Let’s be clear, your gift is the thing you do the best with the least amount of effort. Your passion is the activity you have a strong desire for or the thing that gives you the most energy. Just because you are passionate about something, it doesn’t mean that it’s your God-given gift. In other words, it doesn’t mean you’re even good at it.
It’s about time I take my definition of freedom and really pinpoint what it actually looks like in quantifiable terms. The above graphic I found while browsing LinkedIn one day and, unfortunately, do not have a credit for it. But, remember when I posted about unexpected help/resources and how I was hopeful to incorporate them into my life? Realmoneyanswers.com gave me the above quote to consider. On a personal note, we can replace “God-given” with “X-given” for the sake of my own journey. Combining these two resources, I think I have enough to get started!
That Which You Love (or are curious about)
- Language/Universal Language
That Which You Are Good At
- Service/Serving Others
What Which You Can Be Paid For
- Service (customer or other support)
That Which The World Needs
I suppose now would also be a good time to insert that I have decided to continue to work at my current position at a top research institution and MBA school in the USA while taking advantage of my employee tuition-assistance benefit and pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (assuming, of course, I’ll be accepted into the program). This path will take much longer than if I were to quit my job and go to school full-time, but it honors a couple parts within myself:
- Safety/Security (financial): quitting my job to go back to school for an MFA does not make me feel very safe/secure, especially financially, as I would be taking on a very large amount of student loan debt.
- Establishing myself within a community: I have, for the better part of the last 7 or so years, never fully invested in the places I have lived (and there have been plenty). I am constantly looking for that place that feels like “home” and while Chicago may not fully meet that criteria, it is a great city with amazing opportunities and a vast and colorful writing community. Establishing myself here as a writer/contributor/member is a smart decision.
But, you may ask (everyone does, believe me), how useful is an MFA career-wise? It’s as useful as you want to make it. Referring to the above list of what I love, am good at, can be paid for, and what the world needs… Using an MFA to get certification in ESL/EFL or TESL/TEFL (teaching English as a second or foreign language) wouldn’t be too far off from my purpose. I could be paid to to serve/teach (or even teach globally through services like Peace Corps, meeting the demands of my love for travel) a common language (even though I don’t necessarily think English is the best language to be universal, it is one of the easiest to learn) and be part of the conversation about what we, as a society, miss out on due to language barriers (and we are missing out on a lot; not only do language barriers contribute to war and rage and anger, but also other things like coming up with effective solutions to save our planet while we are still living on it isn’t going to happen unless we can all understand each other). Maybe I’m a dreamer, but that seems like a mighty purpose worth dedicating myself to.
Still, the voice in my head imagines you all questioning the MFA and why it is necessary to this step. Well, I need to appease the writer within me, don’t I? And I do need a background in teaching/teaching practicum to apply for ESL/EFL/TESL/TESFL certification. Two birds, one stone.
To fulfill my definition of freedom, I’m going back to school for my MFA to appease the writer in me and to get my certification to teach English as a second/foreign language.