Today, the term “finding your passion” seems to be an overused phrase that many think cliché and trite. Yet I, for one, disagree. I believe that for any of us to develop continued personal growth, we must address what our inner passion is and can be. Finding our personal passion ultimately leads to a fulfilling and meaningful life. I know this to be true for me. I believe that it can be for you as well.
About six years ago I made a major decision that changed my life forever. At that time I was going through a very rough period. My marriage of 34 years was falling apart and I’d sold––nearly given away––my restaurant to my manager, promising myself that I’d never be in this business again…one that had sapped my soul and inner joy from me for decades. I was lost, directionless, wondering what was my next step in life was to be.
The kids were gone, the job was gone, and soon, the wife would be gone. I had lost my inheritance, much of my savings, as well as my retirement accounts through various acts of stupidity. Divorce was one cause, but I also naively believed I could self-direct my own investments––something I didn’t know anything about––by becoming an options day-trader.
On some level though, I realized that there was a part of me, both aware, yet unaware, that I had done this on purpose. In some way, which still isn’t perfectly clear to me, I knew I had to dismantle everything about my life down to the ground before rebuilding. And money was a part of that. Money had controlled my life, and for me to truly grow and learn the lessons I needed to learn, I had to let this go as well.
I’d always loved photography. My big secret dream was to travel and make a living from doing this. But life had other plans for me. Marrying, becoming involved in a family business, raising four children, and taking on the role of provider made that dream just that…a dream. Still, I was lucky. I was able to travel a lot and still managed to take pictures, but only as a hobby. Future college costs, a business I was responsible for, and a home to run and maintain made it impossible to change directions. I called it common sense, and considering my circumstance, it was. But the truth is I didn’t have the courage, the clarity, or the strength to really follow my dream. Not even before the marriage and children came into the scene.
In hindsight, I know it wasn’t meant to. There were other things I was destined to do and other lives I was meant to bring into this world.
So here I was, jobless, with my life falling apart. I decided to rent a little store in a small town bordering Lake Michigan and open a photo gallery for the summer. It wasn’t the best location in town, but heh, I was a just a beginner anyways. So for the next few months, I printed, framed, read many “how-to” books, and opened the doors to my own little slice of heaven. Or so I thought.
Nothing. Nada. Disaster. Mistake. Dead-end. Wrong turn. Roadblock. WTF did I just do?!
One thing I can say about the restaurant business is that whenever someone comes through the front doors, they’re going to buy something. Not so in retail. I had at least three periods of time during the summer, the biggest season of the year, when I went six days straight without making a sale. It was going to be a long summer––and I had to be there every…single…day!
Magic And Miracles
But magic and miracles were ahead. Making lemonade from lemons, I made it through the summer, albeit financially and emotionally stressed. Come fall, after the color spectacle of October was over, I decided to get away…by myself, to just think and regroup. I wasn’t happy. I lacked clarity. And the merciless self-beatings on my own self-worth had begun. I had to get away.
I loaded up my little 22’ motorhome, and left, not really knowing where I was going to end up.
Have you ever done that? Just having to get away but not knowing where you’d end up?
I decided to grab some CDs from my deceased mother-in-law’s ginormous collection of self-help books and books on tape that had been in storage. I was looking for something inspirational, so I reached for the 6 CD book sets, of which there was 8 to 10 of them. Every book set I opened though was on cassette, and I of course, only had a CD player.
After searching I finally found one, the only one, that had CDs in it. It was a Tony Robbins 6 CD set called Unleash The Power Within. I left and got on the road heading south, carefully dealing with the stormy skies and extremely gusty winds. Because of this, rather than going to the Smoky Mountains, I drove down the coastline of West Michigan, just into Indiana, before finding a beautiful campground to stay at.
The following day was cool, crisp, and sunny. After settling into the state park which bordered Lake Michigan, I received a call from a buddy back home who knew I was struggling.
“Hey Glenn, I don’t know if you’d be interested or not, but I have a ticket to a 4-day Tony Robbins, Unleash The Power Within event coming up next week. Would you like to go for free?”
“No shit?!” I thought to myself. “How weird was this! The odds… What’s going on here?” He had no idea that I had just listened to the entire CD set the day before and was now on my second time though.
“Where’s the event?”
“At the Meadowlands,” he answered, “and it starts five days from now. Want to go?”
Damn! Can I? Where would I stay? But thank God, my better-self rationalized that things always seem to work out. They always do for you Glenn; you know that…just go for it!
So I did.
For some reason, I had heard him say Meadowbrook and not the Meadowlands. Meadowbrook is in the greater metro Detroit area, a few hours away from home. The Meadowlands, as I soon found out, was in New Jersey, multiple states away from me!
But things DID work out, just as I believed they were supposed to. Once I discovered where the Meadowlands WAS, I also discovered it was only a 20-minute drive from where my son lived in Manhattan…just across the river! A place to stay––CHECK! I have my Prius, a 50 mpg automobile that can get me there––CHECK! And, being presently unemployed, I had the time–– CHECK!
As it turned out, I was destined to be there. It changed my life. Miracles happened, just as they were meant to, and the energies that BE aligned time and physical matter to make this happen. I found myself at this amazing 4-day event, and it was here, after being empowered and inspired by this amazing man, that I decided to change my life. I made the decision to REALLY test myself and the universe by making the biggest, boldest, and far-reaching dream I could possibly imagine:
To be able to travel anywhere, at any time, and photograph the beauty of the world, while making a healthy, prosperous living from the internet doing what I love to do!
I dreamed of living a wonderful, fulfilling life and helping others do the same. I dreamed of having a spectacular relationship with an amazing and beautiful partner. I dreamed of being in the very best physical shape possible. I knew the road would be challenging, yet challenge brings personal growth, and I was ready for it. Lastly, it had to be fun. Life is too short not to have fun along the way.
So this is my life. I am still continually stepping towards these dreams every day, over six years later! There has been great challenge and personal fears I’ve grappled with along the way—divorce, hurt feelings, lost of friendships and conflicted children, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m in the very best shape of my life, I’m full of energy, and am now ready to complete the final step of this process…making a healthy, prosperous living from the internet from doing something I love. The fear of failure is much smaller than it used to be, as is the faulty thinking that I’m not good enough, smart enough, or brave enough to continue stepping into those shoes of who I wish to be.
But I’m going to persevere. I’m here for the long run––it is something I will dedicate the rest of my life to creating, refining, and helping others find their true calling in life.
3 Lessons on Finding Your Passion
Things rarely, if ever, flow in a straight line. In fact, I defy you to find anything in nature that exist or grows truly straight. This is also true of any path we journey on. There are high roads and low roads, right turns and left turns, and puddles and slippery roads that make you slow down and veer. Sometimes there’s dead-ends, pot-holes and washed-out roads, and days when the car won’t even start. But just keep on going! Here are a few tips of what to expect:
1. Expect obstacles.
Keep stepping forwards anyways.The biggest battles you fight will be from within––your mind, the body-numbing fears––and the false beliefs that you can’t do this. You may ask yourself, “who am I to do this?“, and begin questioning what gifts you even have. Listen. Listen and trust in your instincts, and that voice from within that speaks to you. Follow it. It is here where you’ll find your stamina, your perseverance, and your strength. It is from here that the miracles occur and the saviors appear seemingly out of nowhere to help guide you along your way. Trust in this voice. It is yours.
2. Clarity is everything.
We each need be patient, aware, and in tune with our own voice, being certain to separate it from those of others who wish to help direct us. But this is a necessary part of finding our voice––to take a wrong turn, to encounter roadblocks––and to take a day o now-and-then to just think and realign ourselves. This is all a part of the process. When one decides to rebuild their life from the ground-up, it’s important to have patience and self-fortitude, because the foundation you lay is what all else will be built upon. Keep stepping forwards. The clarity will come.
Believe in yourself and your ability to figure things out, and believe that there is a higher intelligence who is helping direct you. Believe that you cannot fail, and believe that what you envision for yourself WILL happen. Believe in your resourcefulness and believe that you were born into this time for a reason. Envision your dream with all your senses. See it, feel it, smell it, taste it, and hear it. Picture continuing clarity coming into your life. Journal it, talk to others about it, dream about it, and meditate on it. Walk outside and give thanks to the sky and stars for it. Believing that you CANNOT fail is so very powerful!
Somedays you may do nothing more than reading an inspirational quote, express raw, incoherent words and emotions in your journal, or isolate and find some alone time just to think. That’s okay. After all, this is your life and your masterpiece. Don’t worry about what others think or do. This isn’t about others…this is about YOU!
Walk your path. I am confident that if you do, you too will find that source of unlimited joy and abundance that you desire and deserve.
It lies right around the next corner…