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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Start with the truth, not the rules

Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like being told how to live your life or what you should think, or say or do— just because of your age, or because you don’t have much job experience or because somebody thinks you have too much?

Then this is the perfect time for you; innovation and creativity are everywhere. But there is also risk, and some people might prefer that you played it safe.

Don’t be dragged down by someone else’s idea of what you ought to be or what you ought to do. Beware of any advice with the word, ‘ought’ in it!  Because that ‘advice’ is really just a thinly disguised rule telling you how to live your life.

Instead, think about what it is that you lose yourself in. What is it that if I said, “Don’t worry about money, don’t worry about paying the bills, the rent, the mortgage, anything,” you would bound out of bed so excited that you had another day to do?

That’s where the juice is, that’s what will drive you, that’s what will feed you creatively and eventually, financially. Because it’s you, it’s authentic, it’s true.

If you give me the choice, ever, between the truth and those rules, I’m going to choose truth every time. Sure, sometimes the rules make sense because they are based on truth: don’t run into the street, you’ll get hit by a car. Yeah, makes sense.

Then there are rules about what you are supposed to do or say based on where you are in your life, or because that’s how we’ve always done it, or because your ideas are too ‘different.’ Those rules maintain the status quo and suffocate creativity.

Always start with the truth, not the rules. Same with your career, same with this moment.

Walk away from anybody who ever tells you what you should think, or say, or do— if it isn’t true to you. Push back against that falsehood. Be a brat and rip the rug out from under it.

What gets you going? What gets you passionate? If it speaks to you, chances are it will speak to people like you. And if it does, you’ve hit the sweet spot between your passion and the marketplace. Run with that.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel