Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Lemonade, anyone? September 25, 2011

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Sometimes a “negative” event can have a positive outcome. We all are familiar with the old adage about “learning from our mistakes”, making “lemons into lemonade”, and “making the best of a bad situation”. We experience it and see the net effect of such phenomenon all the time on both personal and societal levels. “Amber alerts”, air bags and bicycle helmets, are some examples of societal and cultural attempts to learn from our “mistakes”. On a personal level, a divorce from the “wrong person in and unhappy marriage” can lead to meeting the love of your life, being laid off from a job you are not happy in can give you the time and ability to grow the business you have always dreamed of, and quitting smoking after one too many a round of bronchitis,  are all examples of how we personally can make positive changes in our life based on difficult life events.

But in order to move forward in a positive way we are required to have at the very least two essential ingredients; goals and aspirations, and plans and action. If you have always dreamed of having your own organic, hydroponic vegetable farm but lack the ability to develop a plan and the persistence to do the work needed to get it going –  then it’s never going to happen. Similarly, if you have the innate ability to become a brilliant writer but lack the confidence and drive required to both get your words onto paper and get that paper disseminated to the audience then you will never experience the joy of connecting with and reaching others in that way.

In order to turn a bad situation into a positive one you have to recognize what needs to change, envision what you want to happen and take the steps necessary to make it happen. Though a little bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time doesn’t hurt, nothing will change unless you have what it takes to seize the moment and take action. It’s not easy all the time. Life circumstances are often outside of our control – but how we react to those challenges and what we decide to do about them – is. You don’t need a negative catalyst to get the ball rolling, though often they do provide some added motivation.

As a coach – this is where I come in. My job is to ally with my clients and support them in the discovery and articulation of their dreams and goals and then to help them take those aspirations into action; to create the personal and professional lives of their dreams. It’s a pretty sweet place to be, after all one of my passions is helping others discover and live theirs, becoming the best selves they can possibly be.  The work is yours – my job is to help support you in the articulation of your vision. It’s a beautiful thing to do what you love – isn’t it time you treat yourself to a nice tall glass of lemonade?

 

Ode to The Grain of Sand June 18, 2010

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Yesterday, I had the good fortune of attending an all day seminar with Seth Godin; author, master-marketer, and thought innovator and as expected I awoke today feeling inspired and ready-to-go. (Also, helps that I actually allowed myself to go to bed at 6:45pm last night and catch up on some much-needed sleep!) So today, my usually fertile mind seems to be firing at a more rapid rate than usual as one thought and idea after another parade through my consciousness. It feels good, as if my batteries are fully recharged and my system is ready to spring into action. So the question, that keeps surfacing is – what are you going to do with this burst of inspiration and energy?

First, the most obvious piece spread the word a bit. If you haven’t read any of Seth’s books, I recommend that you do. There are several to choose from, and his most recent, Linchpin is as good a place to start as any. I could tell you what his books are about, but you can find that out more efficiently by going to his website: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/ and reading about them for yourself. (I would also recommend subscribing to his daily blog for a daily blast of thought provocation and inspiration.) And since I know that Seth can speak for and take care of himself, I would rather focus on the broader phenomenon at work here. Finding the people, ideas and experiences that lift your spirits, light your fire and make you want to do and be more and then surrounding yourself with them.

For each of us, the paths will be different. The excitement I feel when I hear or read Seth Godin’s ideas may not resonate for you, but something or someone out there will. The idea is to think about what inspires you and to realize that not all inspiration is going to sit comfortably inside you. There are times when new ideas are an irritant – like the grain of sand in the oyster, they make you react and think and it may be uncomfortable but the impact is felt all the same. To me, finding your inspiration and using it to enhance how you think and act and interact in the world is something you owe not just to yourself but to the world around you. Cause when you find it – when you are living your life in a passionate and authentic way you are at your best and everyone benefits from that little bit o’ business.

 

Hey, What the Heck Do You Think You’re Doing!?! March 11, 2010

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Do you know where you want to be; not necessarily in terms of physical space and time but in terms of your plans for yourself? Have you identified a life that you want to be living that is different from the one you are living now? Do you know what it looks like? Surprisingly, not everyone has the vision of where they want to be, they know that their life as it is in this moment is not their ideal but they have not really considered the life they do want to be living. Having that sense that there is something missing from the picture but no real picture to pull you forward can be a pretty disconcerting experience. How can you know where you are going if you don’t know where you want to be?

Having the vision to project ourselves into the future and see what our lives could look like is an incredibly useful tool. It’s worth our time and consideration isn’t it? Living each day, one at a time, dealing with the present is also important but it doesn’t preclude the value knowing where you want to be. We each owe it to ourselves to spend some time considering and envisioning our lives as we want them to be. It provides a sense of direction and purpose that without such consideration can get lost in the day-to-day existence that we all must exist in.

You owe it to yourself to take some time thinking about where you want to be – because once you have articulated that picture, you breathe life into your dreams. There may be many goals, some short-term and some long  – and of the long-term goals there may be different tiers to be considered, separated by time and goal markers along the way. You don’t have to know all the details, or exactly what paths you will take to lead you there. It is not fixed and inflexible – your dream is fluid and adaptable, able to accept revisions and adjustments along the way while still holding onto to its integrity and truth. If you don’t know what your dream is – you owe yourself the time to consider it. To try to flesh out the picture of where you want to be – and make it tangible; draw a picture of the elements that you want, write a list of your desires, make a collage of the images that symbolize your vision, there are as many ways to do it as there are dreams themselves.

We all have to start somewhere. For some the picture is clear while others will have to struggle with it a bit. Consider all the arenas of your life that will be impacted and take the time to dream. We can live relatively contented lives without a master plan, but identifying the things that truly inspire you and pull you forward is the first step in a life of fulfillment, purpose and passion. You can always edit it later, but for now just let yourself play and dream. If nothing else the experience can be liberating, and the possibilities are endless…

 

Finding your Kingdom February 24, 2010

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So I found myself in an interesting discussion about Gratitude and Passion yesterday. A friend who had read my blog post had made the comment that I was not “The Princess of Gratitude” I was the in fact, “The Princess of Passion”. And it’s true, passion is my thing, and working with others to discover and realize their passions in also my thing. But I have to at the very least show my appreciation for gratitude. I can say that for years though I was not what you might call “an ingrate” I did not have the presence of gratitude in my life in the way that it is now. However, I have always been a passionate person. It is an element of who I am that I can trace back over time and find at many a stage. The tie-in for me is that both of these “world views” emerged (or re-emerged) at the same time in my life due to the same set of circumstances and one life-changing catalyst, namely the events of September 11th, 2001 and the realization of the precious, temporal fragility of human life. For me there is very definitely a life before, and a life after that tragic day in world history and though I have a lot I could say about this, for now I want to focus on the passion piece.

My sons can willingly attest that their mother is “a passionate, Italian woman” (something I have invoked on more than one occasion when my fervor for a particular topic is more evident than one might expect.) Nonetheless, there was a long period of my life when I was not in-touch with this aspect of myself either. Choices I had made created a circumstance in which my passions took a backseat to other demands in my life. And the result was a pretty “dulled down” experience of life. (This is not to say that I did not experience happiness and fulfillment – but rather that the connection with my essential life energy was encumbered by faulty wiring and lack of adequate voltage.)

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.” T. Alan Armstrong

The reality is that though for some of us “being passionate” may refer to an aspect of our personalities, for all of us it is possible to connect with the passion inside of ourselves as it is a key to living a full life. Knowing what energizes you, what ideas, activities or experiences give you that sense of excitement, and interest and fulfillment is essential. But simply knowing is not enough. To really move forward in a positive way you need to engage with your passions and truly integrate them into your existence, otherwise you are selling yourself short in a life that is already short enough. You owe it to yourself and to those around you to be the best you can be, to live the life you love and to make the most of your time here. So my question to you is – what are you the prince/princess of?

 

P-P-P-Passion!!! January 8, 2010

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About 8 years ago, during a time in my life when I was experiencing a lot of transition and change, an old friend asked me a prophetic question. We hadn’t spoken for a long time, maybe 20 years, and we were catching up on all the comings and goings in each other’s respective lives. He asked, “So tell me, what are your passions?” At the time a number of things popped into my head, and though I declared my initial responses, I found that I also truly believed that I didn’t really know how to articulate what my true answer was… And what I found was that the question really got under my skin, and my thoughts went back to it over and over again in the days and weeks ahead.

What I realized was that even before the question was asked, my daily existence was fueled by the question itself. I was on a mission and I hadn’t even fully realized it yet. My passion was: discovering what my passions were! I was in the process of reconnecting with parts of myself that had been dormant for years and the activation of this sense of myself hinged on the discovery of those things that enlivened and inspired, fueled and ignited me. There were specific passions: my children, my art, art in general, music, intellectual stimulation, new hobbies like kayaking and hang-gliding and on and on and on. But the real passion was indeed passion itself!

 I discovered that not only was I on a mission to discover my own passions but I was extremely passionate about helping other people to connect with theirs. The process of working with people to help them identify and incorporate their passions and dreams into their lives is what lead me to transition from my background in psychotherapy to coaching. It’s a pretty darned great privilege to do the work I do and to help people along on their own journeys. Wow – I couldn’t have asked for a better fit!

And the lovely thing is, it is ever changing and always evolving. It is a story with no conclusion, a lifelong, unfolding, flexible process. Who knew?

So, tell me, what are your passions?