Personal Writing

Finding my passion by talking about living my passion

I was invited to present at the Ladyboss summit recently. Founders Laura Caroon and Danyel Moe asked me to talk about “living your mission passion.” I could have given that talk in my sleep, and it would have been true…but it would not have been absolutely authentic, and that’s what I’m striving to have more of every single day.

I countered that I would be happy to talk about passion, but that I actually wanted to talk about my unwieldy journey to passion for The Arts Partnership. I wanted to unpack my first passion, which was to be a movie star. I wanted to talk about settling into your role and finding your passion versus being passionate right out of the gate. And I wanted to talk about developing and pursuing the next passion and the next and the next.

They said ok, and I started mulling.

I got up early one morning, and I began to write. And in about 90 minutes, I had a talk I was happy with (with which I was very happy. Once an English professor, always an English professor 😄). 

Aside: I’m a fast writer because I’m a fast thinker, but I’m also someone who plants the seeds of ideas, or finds them nestled somewhere in the recesses of my brain, and nurtures them, consciously and unconsciously, for quite some time before I ever put fingers to keyboard. That allows me to seemingly effortlessly write in what would appear to be stream of consciousness to anyone watching. But it’s because I have been internally tending my thoughts and I’m ready to compose.

I read it to my husband, always my lovely, chirpy cheerleader, and he liked it (no real surprise there. You’re so nice, Dr Marry!).

I felt like the talk was good, but I didn’t anticipate the audience response, which was outstanding. I have perhaps never loved being on any stage as much at any time in my life (and that’s saying something!) more than I loved those 20 or so minutes. And here’s why:

  • I’ve never spoken to a room full of women. And not just any women but invested, engaged, leaning-in kinds of women. That energy was awesome, and I don’t use that word lightly or in an ironic ’80s way.
  • I’m super funny. Many people think that, but I even amused myself!
  • I was filled with such gratitude for my role and time at The Arts Partnership because that gave me the platform from which to garner the attention to even be invited to give this talk in the first place.
  • It’s a lot more fun to present to a group of people when I’m not scolding them like a schoolmarm (will be bringing that quality to The Arts Partnership STAT).
  • This talk, and my journey, has real legs, and I have a lot to offer women (and likely men and gender non-binaries, too).
  • That was the most joy I’ve ever felt professionally…and I want to do it again and again and again.

So, I’m putting this out there, Universe—I want so much more of this. This is the start of my next passion. I’m excited, I’m grateful…and I’m ready.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.


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