Seeing the Forest and the Trees – Uncovering your Passion

by Edward Henkler on November 17, 2015

Find Your Passion through all of life’s twists and turns

Is your work your passion? If not, why not? What’s your dream? That’s how every one of my emails ends and there’s a reason for it. It’s taken me a number of decades but I’ve found my passion. That’s why things have gone a bit quiet on HHPS. All of my waking energies are focused on TheBlindGuide, my true passion. It is my goal to improve quality of life and the employability of people who are blind or visually impaired. But…and this is a big but…when I have everything clicking with TheBlindGuide, I will put some energy back into HHPS. That’s because the other thing I really care about is helping others succeed, whether they be differently- or normally-abled.

The October 2015 Smithsonian magazine includes a wonderful article which seems to be a metaphor for my frequent HHPS topic, creative employment. It is a marvelous story about Sebastiao Salgado and his wife, Lelia Wanick. Their journey is quite circuitous beginning with their initial meeting in their teen years and a life together ever since. The real story begins at age 15 when he leaves the farm where he initially grew up and goes to a boarding school, which is when he also meets Lelia.

In the first step of their journey, they become leftists as they watch Brazil’s industrialization creating a new class of urban poor. The environment in Brazil becomes ever more dangerous and they finally move to Paris. Lelia purchased a camera but it was Sebastiao who became hooked. At the time, he was on a very successful trajectory through the world of academic finance and had just been offered a prestigious new job with the World Bank. He gave up significant potential financial success to pursue a career doing something he loved, which was bringing social issues to life via film. He succeeded on every front but as the world and his profession brought him ever closer to danger, he eventually decided to return to Brazil and his family farm.

Sebastiao and Lelia returned to a barren farm, what he described as a “barren crust”. There were intermediate steps but they eventually replanted the farm with quick-growing vegetation which would begin to restore the soil health. Along the way, they have continued to learn and are seeing slow but steady progress, including restoration of a dried up creek which flowed when Sebastiao was a child.

Passion is about the tree in the forest

Finding your passion – sometimes hard to see the tree in the forest

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll probably know these answers but this article intrigues me as there are so many parallels with my activities. Sebastiao started much earlier and his career has more turns than mine but he has always been driven by his passion. He is also motivated by his social conscience. I can’t claim that distinction throughout my career but it is definitely as hallmark of my reinvention.

It’s a great article and I’d encourage you to read it in its entirety here. What’s your passion?

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