Finding our element is a quest to identify our natural talent. An internal and external journey that takes you to your destination.
I found meaning and purpose in my life when I started getting involved in Community service activities in Houston almost three decades ago. I had just graduated from Rutgers University with a Masters degree in Cell and Developmental Biology and desperately tried to make working in a lab with cells and rodents my passion. I failed miserably and took the next step of changing my career and going into a field where I will not be working but doing what I love. A decade later I landed up in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to study Health Education and Health Behaviour in the School of Public Health second only to Johns Hopkins.
My journey didn’t stop there. A few years later I discovered that I had a passion for teaching. I stumbled upon this because I was unsuccessful in finding a Public Health related position in Texas even though I was well qualified for it. I engaged in community work with the homeless but started my teaching career in a Community College. A few years later, I started teaching in a high school in India and now I train in the VET sector in Perth. Went around the world to finally come to the point where I could marry both my passion for Training and Public Health.
Perth opened new doors for me. TrainSmart Australia, unexpectedly gave me the opportunity to teach English and Math to refugee women from around the world. After my seven-week ordeal with these women I decided to develop Project READ (Revitalize, Educate and Develop) and implement it. This was my first project that brought my strengths to the forefront and enabled me to follow my passion for community service. The project was designed to educate women with basic literacy, numeracy and employability skills. I had no money to get it up and running. I partnered with a friend of mine who was equally passionate and skilled but also lacked resources. All we could put in was time and effort and very little money. William Langford Community House came to our rescue and helped us launch the program and run it.
I always take permission and blessing from my teacher/father in India before I start anything. He advised me not to get into a business if there are no resources. I told him that I will try and do what I can and do not expect anything in return. He blessed me to go ahead and that I will be successful. A year after we started the program one of the students gave me a hug and kissed me. That was my measure of success. I didn’t make any money out of it, but I gained a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that no other job has given me.
Selfless Service to mankind in any shape or form is a fulfilling career. When you give whole heartedly you get back in abundance joy and happiness. Serving society is my passion. Service is the best investment one can make in life. Returns are guaranteed, and the harvest is bountiful. You may wonder how do we survive with no money? Interestingly the following year I received enough monetary resources that I was able to run the program and have some left over for the following year. An important lesson I learnt from this experience is that do not see money as a barrier to pursuing your passion. It will come. Just believe in yourself and what you can do.
I found my element in Community Service. What is yours?