment; I have coaching clients whom I help target and attack the right jobs for them; I write, and I’ve created a thriving community of like-minded people: twenty-somethings who are ambitious, hard working, talented, and ready to launch.

I had no idea such a job even existed. As my life unfolded, my passion and purpose became clear. I’ve never worked so hard at anything in my life—and I love it!

Whenever I learn one of MyGrads has been hired, my heart skips a beat with joy! Getting emails from clients, students, and past colleagues, and hearing about their successes, ignites emotional electricity in my soul; it gives me the power to carry on and really build this business into an empire. I put my all into my business; I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want a regular job ever again, and I work every minute of everyday to ensure that I honor that.

Now that’s passion!

Recently, I had world-renowned interviewer and New York Times best-selling author Cal Fussman as a guest speaker at my USC class. Cal discussed how asking the right questions can change your life. He told the story of the question he asked Dr. Dre and how asking yourself that question might be the starting point to identifying your own passion.

In essence, I believe passion is something that’s uncovered over time. It may be uncovered in your teens or in your nineties. My passion took some years to uncover, but I’m so glad that I did, because I can honestly say I wake up every morning with purpose and an excitement to see what the day will bring.

After all these years, through all the various careers and personal peaks and valleys, I’ve landed where I know I’m supposed to be, and I’m so very happy I did!

What’s your passion and how did you identify it? I’d love to hear from you .

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