“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a common question asked of kids. Research shows that today’s kids have many of the same answers we had – a doctor, a nurse, a dancer, a policeman, a fireman, and a teacher. There also were other answers that were quite different. A video game designer, a master distiller, an internet blogger, a professional bridesmaid, a Walmart cashier and a paleontologist…that’s someone who studies dinosaurs…I had to look it up.
I don’t remember what I wanted to be. However, I was told, since we had so many doctors in the family, I should look to medicine…and I did, majoring in the sciences. My first job right out of college was in a hospital. There I learned I didn’t like the sight of blood, illness made me sad, and I couldn’t pronounce half the terms. Out went medicine and in entered accounting. That lasted less than a year – just about the time I got debits, credits and balance sheets all figured out. Sigh.
Next job stop – a customer service center. I struck pay dirt. I loved the job and was good at it. Calming upset customers, solving problems and leading a team came naturally to me. But there was still a ‘niggle’ in the back of mind telling me that something was missing. That ‘niggle’ gained form years later when, as a corporate trainer, I started writing programs for our clients. It was at the computer, when designing a program, that I felt the most alive, productive and, yes, happy. You see, I love to write. It only took 30+ years for me to discover what I wanted to be when I grew up – a writer, publishing the next great American novel.
To prepare for the accolades I was sure would follow, I took on-line, classroom and self-taught writing courses. Four outcomes: a great title; a half-finished business book; a fabulous plot that would make even the most successful authors green with envy; and a cookbook. No great novel. One day, I received great advice from someone who has written and published over 15 books. WRITE. JUST WRITE. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to make the NY Times Best Sellers list, it just has to be YOU. That’s how the for the Love of…series began. I realized that my ‘niggle’ was sharing stories accumulated over the years. Stories that would bring a tear to your eye, a laugh to your belly or an idea to your head. Stories that inspired.
Recently, while playing cards with three retired, smart, and card savvy women, one mentioned that she always wanted to write a child’s book. She is one of many people I’ve spoken with who has a life-long ‘niggle’. Unsolicited advice – “Just Do It”. Don’t let self-doubt, inaction or thinking it’s too late, the three main reasons people don’t pursue a dream, stop you from releasing your inner ‘niggle’.
My next ‘niggle? Learning Calligraphy.