Today I turned 35.
I am grateful to God for being alive, for my wife Adwoa, for our three wonderful children Ruth, Daniel and Joseph, for my loving parents Adrian and Dorina, for my helpful brother Vlad and sister-in-law Eve, for our sweet nephews Nicolas and Sebastian, for my job with the Canadian Association for Supported Employment, for the willingness of many to share their career journeys and lessons on The Career Planning Show, for the gift of having been born and grown up in Romania, and the opportunity to live in Canada.
I am grateful for having experienced asthma as a child, for having received hundreads of injections over the years, for not being able to breathe any air into my lungs for minutes at a time multiple times, for nearly drowning in the whirlpool of a fast moving river, for knowing what it feels like to be fired from a job "due to restructuring," for being able to grasp what it feels like to be mistreated while working as a cleaner, a shelver in a retail store and a telemarketer selling windows and doors (calling homes that obviously have windows and doors... which is why getting one "yes" for every ninety-nine "no's" was the norm), and other such experiences.
Each tough experience allows us to grow calluses (both emotional and physical ones, the kind that my grandmother Domnica built over the years while working the family farm), learn useful lessons, and re-orient ourselves toward the parts of society where we can add the most value with our skills, talents, and purpose in life (hint: we should start with our own families, then make an impact in the workplace and the broader community).
Let's reflect now on what our skills, talents, and purpose in life are. That's our sweet spot. That's where we can focus our energies, do things with excellence, and make a significant impact in society. That's where we can focus our attention in 2021.