Category Archives: Creative Life

How to Discover Your Passion: Ask Yourself the Million Dollar Question

Well friends, in four days it will be my 40th Birthday. It is always around this time of year that I start to ask myself “What the hell do you want to do with your life Katie?” It’s a somewhat annual crisis. But this year I do know what I want to do with my life; I’m just narrowing down the specifics. I know that I want to make things, and that I want to share with you all ways to live a richly creative life.

Part of how I came to this realization was asking myself what I call The Million Dollar Question. I think this is an effective strategy for how to discover your passion and purpose. The question is this: “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” Yup, I know, I know, your mind is blown. But seriously, what would you do if you took money off the table?

What the hell do you want to do with your life? Use this strategy to help you discover your passion and live your purpose.

I believe this strategy can apply to several situations:

Not sure if you want to go back to work or continue to stay home with the kids? What would you do if you had a million dollars? Maybe you choose stay home, and realize you were only conflicted because of others’ opinions. Maybe you realize you would go back to work despite the money because your job fills you up (and you miss talking to adults).

In a bad relationship and you’re conflicted about why you’re staying (is it love or the fear of financial hardship?). What would you do if you had a million dollars.

Back to discovering your purpose – If you had a million dollars, maybe you:

  • envision your life travelling the world taking cooking lessons in every country
  • want to give back to a charity that means a lot to you
  • would go to art school
  • paint everyday
  • invent that thingamajig you’re always dreaming about

Now that you’ve narrowed down your passion, put the money back on the table.

You can’t travel the world right now and take cooking lessons in every country, because of, you know, bills. But guess what? You CAN dedicate friday evenings to taking a cooking class, or experimenting at home. You CAN paint every day, but maybe on a smaller scale. You CAN still engage with that organization in a meaningful way through volunteering.

Knowing what you want to do with your life, doesn’t mean you have to do it at the expense of all else. If you can make a career out of it, amazing! But quitting your day job to pursue your passion is a lot of pressure. For some reason we always think of passion and purpose in terms of career goals, but guess what, you can follow your passion and fulfil your life’s purpose in the between hours too.

The answer to my million dollar question was this:

I would go to art school and major in pottery or fibre arts. I would have a beautiful sun-filled studio in which I worked, possibly in a reclaimed barn. I would start the blog I’d been thinking about for a couple years.

After putting money back on the table it looks something like this:

Art school is not a realistic option for me, but making art and learning is. So I’m making and learning and sharing with you all here because turns out I don’t need a million dollars to start a blog! And turns out I don’t need a fancy studio to work in either. And guess what? I’m thinking 40 is going to be a million dollar kind of year.

How will you answer your million dollar question and make your dream life a reality?

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Dear Martha Stewart – Thank You for the possibilities

During a difficult period of my life, Martha Stewart Living was a window into a brighter future. My dreams were all bound up in that $6 issue.

Dear Martha Stewart,

Spring of 1998. I was wandering through Chapters for the first time, and i saw it. Martha Stewart Living’s Christmas Book. I did not know who this person was. In fact, I did not even have cable at the time. I was a broke student who should have been spending her $20 on groceries and her time studying for exams. But alas, I had to have this Chrismas book. In April. And I was hooked. She had me at “It’s a Good Thing”.

The thing about Martha – okay I know there are a lot of things, including controversy over bloggers – however, the thing about Martha was she invited me into a completely unattainable and beautiful world, and yet here she was offering 10 handmade items to make with felt. It was accessible and inaccessible at the same time. In the 10 years that followed I was an avid Martha Stewart Living junky. I would make multiple trips to Safeway in one week to see if the next issue was in yet.

Just over a year after I first read Martha, I would find myself a young mother of 22 in a toxic relationship, and then a struggling single mother and student (again). That magazine was often a bright spot in a difficult time. My dreams of the future, the joy I found in making, sharing with friends, and my own ideas and creativity were all bound up in that $6 issue.

After Martha saw me through meeting and marrying my husband, we slowly drifted apart. Perhaps I didn’t need her as much anymore once I’d created my own version of a beautiful life. Perhaps it was Pinterest, and blogs, that took her place in the end.

I think back to my cinnamon-dough, glitter-encrusted, bird ornaments that covered my charlie brown tree for so many years, with a profound sense of joy. That I brought that sparkling flock into our home when all the other shiny bobbles seemed so out of reach.

While Martha Stewart’s world may not be my world any more than it was then, she opened a window for me. When I looked through I could see that there was joy to be had in crafting a lovely, organized, and ultimately, peaceful home for yourself.

So thank you Martha Stewart for showing me the possibilities waiting for me. That there’s joy in the making. And that’s a good thing.

Before the days of Pinterest, I kept a scrapbook of all my favourite projects and recipes pulled from the pages of magazines, primarily Martha Stewart Living:

Before there was Pinterest, there was this scrapbook filled with many treasured clippings from Martha Stewart Living.

And where it all began:

Where it all began - my first introduction to the world of Martha Stewart was this book.

Who inspired you in your formative years?

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