Many of us put “passion” in a box, believing there is only ONE thing that will make us feel fulfilled. We see examples in the media of people who “live their passion” – singular – and accomplish great and important things. But for many of us, the “essence” of our passion expresses itself in multiple forms.
Anyone who’s heard of Sylvia Earle, National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence, most likely assumes her passion is the ocean, preserving its ecosystem and protecting Hope Spots, special places vital to the health of the ocean, which she calls the blue heart of our planet.
It’s easy to understand why most would believe the ocean is her passion. She has led more than a hundred ocean expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater, and she was one of the first people to use the new technology of SCUBA gear to explore the waters and reefs. Sylvia even founded an organization, Mission Blue, dedicated to exploring and preserving oceanic ecosystems. But her passion started long before she ever dove deep into the ocean.
As a young girl growing up on a farm in a small New Jersey town near Camden, her first love was the woods. Sylvia spent hours exploring the forests around her, fascinated with the creatures and plants that inhabited it. Although her parents weren’t highly educated, they encouraged her to respect the life that intrigued her.
Wildlife is Sylvia’s passion. Particularly plants. The first degree she earned was in botany, which is not a subject typically associated with the ocean, even though it is the backbone of marine health. From a girl chasing forest creatures and examining the flora of the woods, Sylvia’s passion for wildlife blossomed into a fascination and love of the ocean, which has raised awareness of destructive behaviors and helped to develop laws that protect it.
You may have already found your passion and haven’t recognized it yet. Continue to do things that inspire you, that make you feel good. Be open to recognizing the essence of your passion and allow it to express however is necessary. I guarantee passion will bloom!
I was fortunate to meet Dr. Earle during a fundraising event I organized where she was the guest speaker. I talk more about her passion and her contagious enthusiasm in my new book, The Changemaker’s PocketGuide, which will be out September 10. I love this interview with Sylvia and her fellow conservationist, Jane Goodall. I think you will too!