as published in Conway Daily Sun
Sometimes we have a hard time even naming our passions, much less prioritizing them. Let’s face it, between work, family and keeping up the house, cars and appointments, who has time to worry about their passions?! Stop. Slow down a moment - life should be easier than this. When we experience joy in our life, it is a sign that we are living in alignment with our purpose and passion. Sometimes it is easier to ride the horse in the direction it is already going. Why do we fight with life, always pushing in opposite directions? How do we arrange things so that life isn’t so stressful, so we can feel a sense of balance and calm – at least once in a while?
I want you to be as least as happy as I am. I live a dream life. I may not have as much time and money as some, but I enjoy more personal and financial freedom than most. For the most part I get to do what I want, when I want and with whom I want. I think of myself as one of the happiest people I know. You want to know my secret? I follow my passions. What does that even mean?!
Kathleen Seeley, a trainer/speaker friend from British Columbia, introduced me to The Passion Test. The book, the test, the videos, the now world-famous program of The Passion Test was created by Janet and Chris Attwood. I had seen them in magazines and on Facebook - I even clicked their link once and watched the online video – now I get emails daily promoting the many benefits. I get too many emails promoting the benefits of too many things, so until Kathleen explained it to me in person, it was lost on me. What a game-changer when you sit down for a half-hour and actually pay attention to this process! I’ve done the test several times now, and I’ve taught it a number of times. Each time I learn something new. Finally, I can sort out the tension between family time, work time, travel time, friend time, hobby time. I can balance (eliminate) the pressure to be doing the things other people think I should be doing and the stress of trying to present myself as others expect me to be. Can one exercise do all that? Frankly no, but The Passion Test does all that if you combine it with the other personal work we talk about in this column on a regular basis. This is one very important tool for helping you decide what you really want in life, which is where many of us get stuck settling for less than the life we deserve.
The first several times I did the Passion Test, I discovered that the quality and nature of the work I do is far more important to me than the actual work itself. For instance, I would rather do generic work with people I like, than do amazing work by myself. I am a pack animal and I simply do not thrive while working by myself. Having financial security is more important to me than where I live. But, where I live is more important to me than having more financial abundance than I already have. These subtle nuances change everything in how I look at my options. I discovered that relationships are far more important to me than my work or finances. My health and wellbeing comes ahead of everything. Mind you, these are not choices where we do not get to have all the above. These are exercises in self-awareness and knowing our passions in each area of our life. The more we can bring our natural passion and talent into each area of our life, the more successful we will be. The test can be applied to any single area of goal setting. Recently, I was lucky enough to be participating in a private retreat in Jack Canfield’s Santa Barbara estate. Jack is something of a genius with this work, so as I’m sitting on his living room sofa, (mostly hoping I won’t spill wine on it), I might have begun to think I was over-analyzing this passion stuff. Jack invited me to use the test just to prioritize specific projects within my area of work. What seemed like a small shift in perspective gave way to a massive change in how I see my work and the role I serve for my client companies . Magic happens when you can list your top 5 passions in order, and rate how present they are in your life at this moment. Only then, can you bring them more into all areas of your life in the future.
I implore you, go online and learn about the test, buy the book, or call me for a private test. Maybe you could pull together your friends, partners or employees and would could to do a group test. The important thing is that you have clarity around your passions and you give yourself permission to be honest about your priorities and plan your life accordingly. Your career, family, relationships, finances, health, spirituality and legacy are important topics not to be left to chance.