Everybody should have a project or two. I’m not talking about a project at work, or a project at home. I’m talking about a project that absolutely fascinates and motivates you. It should be one that adds new dimensions to your life.
I find I’m always evaluating potential projects. I never know where the next good one will be. I’m quick to dismiss project threads that don’t meet my criteria. I ask myself,
- Am I passionate about the project
- Do I feel I can make a significant contribution based on my “unique ability”?
- Do I feel that people really value my involvement?
Sometimes I find I need to go inactive if the above criteria change within the project. And if the criteria are met in the future, I can jump back in. I value my time and want to be involved in only those things that feed my passion and make me feel valued by others involved.
I was lucky enough to find two, and hope there will be more on the way. The first was something I resisted for quite a while. My friend Jim Spotila is a university professor and scientist who became heavily involved in working to protect and study the Leatherback Sea Turtles in Costa Rica. Every time we met, he would prod me to come to Costa Rica and not only see the work his team was doing, but to participate. I had a hard time getting excited about turtles, though.
Finally, I relented. Jim began with an amazing tour of Costa Rica’s volcano, hot pools, jungle, and finally brought me to Playa Grande, the beach where he works. It was spectacularly beautiful. Then he urged my wife and me to get some sleep because we were going to be up through the night looking for and helping with turtles coming ashore to lay eggs.
It’s hard to put into words how life-changing the experience was that first night. Perhaps the fact that I have now been a board member and the treasurer for Leatherback Trust will tell you all you need to know about my passion for the Leatherback Turtles.
Often some great things happen as a result of involvement with projects that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the project specifically. For example, while I was there, I met a professional photographer who invited me to visit him at his studio in California when I returned to the States. I did, and got some invaluable tips on improving my own photography.
I’ve also found a purpose to my travel that greatly enhances my enjoyment. I discovered that I like educational travel, I meet many interesting people on these trips, and I have lots of great photos to look at from time to time and reminisce about a great time.
Take a few minutes and think about discovering your own projects. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised and happy if you get involved.