Last summer I attended a conference that empowered nonprofit leaders to become change agents in their local communities. One speaker, Wes Moore, spoke words that I’ll never forget:

As someone who has carved both my career and personal life around service, this was just the reassurance I needed to reaffirm my unique career choice.

It has taken me a few years to find the right fit for me, with some twists and turns in the road. As a freshman in college I began my academic career as a nursing major. Coming from a family of healthcare professionals I thought this was the best fit for me. But I found that when I wasn’t studying hard for organic chemistry, I spent time giving back to my local Boys & Girls Club. This is where my passion flourished. I mentored youth and tutored kids after school. I wrote grants and implemented literacy and STEM programs for at-risk youth. I assisted with fundraising events and got my peers at my university involved in giving back to kids also.

Rethinking my career path

These experiences led me to reflect on my choice as a nursing major. Was I really passionate about organic chemistry or was I passionate about changing the narrative for kids and teens in need? Choosing passion over comfort, I took a leap of faith and changed my major to Nonprofit Public Relations. As a recent college graduate, this has to be the best decision I ever made.

Now an Intern at adidas U.S. on the Social Purpose team, I’ve joined a team of amazing change agents committed to using the power of our brand to change the lives of kids most in need. This allows me to bring my best self to work each day and to create opportunities for our employees to do the same.

two kids are playing football outside
Working on bringing the amazing benefits of sports to kids and sharing the passion for volunteering with colleagues was at the heart of my internship.

Whether you’re an Intern, full-time employee or C-suite executive, here’s a few tips on finding your best self:

1. Find your passion

What is the one thing that provides meaning to your life? What would you do for free if you had to? Pay attention to that thing – it will be your north star in guiding you to finding your best self. This is different for everyone. Whether it be sports or giving back to your community, finding your unique passion can provide meaning to your life and work.

2. Find ways to exercise your passion

people posing on the PDX adidas campus outside in front of shoes
Finding like-minded team members helped develop my network and broaden my knowledge.

Like any great athlete, exercising is fundamental in yielding the best results. Finding and exercising your passion is key to bringing your best self to work. For example, many companies have employee volunteer programs that provide employees paid-time off to give back to their communities. At adidas U.S., the Social Purpose team provides employees amazing opportunities to get involved with their communities by removing barriers to sport for underserved kids. With an evolving society pushing for corporations to do more than just make profit, many companies are dedicating time and resources to programs like these.

Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) are another great opportunity to exercise passions. Finding a group of employees who share similar passions as you can help balance the stresses of work by providing an outlet to exercise in this area. Reach out to your human resources department to see what opportunities are available at your company.

3. Always remember the “why”

This is the most important piece to remember. Remembering the why keeps you grounded and rooted in the cause. There may be days when you don’t feel like exercising. There may be times when life and busy schedules get the best of you. Like any great athlete in the game, stepping back and reflecting on the end goal helps to redirect your focus. Once you’ve gained focus, push to the 4th quarter – you’ll be glad you did!

Exercising your passion is just as important as a physical workout. With commitment and consistency, the results are invaluable.

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by debra 02.11.2017
excellent article!!! #bethechange
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