by Janet Bray Attwood: Ever worked in a job you just couldn’t stand?
That was me many years ago. My office was filled with recruiters making tens of thousands of dollars every month. Each time a placement was made for another disk drive engineer, the bell would ring. But it never rang for me. I was miserable.
One day I saw a poster for a success seminar. Something about it struck a chord.
The next day I called in sick and drove an hour and a half to the event.
Sitting up front I listened as a beautiful, articulate woman spoke about how easy it can be to enjoy success. The speaker said you just have to find those things that light you up inside, your passions.
As I listened to this remarkable woman, I felt a growing excitement inside. This was it! This was my passion, my purpose in life, to be a speaker, like this amazing woman.
“I’ll find a way to get her to hire me,” I thought, “Even if I have to follow her all
over the country and attend every one of her seminars.”
The next day when a friend casually asked how I was doing, I answered with excitement, “I’ve found my calling! I’m going to be a speaker.”
I told my friend about my plan to follow this speaker around the country until she had no choice but to hire me. The only challenge was that I was negative in the money department, “But I know I’ll manage it somehow. I just know it,” I told my friend.
The next day, I was sitting with my eyes closed in meditation at the local TM center when I felt small pieces of paper falling on my head. I opened my eyes to discover my friend showering me with ten $100 bills, laughing and saying “Merry Christmas, go live your dream.” Was I blown away? You better believe it.
I did travel across the country and was finally hired by the woman I so admired. Today, that woman is one of my best friends, and I am living my dream of being a speaker and transformational leader.
But it’s been a winding road, and along the way I’ve learned there is one key secret to living a happy, fulfilling, rewarding life:
“Whenever you are faced with a choice, a decision or an opportunity,
choose in favor of your passions.”
There are two parts to this. First, you have to know what you are passionate about—what it is that matters most to you in your life. That’s why my business partner, Chris Attwood, and I wrote The Passion Test – The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Destiny. The Passion Test is a simple, yet powerful way to clarify your top passions in life. Whenever I look back to that time when my friend showered me with $100 bills, I am reminded that it’s not the “how” which matters most, it’s the “what.” As we say in The Passion Test:
“When you are clear, what you want will show up in your life,
and only to the extent you are clear.”
When you are clear about the “what” that you choose to create in your life, then you will discover the “how,” often when you are least expecting it, as I did when my friend showered me with money.
The second part of living a passionate life is to choose in favor of your passions, those things that matter most to you in your life. When you do this consistently with every significant decision, you will be guaranteed a passionate life.
Stewart Emery, Mark Thompson and Jerry Porras wrote a fabulous book called Success Built to Last – Creating a Life That Matters. They interviewed over 300 people who have enjoyed enduring success for more than twenty years. People like former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Senator John McCain, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Lance Armstrong, Maya Angelou and many others.
All of these very successful people had one important characteristic in common: when faced with a major decision in their life, they always made their choice based on what held deep meaning for them. This is what we mean by choosing in favor of your passions. Following your passions is the key to enduring success.
Contrast that with the current state of affairs in the U.S. In 2005, Harris Interactive released a study that found only 20% of working Americans are passionate about what they do. That means 80% of the population is living under the illusion that following their passions is a luxury.
In a flat world, being passionate about what you do has become a necessity for survival. Today, Jill Smith in Miami is no longer competing for her job with just the people in her local area. She is competing with people all over the world.
As Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell and Allied Signal, and author of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done has said:
“It’s a competitive imperative. Only by loving what you do will you actually do more and do it better than the person sitting next to you [or on the other side of the world]. If you don’t, well then, we’ll find someone who does.” [brackets added]
The good news is that when you discover what you love and commit yourself to aligning your life with that, magic begins to happen in your life. Things you thought were impossible become possible. Doors open where there wouldn’t be a door for someone else.
Sometimes, when you listen to all the advice that’s available about what is necessary to create a happy, fulfilling, successful life, it can be a bit overwhelming. When you boil it down, if you are able to do nothing else, clarify your passions and then choose in favor of them, and you will discover your life unfolding in exciting, new, unexpected ways.
I can’t guarantee you will have hundred dollar bills showered on your head, but I can guarantee that your life will be more rewarding than you can ever imagine.
Janet Bray Attwood is the #1 bestselling author of The Passion Test – The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Destiny. You can get a copy of her book and take the Passion Test, plus get more than 40 special gifts featuring people like Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, John Assaraf, and many more by going to: www.mypassiontest.com