“If you don’t know what you want, pick something that might be it, and practice it. Real, deep, profound passion requires your focus, engagement, and daily practice.”
*Time Sensitive: As a little Christmas and New Year’s bonus, today my good friend Barrie Davenport and I are giving away five free copies of her new book, The 52-Week Passion Project (which happens to make for the perfect compliment to our Live Off Your Passion career course).
All you have to do is leave a comment telling us one of your interests, passions or hobbies – we want to get you thinking about what excites you in the new year!
Your answer must be in by this Friday to win a copy of her book. If you’re reading this in email, click here to participate.
Now it’s time to hear from one of my favorite passion experts!
Learning from the Right People…
When starting out in a new industry or career, we all have people we look up to. Those we constantly study and admire (and whom we might even feel a tad of envy for here and there).
Barrie Davenport was one of those very first people for me online. Her and I were one of the first few people in Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch’s A-List Blogging Club. Barrie seemed on fire right from the start. She had been a certified passion and career coach for years, and had decided to take that talent to the web.
I remember the day she announced that she had reached over 1,000 subscribers. I was in such awe of her accomplishment. Up until then my lifetime stretch goal was to someday hit that 1,000 mark…
That was less than two years ago.
Since that day I’ve continued to constantly learn by example. And it’s an honor to get to have her on Live Your Legend today to share the very best of her recently published book, The 52-Week Life Passion Project.
Barrie Davenport is the real deal. She’s a certified life passion coach, author, and founder of BarrieDavenport.com, a site devoted to helping people uncover and live their life passions. She is also the founder of Live Bold and Bloom, one of the leading personal development blogs on the Internet.
Without further ado, enter Barrie…
52 Simple Steps to Making Life’s Biggest Discovery
Scott: There’s a ton out there on passion, and to be honest, it’s hard to sort through what’s worth spending time on. I know you took a bit of a unique route with this, so how has your approach to discovering and living on passion different from so much of what’s out there?
Barrie: I guess I take a more holistic approach involving mind, body, emotions, and environment.
So much of the effort of finding your passion involves preparing yourself to uncover it and make room for it. That involves addressing the things holding you back from shifting a dream or faint hope to real action and forward movement toward your dream.
These roadblocks are fears, perceived limitations, old beliefs, debilitating emotions, a cluttered and over-complicated life, and a lack of understanding about yourself, your motivations, and your capacity for growth and change. You have to work on these things to be ready for passion to enter your life.
In addition, I focus on practical passion, meaning that I don’t promote the law of attraction or manifesting or flowery words that have no substance. People live real lives and have real concerns and real obligations that must be addressed, worked around, or revised. For many people, just creating the time and space to do the work of finding passion is a daunting proposition. It feels nebulous and directionless to those who have no guide or insight into how to go about it. So why devote time to something when you don’t know what you are doing? I give very specific small actions that are easily managed and clearly defined. And I let people know why they are taking the actions and how the actions will move them toward passion.
And finally, I view the process of uncovering and pursuing passion as a passionate endeavor on its own. We can delay happiness until the day we find it and live it, or we can see every step along the way as a microcosm of living passionately.
Everything we learn about ourselves during the journey is part of our growth and can be savored and appreciated if we choose to view it that way.
Scott: What was your reason for creating this book and tool? How do you hope it will help people?
Barrie: I’ll answer that by telling my personal story.
I had my own life passion awakening a few years back. I had spent most of my professional career as a public relations professional, helping other people promote and live their own passions. And I worked with particularly passionate people – actors, dancers, artists, and other creative types who had found what made them come alive. Also, I spent several years supporting my oldest daughter as she pursued her own passion to become a professional ballet dancer.
I spent hours of my day for several years driving her 60 miles round trip to her studio to train, twice a day. So I had plenty of experience with life passion – just not my own! When my daughter left home, I was left holding the bag. I couldn’t reignite my enthusiasm for my PR consultancy. It just had no meaning for me any longer. But as my role as a publicist was going away and my role as a mom was winding down, I didn’t know what the hell I was supposed to do with my life.
I knew I had to find my “something.” So I began a search in earnest – taking courses, assessments, workshops, reading books and blogs. Through all of this work, counseling and coaching kept popping up as suitable careers for me. I did more research and really resonated with the coaching model. Even thought I wasn’t 100% sure that “this was it,” I signed up for a strong coach certification program and spent nearly a year getting certified.
I started to build a business and created a very basic blog to market the business. Then I started learning more about blogging and found I had a passion for that – for reaching out to millions of people around the world in order to help them create better lives. My work as a coach and online entrepreneur combines many of the things I am passionate about: helping other people, writing, research, creative design, connection, community.
So through my search, opening one door led to another, and then another. And that’s how life passion often works.
So to answer your question, I created this book because I have some unique qualifications that can help people streamline the effort of finding and living passion. I spent years learning the “formula” for finding and living passion. I have taken everything I’ve learned through my PR work, my own passion search, and my work with coaching clients and have distilled it into the lessons and actions in my book.
Scott: What is the biggest challenge that keeps most people from experiencing and living their passion on a day to day basis, and what’s one thing they could do to get “unstuck”?
Barrie: Fear and confusion.
Fear that you will fail, make the wrong choice, lose all your money, be rejected by family and friends, look stupid, not be able to follow through. Making change like this passion work requires, wraps you in one big ball of fear and insecurity. The words “What If” are plastered on your forehead every minute of the day. And even if you can get past the fear, the confusion about how to go about finding and living passion stops most people. This is particularly true if you have made some feeble or even profound attempts in the past to find your passion, and it hasn’t worked out. You don’t have a level of certainty that passion really exists.
But here’s the deal – I see passion as an equation. It looks like this: strong interest + practice + engagement + purpose = life passion.
- You have a strong interest in something.
- You begin to practice it to gain proficiency, and either you do or do not become increasingly engaged in it.
- If you do become engaged, you continue to practice and pursue it more fervently.
- It takes on a meaning in your life and fulfills you in ways that support your values.
- It then has a larger purpose for you.
On a day-to-day basis, I would strongly recommend that people pick something that interests them and practice it.
If you want to be a writer, practice writing. If you want to be an online entrepreneur, then practice the skills involved. If you want to be a great parent, then practice great parenting in the minutiae of your daily interactions with your kids.
If you don’t know what you want, pick something that might be it, and practice it. Real, deep, profound passion requires your focus, engagement, and daily practice.
Practice connects you to that flow experience that separates you from time and space and imparts feelings of fulfillment and joy. And when you are practicing, there is no room for fear. If you want to release fear, stop thinking about the “what ifs” and start taking some action toward finding your passion or practicing what you think might be your passion.
Scott: You talk a lot about “Life Passion” in your book. This is a term I’m not directly familiar with. Does this refer to hobbies and interests, a passionate career, both or something else altogether? Can you explain the difference?
Barrie: I usually add the word “life” in front of passion to distinguish it from physical or romantic passion.
To me, life passion refers to that something, or several somethings, that make you come alive – that provide the feeling of deep engagement, joy, fulfillment, interest, fun, and purpose. How that something might manifest in one’s particular life is determined by the person’s life circumstances, responsibilities, obligations, and desires.
Since we spend so much time on our jobs, it is optimal if your job is your passion or at least supports your passion. It is really sad when you spend 8-10 hours a day doing something you don’t like or even hate – or that you just feel blah about. But sometimes that is necessary.
But I equate the feeling of having a life passion to the feelings of having a new love in your life. You’d prefer to spend 24/7 with that new person. But life sometimes dictates you can only see them once a week or just on weekends. Even so, the joy and excitement of the relationship spills over into everything else in your life. Every part of your life is better because you are so happy about the new person.
This is true for life passion as well. You’d rather enjoy it all day, every day. But if you can’t, you can enjoy it through a hobby, an avocation, a volunteer effort, etc. And quite often, we become so engaged in our peripheral passion endeavors that unexpected career opportunities open up for us as a result.
Scott: How can someone start to find passion in their current career if it’s something that isn’t especially exciting, but they can’t just up and quit quite yet?
Barrie: Of course I’d suggest reading my book!
Getting really clear on your personality, aptitudes, skills, intelligence type, and values (all of which I cover in the book) will help you narrow the field of what is most important for you and your life and work. Knowing yourself really, really well and having a solid grasp of your top priorities and motivations will help you know where to begin with making shifts in your current career.
Once you gather and understand that information, use it to begin asking for and making changes within your current job. If you know of positions or projects within your organization where you would be better-suited, then show your boss or human resources professional the results of the assessments on your personality, skills, intelligence type, and values. Show them that you would be more productive and more valuable to the organization if you are in a position that supports who you are — or at least if you can be involved in projects or tasks on occasion that support your aptitudes.
If that is not possible, then try to bring more of who you are to the work you are doing.
If one of your top values is love, and you’re an accountant, how can you bring love to the work you do? I know this sounds silly, but it is better than actively loathing your work. Find ways to bring passion to even the most mundane parts of your job. Be completely mindful and present when doing these tasks. Bring your values to the tasks and make them more interesting and engaging. And be sure to pursue passionate and interesting endeavors outside of work to fill your cup.
But, if you are truly in a mind-numbing job with little room for growth or change, I would do everything possible to make a change. Life is too short to suffer this way for long. It isn’t worth the security or money. It will eat away at you in the long run.
Scott: What’s the most surprisingly useful technique or practice you’ve found for helping people lock in on their passion and start living it as a consistent part of their life? What’s something our readers can start doing right now to get closer to experiencing this?
Barrie: Daily action.
It is so easy to get caught up in over-thinking the details and the potential pitfalls. We get caught up in planning and preparing and running the numbers and talking to friends about it. But the real catalyst to change is action – doing something toward uncovering or living your passion every day.
Spend some time on your due diligence. Read, research, plan, weigh the pros and cons – and then get off the pot and do something! And then do something else. And do that every single day. Yes, you might take some wrong turns, you might make some mistakes, but all of those mistakes are part of the journey toward finding your passion.
There is trial and error and experimentation involved – that’s a necessary part of the process.
Be patient with yourself and the process. Try to enjoy the ride. See it as your passion for now. Say to yourself and others, “My passion is finding my passion!” And then “chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.”
There is no more important work you will ever undertake.
Passion Is a Way of Life
A huge congrats to Barrie on her new book and an even bigger thank you for the inspiration and guidance she’s provided over the years.
It’s honor to host her at such a crucial time for change being right at the end of the year – and especially since as a community at LYL we have all committed to 2013 being the year we take a stand and start doing work that matters.
I also love how her new book makes for the perfect compliment to our Live Off Your Passion career course, which I know many of you have been joining this month before the price goes up at the end of the year. These two tools really do go hand in hand!
I hope Barrie’s work will get you in the right mindset. It always has for me.
Also, be sure to keep an eye out next week for the totally free Live Your Legend 2013 Goal Setting and Action Workbook. I’m putting all the finishing touches on it this week and it will be available to you all just after the new year. I can’t wait.
Happy New Year – there are big things to come!
Leave a comment to win a free copy of The 52-Week Passion Project
As a New Year’s celebration, Barrie has been kind enough to give away five free copies of her paper book and workbook, shipped to you anywhere in the world.
All you have to do is leave a comment telling us one of your interests, passions or hobbies. Even one sentence or just a single well-chosen word will do.
You must do this by the end of Friday – at that point we will pick five of your comments, at random, to receive a free book.
Also, each of you who leave a comment will received a free PDF copy of the companion workbook if you decide to purchase the book.
Alright guys, the new year is almost upon us.
It’s time to start doing something that matters.
Now please tell us about it!
P.S. Email readers click here to leave a comment and win a free book.
P.P.S. Remember, there are only about 5 days left before the price of our Live Off Your Passion career course goes up by 55%. I’d hate for you to miss your chance if you’re interested.
Next stop – the totally free 2013 Goal Setting and Action Workbook. I cannot wait to share that with you!
Images courtesy of the very talented James Clear