I just asked my Hawaiian kayak guide to describe her favorite part about living in Kauai. She slaps her calf to brush off the mud splats the way we swap away mosquitoes, as she smiles at me and says,
I'm so rich here. I mean, I don't have a lot of money, but my quality of life is abundant. I get to do what I love every day and my heart is so full.
Her infectious spirit rubs off on all group participants, just as I sense it does with everyone this bubbly, small-framed girl meets. Six of us are on an organized kayak tour with Wailua River Guides, a local outfitter in Kauai.
We’ve just kayaked two miles north, up the Wailua River and hiked through thick mud into the Hawaiian jungle to a secret waterfall. As we climb through dirt, I see Annie, the kayak guide, scoot along with a little spring in her step.
She is barefoot and her long locks resemble a wild horse’s mane; sand, sun and the sea are all caked into the strands. She has a natural glow to her skin — the kind only Mother Nature can give, the kind luxury spas work to replicate.
Though born on the mainland in St. Louis, Annie represents what few people can actually accomplish in life: Do what you love; love what you do. She knows how to make the most out of every moment. Her “go for it” attitude has awarded her a life of which many can only dream.
Annie is in her twenties. She reflects a pulse that all humans feel: a dedication to our innermost desires. However, it’s one that so many of us ignore while we’re busy playing it safe.
Five years ago, Annie came to Kauai on a family vacation in January. Guided by her heart, she came back in February and stayed. Most of us would fearfully create excuses about how it won’t work when deciding whether or not to make such a huge move.
After all, Forbes just ranked Hawaii as the worst place to make a living in 2014. The cost of living stands at 157 percent of the US national average and the state received a poor work environment score.
Most people would read this statistic and settle for staying uncomfortable living with unmet dreams. Following your heart takes courage, stamina and embracing uncertainty. Annie does what she loves, where she loves to be.
Let passion be your compass, too. The more passionate you are about an experience, the more you owe it to yourself to follow through. Release expectations about the future and be present in the journey of following your heart.
Your heart knows the way, always. Trust it. Annie says,
You know, in college, on career day, they never tell you that it’s an option to work barefoot in Kauai doing kayak tours.
She has a point. No one teaches us how to follow our hearts, or tells us we can actually do whatever we want to do. No one tells us to chuck our résumés to the curb and go play in the world. No one tells us opportunities exist beyond the fluorescent lights and 9-to-5 desk jobs.
Most interview processes leave out the number-one success tool: passion. If you are searching for happiness and struggling to find a job you love, these simple steps can help:
1. Trust Your Dreams
When you meet people like Annie, you are reminded that dreams come true for a reason. When we are courageous and live from our hearts, we become beacons of hope and happiness for ourselves and for others.
Anything is possible when you let your heart lead the way.
2. Nourish The Nudge
The only difference between the happiest people in the world, like Annie, and those who settle is acting on inspiration with courage. The only courage we need in life is the courage to be true to ourselves.
Nourish the nudges that come to you by taking steps forward and acting on them.
3. Live Full-Out In The Moment
This moment matters. You owe it to yourself to live your passion. When you love and respect yourself enough to know that you deserve your desires, courage becomes the language of your soul.
Allow that to be your compass of happiness.
Photo Courtesy: Tumblr