Wait, what? Are we talking basketball now? For my global tribe, March Madness in the US refers to the time of the annual NCAA college basketball tournament that generally runs throughout the month of March. Fans and followers go crazy with all the fervor associated with it. The word madness can mean different things to different people and at different times, but this month I am equating it to passion. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines passion as a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept or also as intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. Passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. Its synonyms, enthusiasm and zeal, mean intense emotion compelling action. Enthusiasm applies to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity. Zeal implies energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause.
What does this mean to us? Just like the word and its synonyms, not only are we going to look at what we are deeply passionate about, but also create a compelling action plan to take us closer to achieving our heart's desire.
This week we are going to focus on finding what it is that you are truly passionate about, what it is that you have been longing to do - possibly all your life - to improve your life, to live every day as the best version of yourself, to continue to grow and blossom and make this life so much more worth living. In other words, thriving. Perhaps it's a calling you have been ignoring. Perhaps it's that nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you have tried to squash, but it rears its head every now and then. It just cannot be squashed. And sometimes it is something that we are passionately angry about. It moves us to change something about our life or this world, and make it right, and stop accepting or tolerating. The force of this passion is so great that movements and revolutions and new laws have come out of it.
For some, it might be a career change - to become a musician or become a teacher or enter the high-tech world, or take on a leadership role. For others it might be of paramount importance to get some things in their lives in order before they can even begin to think of pursuing their passion - things like managing chaos and stress, organizing the house, decluttering, improving relationships, or parenting with care and love, to name a few. Whatever it is that is front and center to you, you feel it or you miss it and you want to have it. So, what are we going to do about it?
Sometimes taking on a task like this can be overwhelming. So, we are going to break it down into smaller goals. Each week, we will focus on one aspect of achieving that monthly goal so that by the end of the month, we will have made progress - small or large - towards designing the life of your dreams. I will make it as simple and as achievable as possible. What I need from you is the commitment to follow along and see it through. I understand that life happens, and that there will be other priorities. Whenever possible and practical, I'd like you to try to make yourself and your efforts here a priority - not doing so is the last regret I'd want you to have! So, are you ready? Great! Let's get going!
Our Goal This Week To identify your passion and determine why it is important to you.
You may have identified your passion and see it as an achievable goal. Or you may say, "I know what I am passionate about. I have dreamed of this stuff all my life. But it's not practical for me to do it now." Say, for example, you have always wanted to be an astronaut. But for whatever reason, you think you won't be able to do it. Money may be an issue - there are bills to pay and kids to send off to college so you have that to worry about. Or there may simply be no opportunity - NASA only recently sought applications for their astronaut program and is not currently seeking new candidates. Instead of completely giving up on your dream, can you do something related to it that will spark the same joy and excitement for you, thus improving your life for the better? For example, if money weren't an issue, what if you were to look into a civilian program like Virgin Galactic's, or the Space X program? Or maybe you could look for a position at NASA, and be that much closer to all things space? Will that be something worth pursuing?
Regardless of where you are on your journey, these are the steps we'll take this week:
1. Brainstorm ideas - Let it be a timed activity. Set a timer for 5 to 8 minutes. Think of all - I mean ALL - the different areas you are or have always been curious about, interested in, or thinking of.
o Go crazy! Really. Think of things as diverse as possible - you have wanted to pursue but didn't or couldn't because of other priorities. Also don't think of the quality, relevance, or vagueness of it. You can deal with the details in steps 2 and 3. For now, you want to generate as many ideas as you can - we'll narrow them down to the top 3-5 later.
o Go to your childhood memories "I am going to become a pilot when I grow up", "I want to teach when I grow up", "I want to save the world!"
o Ask your friends, family, coworkers - anyone who knows you well enough to be able to tell you what they have observed about you, what they know of you, or what they know you for - "You are so good at connecting people", "You have an angel's voice! It'd be a crime if you didn't become a singer", "You write so well", "You are an amazing storyteller."
2. Rank them - 1 being what you would want to do or be the most, and so on. Use these questions to help you clarify where each idea stands.
o If I achieved my dream, what would change? And how would that change my life?
o Who would benefit if I acted on it?
o What am I willing to give up, if anything, to achieve this?
o What if I did nothing about it? What would happen? How would I feel?
o What if I were to let go of this dream and never think about it again? Will I be able to make peace with it? Why? Why not?
3. Identify your passion - Now look at the top 3-5 ideas. Which topped the list?
o Just for a moment, place each of your other shortlisted ideas in turn at the top of the list. Did anything change?
o What's the top-ranked idea?
o Why does it matter so much over the other ideas?
Tip - Still not sure what matters most to you? Need help truly identifying what you value the most? I'd be happy to coach you to do deeper transformational work. Contact me.
Success Check Point: How will you know you have done it? Fill out the sentence that resonates the most with you and your situation:
"I am passionate about ……… It is of the utmost importance to me in my life because…………I will live a fulfilled life authentic to who I am when …………."
"I want to focus on ……. It is of the utmost importance to me at this point in my life because ……….When I incorporate this in my life I will be able to……….."
You've done it! Great! Just as a recommendation: you want to complete this exercise in the first 3-4 days of the week so that you give yourself time to try it on for size, to see how you feel about it, sleep on it, and see if anything changes in the next couple of days. The idea is to keep yourself on track and be prepared for next week's activity. You may also share it with your trusted advisors or personal board of directors - your friends and family. After a couple of days, if nothing changes, you've got yourself something you are passionate about that has the potential to improve your life in ways unimaginable!
Sneak Peek: Next week, we will work on exploring what you will need to have in your toolbox, such as skills and good habits, to get you closer to your goal. Excited? I am!