Saturday, February 18, 2012
The Pursuit of Happiness
Those were the questions that circulated in my mind during YWiB SFU's The Pursuit of Happiness workshop. The panel consisted of three driven women from various industries - non-profit, photography, and fashion and health - who shared their invigorating and inspiring insights on finding satisfaction in one's career with an engaged audience of young professionals.
Loretta Cella from The Passion Foundation opened the session with her definition of the word 'passion', which is an inner spark that tells you that you have to do something, and that the refusal to act upon this calling would be cheating yourself. This concept of authenticity and being true to who you are as a individual was a common theme among the discussions raised by all three of the panelists, who each presented a proactive challenge to the workshop participants.
Loretta advocates acknowledging your fears by trying new things, as every new situation provides one with a valuable learning opportunity. Even if the experience does not go as well as you had hoped, consider the positive aspects and continue to create and surround yourself with optimistic energy. For me, one of my greatest fears is motor-vehicle driving (and I just conquered my other fear of embarrassment by admitting this to everyone who is reading this blog). I have been postponing getting my driver's license for far too long now because of this fear of mine. As a New Year's resolution, I have been pushing myself to take more lessons and get more practice on the road, which will get me much closer to finally booking my road test in the Spring. Pass or fail, I acknowledge that I will only become a better driver with constant practice.
Photographer Gina Chong from Butter Studios has left pieces of her heart in many cities across the globe, and she encourages the act of exploration through traveling... alone! By venturing to an unfamiliar environment on your own, you will be forced to go outside of your comfort zone, follow your instincts, and find out more about yourself in the process. With new surroundings comes new perspectives and opportunities that you never even knew exists! I am a solitary person by nature. I am comfortable with going out alone - shopping, strolling downtown, seeing concerts, etc. Just recently, I have started going to the movies by myself. So why not venture out even more by dining alone and *gasp* driving to a new city alone? I think this is certainly a challenge to consider.
Blogger Monika Hibbs from Doctor's Closet is a supporter of the philosophy that if you do what you love, the doors of opportunity will open for you. If you are not doing what you love, well then, it's time to reevaluate the path you are on. Even if you are very skilled and knowledgeable in an area that you are not able to feel passionate and driven about, you will not be able to reach happiness and fulfillment in your life. Directional changes are nerve-wracking to make, but it is worth the risk if you consider the alternative - being stuck in a career that pays, but is a pain. I am fortunate to have always known that writing is my true passion in life, but I am also open to picking up new interests along the way - be it fashion, music, non-profit, human rights, and the list goes on...
I hope to incorporate these new ideologies presented by Loretta, Gina, and Monika into my decision making processes. As Loretta said, "Happiness isn't something that is gained or lost in a few hours." The pursuit of happiness is a life-long journey, which you can make worthwhile by approaching life's opportunities with a winning combination of vulnerability, confidence, and positivity.
Listen. Ask. Explore. Repeat.
YWiB SFU is hosting an International Women's Day Conference at SFU Woodwards on March 10. To find out more about this event, see this post.