Do you spend your time doing the things you love? The things that fill your soul and make you feel like you can conquer the world? Most people don’t. Most people spend their days fulfilling obligations rather than dreams.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, whether you waste them away binge watching the Real Housewives or you’re out training for a marathon…. TWENTY FOUR hours is all we get. When we trade or exchange one thing for another, the quantity may be the same, but the life you build in that day could be so much more!

Last year, my husband and I went to see Springsteen on Broadway – Bruce Springsteen telling the story of his life in a powerful montage of spoken word and his songs… even if you’re not a Bruce fan, it’s incredible. He has a piece where he speaks of 1+1=3… you can watch the show on Netflix to get the full picture, but it’s when the band or the story becomes greater than the sum of it’s parts, and when he talks about this it’s incredibly powerful (especially since you’re actually seeing it come to fruition). Are you putting together pieces of your life to create something greater?

What are the pieces you could put together to make your life extraordinary? To wake up and feel like your soul is on fire and you’re more than just the sum of those 24 hours of each day.

I bet you can identify some things you’re TERRIBLE at… the things that you do and they are physically and emotionally draining. They make you feel blah, they make you feel mediocre (at best) and they make you want to do LESS of everything! If you can identify these things and if it’s at all possible, DON’T do these things. Sometimes, on a Friday morning after a long week I feel this way about making breakfast and packing lunches for my kids – that is NOT what I’m talking about here 😉 I mean those obligatory things… the things you’re supposed to do and supposed to want and supposed to become in order to claim your spot in adulthood. You will NEVER become who you’re mean to be if you’re trying to follow some generic playbook… you have to make your own and you have to know what your components are that will make 1+1=3.

I started this blog over the summer – more than a year after the dream of it’s creation and thirty years after 8 year old me first declared to the world that I wanted to be a writer. Shortly after that declaration my grandfather bought a “fancy” new word processor for christmas (hello, 1989) and I felt invincible!

I wanted that feeling back… So I made the incredibly UNeven trade of 1 hour of an episode of silly TV for writing… and day after day those single hours of HGTV, Bravo reality nonsense or Criminal Minds reruns went by unmissed and I grew a compilation of words for my blog. That meaningless hour turned into a post that filled me with pride. Words that have the potential to reach someone who needs to hear them, someone who might take those words and pay it forward with their talents and inspire someone else. That simple trade of an hour of this for an hour of that is like comparing a bag of pennies to a bag of gold… same bag, but DANG take the gold!!

Sounds great in theory right, but HOW? How do you know what to exchange? Chances are you know the things you can get rid of, but how do you know what to add?

Are you doing things that make you believe you are great? Read that question again…

Pay attention to the things that feed your soul and make you feel smart, confident, funny and accomplished. When you do those things, you will feel it IMMEDIATELY! Take note of that feeling, and recreate it as often as possible.

There’s a whole process to figuring this out, it requires self awareness, reflection and journaling. But when you know it, when you’re super clear and focused on what lights you up, it’s magic!

A few months ago I took the Gallup Strengths Finder test online (they are in the process of changing up the website, so google it to get the most up to date info). It’s $19.95 to take a quick test and get your top 5 strengths. When I read mine, my mouth hit the floor! YES YES YES, the words I read were so accurately describing who I am and what lights me up. It’s like reading a road map and discovering the path you’re supposed to take, even if you don’t know what the ultimate destination is. That’s powerful stuff!!

This is 100% NOT an advertisement…. There are a bunch of other tests like this, but honestly, I’ve never found one before that I felt described my strengths and gave me a better starting off point than this. And I think they’ve just made some updates to the site and you can also get an action plan or next steps on how to maximize your strengths. It’s really incredible. There’s a more expensive option, but the $19.95 one is totally sufficient (in my opinion).

This isn’t the be-all, end-all, it’s not going to get you anywhere, but it is the starting point, it’s the thing that helps you hone in on the actions you should be taking, the areas where you should focus and the tools that you inherently possess. If you’re look for direction, start here and you’d be amazing at how much more clear you on where to go next! The things that fall into these categories should be the kinds of things you add to your life to make an uneven trade and create more.

Strengths + Passion = Fulfillment