Photos: (c) Allan Bacon (left) and by fazen (right)
For most of my career, I was busy with work and the little remaining time was dedicated to my family. While this arrangement made me feel like I was taking care of everything, over time it left me feeling hollow.
Somehow I knew that the empty feeling was from not doing the things in life I was born to do.
When the pace would slow down a bit I would think up big plans for how I could fix my work or my life to fill that gap. But none of these dreams were practical – and deep down I didn’t believe that they would really fix things anyway.
Then one Saturday afternoon about ten years ago, I had a realization: I had been getting little signals all along about how to find what I was made to do. I just needed to follow my spark.
It happened when I took this photo of my daughter.
The little teardrop under Meg’s left eye took my breath away. I didn’t know why, but luckily I decided to do more photography.
I've since realized that it wasn’t because I was meant to only do photography.
But the photography tapped into the spark in me. It was the start of a great journey.
Following the photography led to amazing growth in my life. I met new friends. I took some beautiful photos of my daughters. I learned a lot about myself. Through more than a few ups and downs, photography taught me how to learn new things without going to school and without having to stop working or being a good dad and husband.
Through these and other paths, seeds were planted that helped shape what I get to do now: At a photography school in the mountains of North Carolina I shared a room with 70-year old Bob and learned how he managed a sane career at GE. In a photography group I learned about Photoshop but also met the blogger who inspired Avocationist.com.
You are not meant to feel like you are missing something inside.
When you start paying attention to your spark, that hollow ache will go away immediately. In its place will be energy and hope. And they lead to inspiration and ideas.
Here are some places to pay attention: What makes your heart beat faster? What stores always grab your eye? Whom do you admire?
Follow those impulses and find your spark.