Talking Points

Discovering The Passion To Do What You Love … This is the topic I selected for my upcoming presentation at the annual C.W. Post Honors Conference, a one-day schedule of seminars and panels, lectures and performances, all centered around a common theme, this year’s being Creative Engagement.

When initially approached about the prospect of being a part of this Conference, one I had attended each year of my own tenure at C.W. Post, my first reaction was the usual mix of anxiety and sheer terror that comes when any form of public speaking is broached. And this, for an entire hour, in front of the best and the brightest my alma mater has to offer? I could feel the panic setting in, and the event was still months away.

Now, only one week remains ‘til the big day – and I’m still wrestling with what, exactly, I have to offer this group of impressionable young minds, all at the point in their lives where they are desperately trying to do exactly what my title suggests – discover that passion which will drive them into a particular field, hopefully to stay, for a long and fulfilling career.

I guess a good starting point would be the initial inspiration for my topic, a letter I received from a local reader many months ago, in response to a column I had recently published, stating: “I wanted to let you know that indeed your words were read and inspired someone… as a humble writer myself, I know that is all we really want after all.” Creative Engagement at its best, no? Just the knowledge that my words had reached someone is some of the most positive feedback one can receive.

This is not to say that we all need constant pats on the back in order to feel valued and successful (although some certainly do). It simply reaffirms the notion that what we do for a living should be more than a job; it should reach far beyond the scope of merely being a means to an end, a way to pay the bills, etc. Above all else, it should engage YOU. If others find a similar connection through you, so much the better, an added bonus.

I still don’t know exactly what I will say once I step to the head of the classroom a little over a week from now. But I suppose a good starting point is simply speaking openly and honestly and attempting to make a connection. And if I can reach even one person and help them discover his/her own passion in life, I will consider it a success.


{Published: March 26th, 2014}

Jamie Lynn RyanComment