Ever worked in a job you just couldn’t stand? That was me many years ago. I was miserable.
One day I saw a poster for a success seminar. Something about it struck a chord.
The next day I called in sick and drove an hour and a half to the event.
Sitting up front, I listened as a beautiful, articulate woman spoke about how easy it can be to enjoy success. The speaker said you just have to find those things that light you up inside, your passions.
Today, that woman is one of my best friends, and I am living my dream of being a transformational speaker and leader.
But it’s been a winding road, and along the way I’ve learned there is one key secret to living a happy, fulfilling, rewarding life:
“Whenever you are faced with a choice,
a decision or an opportunity,
choose in favor of your passions.”
What Are You Passionate About?
There are two parts to this. First, you have to know what you are passionate about — what it is that matters most to you in your life. That’s why my business partner, Chris Attwood, and I wrote The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Destiny. The Passion Test is a simple, yet powerful way to clarify your top passions in life. Whenever I look back to that time when my friend showered me with hundred-dollar bills, I am reminded that it’s not the “how” that matters most, it’s the “what.” As we say in The Passion Test:
“When you are clear, what you want will show up in your life,
and only to the extent you are clear.”
When you are clear about the “what” that you choose to create in your life, then you will discover the “how,” often when you are least expecting it, as I did when my friend showered me with money.
The second part of living a passionate life is to choose in favor of your passions, those things that matter most to you in your life. When you do this consistently with every significant decision you make, you will be guaranteed a passionate life.
Creating A Life That Matters
Stewart Emery, Mark Thompson, and Jerry Porras wrote a fabulous book called Success Built to Last: Creating a Life That Matters. They interviewed over 300 people who have enjoyed enduring success for more than twenty years. People like former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Senator John McCain, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Lance Armstrong, Maya Angelou, and many others.
All of these very successful people had one important characteristic in common: when faced with a major decision in life, they always made their choice based on what held deep meaning for them. This is what we mean by choosing in favor of your passions. Following your passions is the key to enduring success.
Is Following Your Passions A Luxury?
Contrast that with the current state of affairs in the U.S. In 2005, Harris Interactive released a study that found only 20 percent of working Americans are passionate about what they do. That means 80 percent of the population is living under the illusion that following their passions is a luxury.
In a flat world, being passionate about what you do has become a necessity for survival.
Loving What You Do
As Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell and Allied Signal, and author of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, has said: “It’s a competitive imperative. Only by loving what you do will you actually do more and do it better than the person sitting next to you [or on the other side of the world]. If you don’t, well then, we’ll find someone who does.”
The good news is that when you discover what you love and commit yourself to aligning your life with that thing, magic begins to happen. Things you thought were impossible become possible. Doors open for you.
Sometimes, when you listen to all the advice that’s available about what is necessary to create a happy, fulfilling, successful life, it can be a bit overwhelming. When you boil it down, if you are able to do nothing else, clarify your passions and then choose in favor of them, and you will discover your life unfolding in exciting, new, unexpected ways.
But what if you’re not clear on your passions? What if your circumstances have created a mindset within you that seems to suggest that there is no hope?
Exercise in Shifting Your Perception & Energy
Here’s an exercise that I recommend to people who I work with that is simple but tremendously powerful. It will give you the ability to shift your entire perception away from what you don’t like about your current circumstances, and instead put your emotional energy into something that can provide inspiration.
Ask yourself this simple question: What do I never want to happen in my life again?
Write down all that you can think of in response to that question. Get it all out and on paper.
Then simply write down the opposite of each item — something that you’d absolutely love to happen!
So simple, right? But try it!
For example, when I spoke to the homeless, I asked the question, “What do you never want to happen again?” and one person responded (as I’m sure many were thinking), “I never want to live on the streets again.”
I then asked them to state what the opposite of that would be. “To live in a beautiful home.” The shift was powerful and palpable.
Creating A New Sense of Direction
Try this exercise if you feel disconnected from your sense of passion. You’ll be amazed at the wave of inspiration you will create. You’ll find yourself with a new sense of direction that you can immediately act upon!
I can guarantee that your life will be more rewarding than you ever imagined.
This excerpt was reprinted with permission of
the publisher, Hampton Roads Publishing.
This article was contributed by Janet Bray Attwood and excerpted with permission from the book:
Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power: Everything You Need to Know about the Law of Attraction
by Bob Doyle.
Motivational coach Bob Doyle, one of the teachers featured in the film version of The Secret, dispels the misconceptions and myths about the Law of Attraction and offers a practical, easy-to-use program for creating abundance and happiness. Follow Your Passion, Find Your Power is a down-to-earth, no-hype, motivational approach to get clear on your vision for your life, and follow a step-by-step plan to live your life by design.
About the Author
Janet Attwood is a master communicator and connector. She has always had the gift of connecting with people, no matter what their status or position. Janet has been practicing the Transcendental Meditation® program for thirty-seven years and is a facilitator of the Work of Byron Katie. Janet is presently co/owner of Enlightened Alliances with Chris Attwood. Enlightened Alliances creates relationships between individuals and organizations that are doing work to create a world of abundance, harmony and mutual support.