Category: Personal Development

How do I find my passion?

Your passion – do you know what it is? If you do, great! I am so so happy for you. I hope that you are living a life based around it. Passion is the most amazing driver of human behavior that there is! If you don’t, then follow this simple exercise to find out.

It’s not that rare to realize that you really are not sure what your passion is. Some people are lucky enough to find it early in life, and the rest of us may always wonder. Sometimes I could identify pieces of it, but then I couldn’t really put it all together. When I was in high school, the standard answer to “What do you want to do when you grow up?” was so often, “I’m not sure, but I want to work with people.” At least that’s what the girls all said – it was what we were expected to say.

Little did I know I’d grow up to be an often alone scientist and a computer programmer. Although I’ve worked with plenty of people, they have not been the center of my work universe.

Take out a piece of paper, and write down at least 10 things (but let’s say no more than 20) that are supremely important to you. It can be anything. It could be “spending time outside every day”, it could be “world peace”, or it could be “knitting”. I hope you get the idea. This is your list. Don’t think too hard about it. As a matter of fact, don’t give yourself more than 5 minutes to make the list. After all, these things are supremely important to you. So it shouldn’t take a lot of thought to figure out what they are.

Now, starting at the top of your list, compare the first two things you have written down. If you could do only one of those things, which would it be? No cheating! You don’t get to say it is a tie. You can do one, but you cannot do the other – period. (Don’t worry, it’s only a thought exercise! I promise you’ll still get to do what you want.)

Whichever one you chose,  now compare it to your #3 item. Again, make an either/or choice. You must select only one of them. (I just know that some of you are trying to say they are equal but that’s just not allowed! Life does not always let us take every path – we make choices.) Now take the winner of that comparison and compare it to your #4 item. Continue this process, each time coming up with only one winner. When you have gone through your entire list, whatever item comes out as the winner of your final comparison is your #1 passion. Write it down on an index card, and cross it off your list.

Now repeat this exercise exactly as you have just done, except that now you no longer have your first choice on there. Start at the top, do a comparison of only 2 items, and continue down the list. When you are finished, write down that passion on an index card and cross it off your list.

Repeat until you have your 5 index cards. Put them down in front of you. Does it ring true? You do not have to feel that these are complete definitions of your life. Your passions may very well change. But I can promise you that once you have identified these and made a commitment to build a life around them, you will be unstoppable.

When I last did this exercise, it turned out that there was one (not so small!) change that needed to happen for me to pursue all of my 5, that they really did all fit together. And within a very short time, events happened that allowed me to do this. Events that might have been traumatic just a few months before were welcomed, because I could see that I was moving toward my real goal – a life based on my true passions, not my ideas about them.

I do not think that those passions have always been the same for me. This exercise is worth doing at least once a year, perhaps more often if you are moving through many goals quickly. But don’t do it too often. The idea is not to give yourself a moving target. Identify your passion(s), and then go for it!

After you’ve done the exercise, let us know how it goes. I’d love to hear more about how you are working with your own passions!

Passion – where it all begins

I celebrated my 4th wedding anniversary last month (thank you thank you it was wonderful and we are still very happy). As most relatively “newlyweds” (with two almost grown kids!), we get the “How’d you meet?” question quite a lot. And, well, the truth is that we met on Match.com. If it didn’t happen to you, it might be hard to relate to getting excited remembering your true love’s first email to you, but I do remember that email. I remember that he wrote about our close-in-age boys, our mutual gerbils, and our love of snow (actually I distinctly remember that he said he loved how I “waxed poetic about snow” – be still my heart!). I also remember how disillusioned I was at that point, with the idea that I could meet someone this way. Because up until then, something key had been missing.

So why am I telling you about how I met my husband in a business blog? Is this going to get all steamy?

Sorry, no, strictly G-rated stuff here! This blog is all about having fun at your business and in your life.

But what I remember most about my Match.com quest was the profile that had to be filled out, the questions asked, and how it really made me think hard about what kind of person I was looking for. Just what was that secret sauce that would draw me to someone? It wasn’t eye color, skin color, height, or weight. It wasn’t about having a particular job.

It was passion. Not the romantic kind – that comes naturally when there is an attraction between two people. Of course I wanted to meet someone with whom I shared a mutual passion for each other. But I was looking for someone who had a passion for something. I wanted to meet people who had real passion in their lives, who were living life as if every moment mattered, going for something they cared for deeply and making that happen.

What are your passions? Do you know? Where does “interest” end and “passion” begin? And is your business, or something that you do in your business, one of those passions? Do you even know what your passion is?

Does this woman ever stop asking questions?!

In my next post I’ll teach you a shortcut to finding your passion, and I’ll also share some resources that will help you turn that passion into action and a life that you love.

And if you just so happen to be “between relationships” right now, I highly recommend Match.com. Here’s a hint about my top five passions – my son and my husband are in the top 2 spots!  Let’s figure out what or who are in your top passion positions, and then work on making sure your life centers around them.

Are you having fun yet?

And if not, just what are you doing?

I started this blog with the intention of sharing my experiences in buying, marketing, systematizing, and eventually selling a small business, and having fun while doing it. Did I laugh the entire way through this process? I did not! I have had more than my share of sleepless nights, of worry, and of “genuine” crises. Although mostly I have dealt with reasonable, helpful people, I have also been bullied and sadly, even taken to court, by companies I thought should be trying to work with me, even if things weren’t going exactly as they’d hoped. I have also had moments of triumph, of fun, of joy…

In this blog I wish to share with you the many lessons I learned and continue to learn, some major, others minor. But when all was said and done, I decided that I’d start with the one thing that I did more and more of as the years went by – I learned to keep smiling and to keep laughing, even during the “crises”. I think I got more comments on that than on any other thing I was doing – that I stayed happy through it all.

Think of this blog as “Don’t sweat the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff)” mixed with Michael Gerber and dozens of other business gurus who really do have something important to say. But it has to start with your own smile.

This is not one of those “I built a company that makes millions and oh yeah I only work 1 hour a day and so just do exactly what I did and you’re bound to make millions, too” blogs or books. I’ve read those, too. I still read them. I read a lot. Maybe I’ll even write one someday.

But right now, I’m here for you, the owner of a small business, probably a retail store or other local business, catering every day to customers who both love you and will leave you without so much as a farewell. I’m here to help you with both the difficult and the mundane, to find a way to build a business that you really do love – or to have the courage and strength to leave one that you do not.

So my challenge for today is to ask yourself if you’re having fun running or working in your business. If not, why not? Are you not making your financial goals? Are you working too many hours? Or did it just become ordinary at some point, just a job? Have you stopped running a business and started working a job you may not even like?

If it’s become mundane, or… even painful, try this. Start with gratitude. Look around you and express your gratitude for all that you have. Express it out loud to your staff and to your customers. Tell your vendors and suppliers how much you appreciate them. Do you have neighboring businesses? Drop by and say it to them, too. Tell them how much you appreciate the synergy that exists between you, or just how much you appreciate the people there, or the businesses themselves. And how about just the business itself? When did you last express your appreciation for having your business in your life?

When you start to feel that cloud, try some gratitude. Put it first, and the smiles will come. Make the decision to have fun every day with this, and you will succeed. Maybe you’ll even write one of “those” books. Start with a determination to have fun, to enjoy the journey, and the rest will be truly easy.

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