When I was young, I used to wait until everyone in my family was asleep and then I would tiptoe out the front door and dance for hours and hours under the streetlights. This was a magical time for me, it was here that I allowed my dreams to take form as I would dance and sing and perform and pretend that I was the greatest actress of all time.
I remember the sadness in my heart as I would emerge from my magical time under the street lights and tiptoe back into my house and once again enter the world where dreams were thought to be only for the faint hearted.
Regardless of my parent’s inability to believe that all of us were meant to live a life of passion, I never doubted the fact for one moment.
After having an incredibly tumultuous childhood and even more traumatic teen years, I emerged from my challenges with the dogged determination to live a life of purpose. From my own diligent daily practice I found that to live a life of passion came about effortlessly when I simply clarified what my passions were, then consciously put my attention on my passions, took strategic action, and, after I had done all that I knew to do to make my passions a reality, I simply let go. This formula worked so well, it was the basis for my book, “The Passion Test – The Effortless Path To Discovering Your Life Purpose.”
The Passion Test is a simple powerful process that can help anyone clarify the five things that matter most to them, and then make those things the priority in their life. As I have worked with thousands of people, taking them through The Passion Test process to help them discover their passions, there are seven keys which have emerged as essential to living a passionate life:
Until you are committed, nothing will happen for you. There is nothing more important to creating your passionate life than your unshakable commitment to choosing in favor of your passions. Every day you will be asked to put other things ahead of the things you love most. Keep your passions where you can see them, and learn to say “no” lovingly. Here’s one line you can practice:
“I so appreciate your asking, and I’m not able to do that now.”
Be sure to use “and” rather than “but.” “And” connects you with the other person, while “but” separates.
Vary the words to make them appropriate. Just remember to first appreciate, love, understand, and value the other person, then state what you need.
Lastly, keep in mind point #4 below (Stay Open). What’s most important may shift temporarily in the light of urgent circumstances.
When you are clear, what you want will show up in your life, and only to the extent you are clear. Fuzzy desires give fuzzy results. Gaining clarity is not a one-time experience; it’s an ongoing process. Take The Passion Test™ at least every six months and review your Markers and Passion Pages at least once a year.
What you put your attention on grows stronger in your life. Pay attention every day, every moment to what you are putting your attention on. You will attract all the people, places and things you need to create those things to which you give attention. As you shift your focus to all the good, which is flowing into your life, watch how your life is transformed.
4. Stay Open
Your greatest good may not be what you think it is. When you are open to whatever is appearing now, even if it’s different than the way you think it should be, you release your individual will and open to God’s will for you.
This is the path to living your highest purpose in life. This is also the secret to overcoming any obstacle that may arise in your life. When disaster strikes and you are open, you are able to take advantage of the opportunities that inevitably present themselves.
Be as true to yourself as you are to others, and as true to others as you are to yourself. The biggest challenge most of us face is to meet our responsibilities to others while pursuing our passions at the same time.
When you make commitments to others, make sure those commitments are aligned with your passions. Once you make commitments, keep them. If something else comes up, talk to the other person and ask their permission to renegotiate your commitment. If they aren’t willing or able to make the necessary change, then keep your commitment as you originally made it, even if it’s uncomfortable.
Do this a few times and you will become more careful about the commitments you make. And treat yourself with the same respect. When you make a commitment to yourself, treat it in the same way you would treat your commitment to another. That includes being willing to renegotiate your commitment when new circumstances arise.
Many begin the journey. Those who finish it are the ones who achieve success and fulfillment in life. In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tells the story of the man who bought property with the intention of mining gold. He discovered what appeared to be a massive vein. He went out and purchased the machinery to mine the gold, but before he made any significant profits, the vein dried up. He dug and dug, and then finally, he gave up and sold the property and machinery for a few hundred dollars to a junk dealer.
That dealer consulted an expert who showed him the previous owner had failed because he didn’t understand the nature of fault lines. The expert told the new owner he would find the vein again, not far beyond where the digging had previously stopped. The new owner followed this expert advice, and sure enough, found millions of dollars in gold, just three feet beyond where the previous owner had stopped digging.
When you’re living life truly aligned with your passions, persistence is not hard. You will find you can’t stop, even if you want to. Your deepest passions will drive you, in spite of yourself.
7. Follow Your Heart
When all else fails, listen to your heart. Passion emerges from the heart, not from the mind. When you feel confused, or lost, or don’t know which direction to head, then just start walking and pay attention to what your heart tells you. Do what you love, follow your heart’s direction and the path to fulfillment in life will naturally unfold before you.
Above all else, remember the secret that guarantees a passionate life: “Whenever you are faced with a choice, a decision or an opportunity, choose in favor of your passions.”
If you want to see where you stand, right now, in following your passions, take The Passion Test Assessment at www.thepassiontest.com. Take three minutes to answer seven questions and you’ll get an immediate analysis of your answers and what they say about how you are living your passions.
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