“Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive... then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman
Picture a world where everyone dedicates themselves to “coming alive.” What do you see? I see people full of enthusiasm and joy, who are more fully creative, alert, curious and engaged.
Sounds ideal, doesn’t it?
Instead of starting with questions like “What need can I fill? and “Where is the money?”, wouldn’t we be better off if we focused on what sets off the spark within us? When we’re passionate about what we’re doing, the rest falls into place.
I was reminded of that as I read about a young man who left a promising Wall Street job to work for his struggling family business. It would seem a crazy choice to many, but the family business had more personal meaning and significance to him than Wall Street. He identified an opportunity — internet sales — and the company’s profits have grown exponentially ever since.
I’ve heard people say “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I don’t believe you’re guaranteed to make millions by doing what you love, but I do know this: the surest way to find meaning and make an impact is to pursue what you’re passionate about.
Most people can’t quit their jobs tomorrow in the search to come alive. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth asking a few questions: What makes you come alive? What are the projects or activities that you love to throw yourself into — where you’re willing to stay up half the night because it means that much to you? How would you be different if you “came alive”?
If you’re not feeling inspired yet, watch this short, 10 minute film about a remarkable 9-year old, and see what resulted from him pursuing what he loves.
Share the results of your experiment in the comments below or contact the author directly at
DONNA RAE SMITH is a guest blogger for Smart Business. She has forged a career, enterprise and an applied discipline on the practice of teaching leaders to be masters of change. She is the founder and CEO of Bright Side,= Inc., a transformational change catalyst company with an emphasis on the behavior-side of change. For more than two decades, Donna Rae Smith and the Bright Side team have been recognized as innovators in executing behavioral strategies coalesced with business strategies to accelerate and sustain business results. Bright Side®, The Behavioral Strategy Company, has partnered with over 250 of the world’s most influential companies. For more information, please visit www.bright-side.com or contact Donna Rae at
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