Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an advocate for the small business owner. As a writer, publisher, consultant and freelance editor, I’ve been in business for myself for some time now. And in one of my other lives, I worked in small business and economic development. So imagine how I felt a few years ago when I turned the corner in my then-Philly neighborhood and saw the sign on this post.
Talk about being blown away! A young brother had rented a small garage, put up his sign, and every morning was passing out flyers to cars that drove by, marketing his car wash and detailing service.
But wait…did you check out the last line of his sign?
“Born to Wash Cars”
Those four words still move me. Not only was this young man an entrepreneur, but he was clear about what he was “born” to do. Now to all of us with our degrees and pedigree, washing cars may not seem like much of a purpose to have in life. That’s likely because all we can see are the allegedly menial tasks involved in such a path. What we don’t see is the many people this young man will touch, people whose days might be lifted by him simply providing them a quality service with a smile.
In his service to others, he has found purpose.
We should all be so fortunate.
In fact, some of those same people who would look down on this young man as they head to their high-powered jobs are the ones who five, ten, or fifteen years from now may find themselves looking back over their absently driven lives and wish they’d discovered what they were really born to do. As opposed to what they were told to do, what they thought they should to do, what they believe they had to do, or worse of all, what paid the most money at the time.
As many times I’ve been distracted by jobs that didn’t align with my own gifts, or even actively chose those paths for financial reason, for every venture I tried and failed and tried again, there is one thing I’m fairly clear about: I was born to write. God gave that to me and I’m so grateful. And though my writing takes a myriad of forms, my blogging, books, articles, etc., are all my own signs proclaiming my service to the world.
This is also why I don’t think it’s too early for my baby girl to start doing things she loves. K started Ballet this Fall and is having a ball (and making Mommy cry with all her tutu and tights, first position cuteness). Next up…soccer and track and art and anything else that catches her interest. I want to give her every opportunity to discover her own gifts and find out what she was “born” to do. And yes, even if she finds true joy and happiness from serving people by washing their cars, I’m good.
So what about you? What were you born to do?
Okay…so where’s your sign?
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This post is the latest in Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Faith & Motherhood” series.
Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at www.traceymlewis.com.