The secret to your success is in your childhood

If you want to know what you should be doing for a living, look at your childhood.

Back then you knew what you loved to do and you did it. You didn’t need to take a course, survey your friends or consult a career coach.

Everything was clear.

I was an instigator. In elementary school I got other kids to follow me around the yard at recess, singing songs I had chosen and written out on long sheets of paper.

I came up with new painting techniques or created completely new kinds of paintings — and became very annoyed when other kids copied them. I loved performing and collaborating on plays. I got great marks in English class.

The things you loved to do as a kid reveal your talents and personality and they provide the clues to what you were meant to do in your career.

Think back to elementary school:

What were you always doing every chance you got?

What did you get in trouble for?

What did you excel at?

What did you hate to do?

Doing what you’re good at — or what you love

You were yourself back then, the same self, with everyone you met. You hadn’t learned to suppress some of your personality to please others, to make them feel better about themselves or to fit in.

Back then, you didn’t just do what you were good at, you did what you loved!

I knew the difference between the two when I was 10 but I only discovered it years later. I remember the year and even the restaurant I was in when the ‘revelation’ occurred to me.

The full monty

Being a brat means defying any social convention that tells you it’s too late to reconnect with who you really are.

It is never too late to make a change — if you want to.

Being a brat means giving the world the full monty! No holding back, no excuses.

Don’t compartmentalize yourself, don’t keep those aspects that are most truly you from the rest of the world where they could do so much good.

They are connected to your strongest talents and gifts.

If you’re not doing what you love for a living, what did you love to do as a kid?

The secret to your success is there.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

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The bratty voice in your head

How can you push on with the business of brattiness when there are two opposing voices in your head? The bratty one says, “There’s no one else like you! Be a brat and change the world!” and the scared one says, “Why take that risk? Better to be safe than sorry.”

What do you do? Pretty much nothing. You get spurts of brattiness one day and complete inactivity the next. Each voice cancels the other one out. Pretty soon you’re a mess of fear, trepidation and regret.

Risk is too risky

There is this idea that risk is, well, too risky. It’s that vague frontier where it’s hard to get your footing, a nebulous mass of beige, populated by nasty villains who may jump out of the void at any time and take you down.They’re a bit like “The Blue Meanies” in the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”.

There’s no one else like you

But think about this—being a brat and making a real difference is predicated on the notion that there is no one else like you. Seriously. How could you do it if you were just like everybody else?

You have unique talents, gifts and experiences that no one else has, that no one else has in quite the same mix. You’re one-of-a-kind. Unique. You have your own voice. You are not charging into the void unarmed, not by a long shot. So the risk, is actually not so risky at all.

Don’t ignore the bratty voice

You have what it takes to succeed. But remember, if you ignore the bratty voice that urges you to do what you were born to do, it won’t stop yakking. It will keep right on until you act. That I can guarantee, so you may as well start. 

c 2013 Kathy Barthel