Whether it's my Scottish temper or my desire to interact and teach people, my personality traits have both negatively and positively affected the choices I've made. That's how God made me. When it came down to career choices, my personality helped determine where I was best suited, and I became a high school teacher, author and pharmaceutical sale rep. For others, taking on one of these jobs would be a total nightmare. We're all different, thank goodness, for in no way could I work in the medical field, construct a building or analyze the stock market. Good gracious, the thoughts of those make my stomach queazy.
But I'd also wager that many of us have made career decisions based on other factors. Financial necessities and family priorities are often at the top of the list. Such situations force us to put others first and we don't think twice about it. But eventually those things resolve themselves and we're faced with one BIG question..
I certainly wasn't prepared to ask it of myself just a few days ago. I had no idea when I moved to Santa Fe that I'd be living across the street from an army colonel--a colonel who would turn my thinking on it's head. Enter Colonel Jesse Galvan. God could not have blessed me more with this retired army colonel and his sweet wife as my neighbors. They've lived all over the world, as Jesse has served his country in Iraq, Germany, Romania, England and I can go on and on. Quite simply, Jesse is a natural born leader. His personality dictates that. But while he can groove like the best of them to music or cry over the success of a soldier he's mentored, he can be "Jesse on the Watch" in a New York minute and not waiver from any task before him.
Jesse considers his target, makes a plan, takes action and then never looks back. For sure, he's one to observe and take mental note of.
Recently I was sharing with Jesse that I'd been approached to do marketing for a respected company here in Santa Fe. It came out of the blue and was something I hadn't been prepared to consider. Knowing Jesse's ability to analyze details, I'd told him about this new opportunity in hopes he'd offer up some pros and cons to aid in my thinking. But just as I was about to give him the details, he held up a stern hand as if telling me to stop talking, and then asked, "ANGIE.. before you say another word, I gotta ask you something: WHAT IS YOUR WHY?!"
Huh? What kind of question was that? It caught me totally off guard. I'm sure he witnessed a frustrated deer-in-the-headlights look on yours truly. But rather than chastise me for being so clueless, he gently smiled and asked, "Angie, what is your why? What is it that moves you, that excites you, that you're passionate about? That's your "WHY" and what you have to focus on. That's what will stir your heart and give you the greatest sense of success and accomplishment."
Wow. I'd never thought about my life that way. Spiritually-speaking, I am sure of my beliefs and give thanks for God's incredible grace. But this question by the colonel was about something entirely different. My friends, I'm seeing now that this question is a biggie.
Take, for example, my cowboy partner, William. For over 14 years he had a successful career in sales and advertising in Minnesota. Like many of us, he chose a career that interested him and most importantly, paid the bills. Although he was great at his job, it didn't answer his "why," although he'd secretly known the answer his entire life. From the time he was a young boy, he'd always known what he really wanted to do. And years later, when he told his colleagues that he was moving to Santa Fe to try and become a professional artist, they practically laughed him out of the room. Of course they laughed. Most of them had never tried answering their own "why." How could they relate to someone who was trying to do that very thing? Bill's determination to go after his "why" led to his becoming a well-known artist whose work is collected throughout the Southwest. It all started with answering a very important question.
I'm not surprised that Bill and Colonel Jesse have become great friends. Whether I observe them having a serious conversation about art or laughing over some silly boyish joke, I can tell they totally understand one together. Perhaps it's because both of these men chased after their "why." And in one way or another, they've got the scars to prove it. It's given me much to think about. Thanks to the wisdom of my neighbor and the beautiful art that adorns my walls, I'm surrounded by sweet reminders. It's time to figure out what my "why" really is. What about you? What is your "why?" It is my prayer, dear friend, that we can name it out loud and live it. For when we do, we will hit our stride and never look back. Let's do it together.
Brightest of Blessings,