The Funny Thing About Passion

18 Apr


On the weary ride back from Vegas last weekend, we were all chatting about my youngest niece who is a senior in high school and beginning to get all of her acceptance letters back from colleges. My niece is a budding fashionista and has decided to pair her love for fashion with a business degree. Several times, me or my sister remarked on how creative she is and how fashion is definitely her thing, her passion. To which, my oldest niece who is 20 exclaimed, “What about me? Everyone has a one word answer to sum up what she’s good at. What’s mine?”

You see, while my younger niece has a really specific passion, my older niece is a Rainbow person and is great at a variety of things. And like a lot of Rainbow people, she is taking for granted a lot of the things she is great at and not really counting them as concrete skills. For example, she’s always been a social butterfly. She can flit easily between groups of people, adapts ridiculously well to change and is phenomenal at connecting others with the person or thing that they need. She’s looked to as the planner for her group and oftentimes plans grind to a halt when she goes out of town. She’s always been one of the kindest people I know and her desire to help people is what drives her in life. None of those things come easily to everyone and I know a lot of people who would crave her specific abilities. But to her none of this seemed like a specific skill or passion.

I can completely understand where she’s coming from. I’d always envied my friends whose passions were clear cut. Within my circle of friends, we all know who the techie genius is or who the profound writer is or who to hit up if you need someone to give a speech. I never felt like my passions or skills were specific enough. Sure I loved helping people, but that’s not really a skill, right? I think I’m good at cheering people up but that’s a preposterous thing to list as a passion, isn’t it? What I and my oldest niece were overlooking was that helping people or giving people a pep talk or planning your group’s social calendar doesn’t come easy to everyone. And that’s precisely what a skill is – something that you do with ease that not everyone else can handle.

When it comes down to it, it’s important to realize that we’re all different. Some of us are super specialized in our skills while others are Rainbow people and have a multitude of seemingly unrelated passions. I know for me one of the hardest parts of my quarter-life crisis was letting go of the notion that the things I was good at weren’t actually skills but just “nice-to-haves.” For me, realizing that helping people actually was something I could make a living from was ground-breaking. And learning that others valued my set of traits – no matter  how varied – was also important in helping me to begin chipping away at my quarter-life crisis.

Is this something that is holding you back? Are you currently taking one of your traits for granted? And I’m curious for all you specialized skills people, are you envious of the rainbow people? Rainbow people, do you wish you were more like the specialized people?

And aren’t I lucky to have two fabulously talented nieces? 😉

Until Next Time,




4 Responses to “The Funny Thing About Passion”

  1. Ms. Mary Mack April 18, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    I agree…our nieces are rather fantastic. Good post. You should definitely pass it along to our older niece. Knowing that she is a "Rainbow" and that you have had similar questions about career choices would do wonders for her.

  2. Vettie April 21, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    Wow, what a great post, being a rainbow person myself, i always envied the people who new exactly what they love. Once a friend’s mom told me that I’m a jack of all trades but a master at none, those words haunt me always!

  3. Tishana April 22, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    This younger niece sounds interesting.Great AdviceXOXO

  4. Nailah April 22, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Vettie – Yeah being a rainbow person can definitely be frustrating but exciting once you hone in on what your special mix of talents are. That Jack of All Trades comment stinks! You can be a master of several different things.Tishana – Hmmm…I wonder why she sounds so interesting to you? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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