Competitive Tree Climbing: Translating your passions in life is not always a literal process!

by Shari Goldsmith

I’m beginning to notice a pattern when I speak with women about finding their strengths and passions in life.  Often, there is some confusion surrounding the process to finding your “real” self. For example, at the last “Sassy Girlfriend Talk”, we were discussing what you enjoyed doing when you were young.  The reason I always ask this question is because usually, when we are young, we partake in activities that us bring us joy and seem natural to us. This is before we have been influenced by what is culturally acceptable and valued in our family and community.  It’s usually when we are innocent and most pure to who we are.  I remarked that one of the things I remember enjoying was climbing trees. I was always the fastest to climb up and the one at the very top of the tree.  One of the women commented that there isn’t much work needed in the city of Cincinnati in the business of “Climbing trees”.  I agree, which leads me to share a couple misconceptions about finding your strengths.

Translating your passions in life is not always a literal process. My love of climbing trees and being the highest one up in the tree translates to my need to be challenged.  It translates to my need to be physical and active in my life. I feel most like “me” when using my physical skills and when I’m able to expend some energy.  It’s not surprising then, that in the last couple years I discovered my love of meeting challenges through biking.  So, when you’re searching for your passions, be open- minded to understanding how you can interpret what brought you joy and happiness as a child.  How can that feeling be recreated today?

Whether she believes it or not, EVERY woman possesses strengths and passions.  I get the strong feeling that some women I come across want to convince me that they are different from others and just don’t have any strengths or talents unique to them.  I’m here today to tell you that that’s simply not true!  Maybe you haven’t taken the time to truly get to know yourself and explore different interests. Possibly, you’re just scared to take a risk and try new things, so you stay with what’s safe.  Maybe you’ve wrapped yourself around your family so tight that there’s no more room for your own passions. Your family’s interests and activities rule your life, and you run from thing to thing staying busy. The truth is, they are there, girlfriend.  You need to give yourself the space to discover them.

It’s possible to passionately love taking part in an activity and eventually tire of it.  My first job out of college was in retailing, where I was promoted quickly through their management program. I was able to play an instrumental part of their phenomenal growth as a company.  I LOVED my job! It wasn’t work for me because I was able to utilize all my strengths: my management skills, people skills, my love of fashion etc.  I was very successful and was being groomed for the Director of Operations position.  But guess what happened? I became burned out and I yearned to do something very different in life. It’s possible to tire of using those specific skills in that specific realm and to need to have an entirely new challenge.  Say it with me— There is not one thing I am destined to be or do in my life!  Does that take some pressure off of you?

Listen girlfriends, each one of you has passions and strengths that possibly you have yet to discover. Try to remember that finding yourself is a continual process throughout life.  So, don’t waste anymore time living your life without going after what burns brightly in your heart.  Do the work needed to find where you belong.


Shari Goldsmith is a Women’s Life Coach, Mental Health Therapist, Speaker and Author of “31 Days to Finding Your Inner Sass”. She can be reached at

To learn more about Shari, go to


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One Reply to “Competitive Tree Climbing: Translating your passions in life is not always a literal process!”

  1. Emelia Sam

    Very true. The myth of singular purpose is so daunting. I like to say we’re all “multi-purpose.” We can express purpose through a multitude of ways or may express different purposes altogether. Life is dynamic and we are allowed to go with the flow.

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