How Your Stories Shape your Passions and Your Future

October 16, 2013

How Your Stories Shape your Passions and Your Future
Everybody loves a good story. And when you hear or read a good story, you can easily remember it and share it.
That is why I love reading non-fiction books that have stories to convey their message. I also believe that the stories in our own lives have a deeper meaning. These stories reveal so much – our values, our beliefs and … our passions.

When I was eleven I came up with a Plan B

After my  plans of becoming a writer and a teacher had been ‘destroyed’ (see last blog post) I needed to come up with a Plan B. I asked myself what I enjoyed doing and realized that I loved drawing and modern architecture. My parents and especially my mother were (and still are) very fond of modern design and architecture and our typical Sunday drive would include seeing the latest developing areas in Reykjavik, admiring the new houses that were being built. I loved those trips and not just for the ice cream I got.
I liked to look at the structures and determine what I liked and didn’t like about them. My favourite structure were white boxes with flat roofs and big windows. That is still true today. I started making floor plans in a notebook and designing dream houses for me and my friends. One house in particularly sticks in my mind. I designed it for a friend who loved horses so I included a big stall where she could have all her horses at home.
I had decided to become an architect. And 17 years later I graduated with a master’s degree in architecture. But it was not my passion and I knew it. I knew it 2 years before I graduated. My mother was very disappointed but I wasn’t. I saw no point in being an architect if it wasn’t my passion. And I had found something else to do, something way more exciting.
[tweetshareinline tweet=”I had an architecture degree but saw no point in being an architect. It wasn’t my passion.” username=”sigruncom”]

The Internet Arrived

I was still studying architecture and had a few more years to go when the Internet ‘arrived’. The technical university in Germany I was attending was quick to give students access to computers and the Internet. They set up computers in hallways around campus so everyone could use email. It was all very basic and the user interface was so bad that every time I used the system, I had to figure out anew how to send an email. While I didn’t like the system, I loved being able to email loved ones 3000 km away instead of having to fax or send snail mail.
The system improved in the next few years and the university started to offer classes in HTML (for websites) and VRML (for 3D worlds). I had done one course in AutoCAD (to make digital architecture drawings) and finally bought myself a computer. I took one of those first courses and put up my first simple website. Throughout the following years I improved my programming skills and website.
My excitement about the possibilities of the Internet grew so the next obvious step was to learn how to program 3D worlds. As my interest for this new technology increased, my interest in becoming an architect decreased. My Master’s thesis in architecture was a 3D Multi-User Campus developed in cooperation with the computer science department. I had become an information architect.

Website 1998

My website in 1998

I discovered entrepreneurship

Soon after I graduated, I got a job as a research assistant in the computer science department. I decided that if I was going to work in this field, I needed to study computer science. But before that I did a one year postgraduate study in architecture & computer science in Switzerland where I worked on some crazy and fun projects that are partly still online or at least in a book form. After that year, there really was no going back to architecture.
Back home in Iceland, I started to work full-time as an information architect at a dot-com company and felt I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. There I also discovered that I was not afraid to voice my opinion and make decisions. I was quickly promoted to manager and later director. There were layoffs soon after that second promotion but long before the layoffs I knew something was wrong. While I had until then never been interested in business I started to wonder how we managed to pay salaries without making a lot of sales. The system just didn’t make sense to me and I started to ask probing questions that no one could answer. This piqued my curiosity even more and I started to think about entrepreneurship.
My parents had had their own business since I was 2 and I must have picked up a few things along the way. It felt quite natural for me to think about starting my own company. So I participated in a three-month long entrepreneurship course for women and developed a business plan for web consulting. That plan got me my next job at a software company.
I wasn’t quite ready to start my own company yet but I was ready to do something more than project management. A year later I was suddenly in a position where the company I worked for needed a new CEO and I got this crazy idea that I could become the next CEO. To make a long story short, I got the job. At this point, I thought if I was going to be running a company, I needed a business degree.

Personal development became part of my life

Sigrun MBA

Graduating from London Business School in 2008

Personal development entered my life when I was going through a devastating break-up. I was lost and looking for something without knowing quite what I was looking for. Over 5 years I took a number personal development courses and read dozens of self-help books. I even became a certified Dale Carnegie trainer. I would still be a trainer today if I hadn’t decided to do my business degree in London instead of Iceland.
While at school doing my MBA, many of my fellow students were doing an MBA because they were looking for something but it wasn’t necessarily a business degree. It was actually self-discovery and getting a sense of what to do next in life. I thought a lot about these conversations and after graduation I even wrote a draft for a book “Why you should not do an MBA… “.
I continued my own journey after the MBA and have never really stopped but my focus has changed dramatically. I’m no longer trying to discover myself but am working on becoming a better version of myself and to help others do the same.
[tweetshareinline tweet=”I’m no longer trying to discover myself but am working on becoming a better version of myself.” username=”sigruncom”]

My stories start to make sense…

Architecture, technology, entrepreneurship, personal development… in hindsight it seems like I was meant to do all these things to actually figure out that I am passionate about something in all of them.
My passions today are photography, entrepreneurship, web software, personal development and I am starting to integrate writing and possibly teaching into my life too, with this blog and my company. I am what you call multi-passionate with a big M 🙂
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Are you multi-passionate? When did you discover your passions? Share your thoughts and comments below.

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