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"I'm a pretty self-sufficient, self-guided person though my answers have often been hidden within excuses and old beliefs, which were frustrating and paralyzing. Reggie helped me see through all the rhetoric and pointed me towards my heart's desire, using a combination of what's written on my own hands and her extraordinary gift of divining the truth. I never would have had the courage to dub myself an "artisan" without Reggie's unique support. Thank you from the bottom of my artsy heart, Reggie."
Wong Artisan of Silly Art
Wake Up and Live Your Passions!
By Reggie Odom
What would you be doing, or how would you be living, that would make you want to get out of bed in the morning - excited and eager for your day? What would make you feel alive and energized? What is it that doesn't feel like work, but for which you could very well be handsomely paid? Wake up my friend! This is your passion speaking.
For too many of us, the voice of our passion has been quieted, ignored, or put at the bottom of our “to do” list. Henry David Thoreau wrote in the 19th century that “The mass of (men) live lives of quiet desperation.” We all do if we are not connected to our passion and living what we are most passionate about.
When I began training employees of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the mid-1980’s, I was struck by a Friday conversation that had started on Monday. No matter what day of the week, most of the people in my groups were looking toward, talking about, and living for Friday afternoon, when they would be done with it all. I was astonished that people were willing to “live” in only two days out of seven. For most, the illusory comfort and security of a State job with benefits and a retirement plan were like the proverbial “golden handcuffs.” I wondered if their weekends were really different, or if they spent them trying to recover from the week before.
Yet, over the course of most of these trainings, people would get glimpses of who they were at heart, or what they were passionate about. Their faces would come alive, and eyes that were dull moments before would light up. This is an amazing transformation to experience. Often there were invisible performers in the room who had long ago stepped off the stage or put away their dancing shoes. However, we somehow discovered them before the day was over, and the atmosphere was such that they would come forward and perform for us before our time together ended. They came alive in front of the room. Interestingly, this all took place in Stress Management trainings. The connection is obvious, isn’t it?
Over the course of this past week, I interviewed two new clients on the phone, both coming, in part, for work- and business-related issues. Toward the end of my conversation with the first I was drawn to ask, “What are you so passionate about that if you were doing it, you would wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “Wow, I get to do this!” She burst into tears and said, “Art, music and drama.” These are the very things she had put away for years. I heard her voice come alive. These things will be part of our work together. With the second, what began as one conversation, ended with her stated dream of, “I want to perform modern ballet with a company.” She has now stepped onto this passionate path and this will be a part of our work together.
People, especially women, are starting small businesses in rapidly increasing numbers. In Massachusetts alone, 17% of the labor force is sole proprietors. The primary reason that most entrepreneurs I speak with came into business was because they had something they were passionate about.
Passion is the fire of life. When we are connected to our passion, and living our lives focusing on the things we are most passionate about, our work and our lives are “heart” work. We are excited about our day when we wake up and our lives are meaningful, purposeful, and deeply fulfilling.
Passion naturally taps into and opens up our valve to the limitless life force energy that is always available to us. When you are connected to your passion, your energy is natural and sustainable, like solar power. You no longer have to rely on adrenaline to get through the next hour; you no longer become exhausted and burn out.
Passion is the energy of attraction! Have you ever wondered why we are so drawn to watching professional athletes, movie stars or other performers? Why are we willing to pay so much to do so? We are drawn to their passion, to their vitality and to the heights it takes them. Why not step out of the spectator arena and instead become the passionate “athlete” in your life. When you live with passion, you become a magnet for people, opportunities and circumstances that support your passionate path. Passion is the key to absolute success in any endeavor.
When you connect or reconnect with your passion you come alive! You wake up to a life that is truly worth living - the life you were meant for and deserve to live. You make an enormous difference to those around you and to the world at large. As Harold Thurman Whitman wrote, ‘‘What the world needs is people who have come alive.”
- Reserve 10 minutes of solitude. Have a pen or pencil and paper with you. Relax and get comfortable with a few conscious breaths.
- Answer the following question: What are you so passionate about that if you were doing it you would wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “Wow, I get to do this!” Write down your answer.
- Your answer may take your breath, make you feel like passing out, make you cry, go numb, or want to get up and dance. If you experience any of these things, you’ve connected with your passion. Don’t worry; this is a part of the process.
- Decide to prioritize your passion and begin organizing your life around it. You don’t have to know “how” at this moment. For now, simply focus on this passionate “what” and the “how” will unfold.
- Find a coach, a group or a buddy to work with that will support your passionate path unconditionally.
Remember, You are a natural! You are brilliant! You are magnificent! Simply by being you. Let your light shine!