Posts Tagged ‘Passion’

My friend Brian and I take a photo journey each year to one of our country’s spectacular national parks. Our journeys have allowed us to drink in the amazing beauty our country offers – Acadia in Maine, Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, Big Bend in Texas, Canyonlands in Utah, Lassen in California and so many more.


This July our destination was Olympic National Park in Washington state. Choosing Olympic in July meant one thing – this trip, like most of our trips, was not a vacation.


Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

You see, Brian is an excellent photographer (view more of his fantastic photography here), which means our trips revolve around chasing the light of dawn and dusk. The first light of day on this trip was at 5:00 AM, and the last light of day was around 9:45 PM. That meant we were up at 4:00 AM to capture a sunrise and not back to our hotel room until 10:30 PM after the sun’s candle went dim.


Given that we didn’t get to bed until midnight, we essentially got 4 hours of sleep each night. Let’s face it, that’s not sleep . . . that’s a nap.


Yet, even though many of those never-ending days were filled with long 10-mile hikes, aching muscles, and carrying heavy backpacks filled with camera equipment, food and water, every minute of the day was exhilarating! We were never tired. In fact, it was the opposite. We were alert, alive and excited!


This experience powerfully demonstrated the importance of doing what you love and doing something that stimulates your mind and body. Whether that is exploring nature, working with children, mastering a sport, building a business, being a parent, practicing and art form, or anything else that fills your heart, the power of that passion is immeasurable. And to do anything less with your precious time – the short 24,528 days we are here on earth – is the true definition of dying.


What is it I want to do with the one precious, wild thing called my life? Where am I in my great dream called my life? Where have I allowed my fire to go dim?

Anais Nin


Howard Thurman once wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” The message here is abundantly clear and I probably don’t need to say much more. Rather, I will simply encourage you to ensure that somehow in your precious life you take time to do something that stimulates your passions and makes you come alive.




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Last week I read a news article about this video. It is a short, 90 second, impassioned plea from a father asking a large corporation for a simple favor. The video plea went viral and received over 1.5 million views in just one day.



In a USA Today article about the father’s (John Berlin) plea, Berlin said, “I touched the hearts of a lot of people. I wasn’t trying to do that, but I did … I just wanted to see a one-minute video.”


The one minute video he is referring to are those magnificent “Look Back” videos Facebook is creating based on a user’s posts over the past 10 years. If you are on Facebook and haven’t done yours yet, I highly recommend it. Berlin wanted to see what the video would look like for his son who passed away in 2012. As often happens when one is led by their heart, Mr. Berlin received his miracle and Facebook agreed to overlook its current policies and create a “Look Back” video from his son’s postings.


Then I thought about the amazing work Maggie Doyne is doing in Nepal. You can see her impact here – http://www.blinknow.org. I remember way back to when she was just starting her non-profit organization in 2006, when it was little more than a pang in her heart. Overwhelmed by the thousands of orphans she saw in Nepal due to a 10 year civil war, she said something to the effect, “I don’t know if I can help them all. I just want to help that one right there.” She was referring to a young 6 year-old girl named Hema who she had connected with on one of her first visits to the country.


These two beautiful moments, and the impact they have had on the world, demonstrate the perfect model for changing the world. Simply put . . . stop trying to change the world.


If you really want to change the world, just focus on your passion. What calls most strongly to your heart? Focus on that. Focus on what you care about most, take one SMALL STEP toward that, and let the ripples that passionate and caring step creates do the rest. It will undoubtedly have an impact and will change the world around you.


So, what is it you care about most?


I can’t imagine a better time than Valentine’s Day to take your first step and send out that first ripple of love.


The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

– Pablo Picasso


What good is a gift if you keep it beautifully wrapped, yet hidden in the back of a dark closet, never to be opened. A true gift is one that is shared with others, and when it is, it spreads joy to all those fortunate enough to share in it. Don’t keep the passions you hold deep in your heart from the rest of the world. That is your gift. That is what the rest of the world awaits for. And until you share it, neither you, nor the world will be complete.

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Not too far from where I live there is a small stretch of road – not more than 100 yards long – that I have always thought was incredibly beautiful. On one side of the road there were five or six grand old sycamore trees that stood proudly. They were easily over a hundred years old. Their thick, gnarly trunks reached up and spread their gorgeous limbs over the road, creating a beautiful canopy with their broad leaves.


On the other side of the road was a stately old white house, partially hidden behind the trees that lined that side of the street, and sprinkled between the bigger trees were these dainty little trees which in the spring bloomed with brilliant, neon pink flowers. It was truly stunning.


A few years ago, the utility companies decided that this beautiful stand of sycamore trees posed a threat to their utility lines and they ruthlessly cut them down. What was once a gorgeous stretch of shaded road was now nothing more than decimated stumps drying in the hot sun. The destruction of the beauty pained my heart.

But nature has a way of teaching us all about life and survival. A few weeks ago, I passed by this stretch of road and was amazed to see new shoots growing out of the stumps. I have passed by the trees many times, but this was the first time I noticed new growth. Somehow, after years of hibernation, the trees started to grow again. Even after what appeared to be the end of their life, and being cut down to nothing more than a stump, their determination to live now forced up amazing new growth. It was nothing short of miraculous.

As I thought about these trees, I asked myself, “Are my roots deep enough to endure such a devastating blow to my life? Is my foundation in life strong enough to survive the hardships that will surely come my way?”


I realized that the deeper our roots are, the better our ability to survive the challenges in life we will surely encounter. The question we must ask is, “Do we have that foundation and is it strong?” Whether that foundation is family, faith, love, hope, or something else, it is important to build a foundation that will help get us through times of uncertainty.


Send your roots deep. Take the time to nourish them and make them strong. It is an investment well worth making. Your life may well depend on it one day.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


What great things lie within you that perhaps some setback in life stopped you from achieving? Have you lost touch with the depth of your roots and forgotten who you are at your core? Have you forgotten what you truly desire in your life?


Reconnect to your roots and find the passions that drive your life.

It is only too fitting that the video below captures one of my passions and a deep root in my life. When I was a young boy, one of my favorite books was “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. I asked my Mom to read it to me over and over again. The book deeply affected me and captured my love for trees and nature. In many ways, I think I grew up much like the Lorax, protecting and caring for all that is in nature.

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This summer the sports radio airwaves were filled with news of professional baseball and football players renegotiating and signing new contracts.  The amount of money being thrown around was dizzying, often in the tens of millions.  It didn’t take much to get wrapped up in a fantasy of acquiring wealth like that and achieving a level of fame and fortune these players had.
In thinking about all their new-found wealth I got hooked, especially since that is the game that is played here in America – and more and more, that is the game being played throughout the world:  Whoever has the most money wins and is most successful.
Then it dawned on me.  I don’t really want to be wealthy.  That’s not what truly motivates me or how I define success.  Sure if someone offered to pay me lots of money for the value I bring to the world I would enjoy every bit of it and be grateful for the acknowledgement, but it wouldn’t necessarily motivate me or fulfill me.  Having lots of money is not what I consider a true measure of my success.
For me, success is about helping people and inspiring them to a great life.  It is about making a difference in people’s lives and knowing that my interaction with them left them in a better place than where they were before we met.  To spend my life doing that is a dream come true for me.
Not surprisingly, understanding this distinction about what motivates me and how I define success shifted my focus and drive.  The idea of making lots of money feels hard to me. Like a chore.  But the idea of helping and inspiring people?  That is what I was born to do.  It is as natural as eating and sleeping to me.  And I have no doubt that in pursuing that goal, success, and more importantly satisfaction, will surely find me  . . . not to mention quite a bit of money.  🙂
So perhaps finding happiness in life is really about answering these two questions.
1) Do you know what your true desire in life is and what motivates and fulfills you?
2) How do you define success?

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying “Amen” to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.
                                                                                – Robert Louis Stevenson


With the bombardment from media and popular entertainment these days, it is easy to get caught up in all the noise we hear about what it means to be successful, or popular, or cool, or fashionable.  But to define yourself by the standards others set for you is a surefire recipe for frustration and dissatisfaction.  Is it really worth “keeping up with the Joneses” if what the Joneses have has little to do with what you want in life?  The more you can look inward to find your true passion and satisfaction, the easier life tends to become.


Take a peek at the video below to get an inspirational look at someone who is clearly powered by what is inside him, rather than what swirls around him.


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