When I was in high school I remember having a conversation with my father. He and my mother had just discovered that I had missed over 50 days of school my junior year. He was distraught, to say the least, although he and my mom (mostly my mom) covered for me with the school, so I did not get in trouble. That conversation with my father was a turning point for me. His firm, but loving message to me at that time, had a lasting impact. Some Background Prior to this talk with my father, I had always gotten a consistent message from he and my mother. It basically went like this, “We love you, we believe in you, and you can do anything you want. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you love it.” It gets me choked up to even think about how powerful this message was. I know this is NOT a common message. Most of my friends and clients over the years report the exact opposite. They felt compelled by their parents to “get a stable job,” or “do something respectable,” or “follow in my footsteps.” The Talk So at the time of this talk, I had already heard the, “Do What You Love” speech many times. But my dad was obviously concerned. He said, “Jade you are the last of my four kids and you are the only one who did not do student counsel, who does not seem to care about your grades and refuses to follow the rules. Why?” I said something to the effect of “I don’t know. School is boring.” I can’t remember the exact words, but my dad responded something like this, “you better decide what you want to do, because if you don’t life is not going to go so great for you. The choice is yours.” A realization about passion My father is a man that just does his job. He does not complain. He does not blame. He just takes full responsibility for his choices and goes to work. He inspires confidence. I admired and respected him even as a disrespectful, know-it-all teenager. As an aside, he also looks just like a Koala bear, and who does not love Koala bears? See pic of my dad below.
I thought deeply about what he said and then decided on what I wanted to do. I was a stubborn kid, so I certainly was NOT going to all of a sudden jump into my school work. Instead, I thought about what I did love. I loved sports, evidenced by the fact that I would skip school all day and then come back to school for football practice. I loved fitness and nutrition. I read all the magazines and books I could get on this stuff.
I decided that is what I would do. That stuff was easy for me. It is what I would be do, if no one was telling me what to do. So, I started to pour my efforts into this stuff even more.
I did not realize it then, but I had found…err.. chosen my passion. And that is when life started to get very interesting.
The creative journey of passion and purpose
It is funny how passion starts. It usually springs out of something you love and/or something you are good at. It is hard to separate the two sometimes. The more you love a thing, the more you do it, thus the better you get at it. The better you get at something, the more chance there is for you to love it.
Once I chose my focus and passion, things begin moving in a direction I could never have anticipated. It was like I jumped on a passion roller coaster to an unknown but exciting destination.
My passion for football and sports led to a passion for strength, conditioning and nutrition. This passion actually overcame my love of football so much so that I quit football my senior year to focus on bodybuilding (much to the shock of my entire school).
That bodybuilding stint almost immediately morphed into a love of biochemistry and nutritional supplements. I opted for a biochemistry major in college (the only classes I consistently went to).
That then led to a love of medicine and especially preventative and lifestyle medicine. This love of medicine led me to pick, a then fringe choice “alternative medical school” called Bastyr University: Now one of the leading centers for natural health in the country/world.
That, along with my chosen job, to pay my way through school, personal training & bartending, led to a passion for teaching and social psychology.
That morphed into opting for a consulting practice so I could do life coaching too. I also started a workout company after medical school, which led to teaching online, writing books, building an international health, fitness, and weight loss company.
And the roller coaster continues rolling on with my integration of self-help, self-development, life-coaching, and success and mindset teaching in health, wealth and relationships. In fact, the beginning of this site.
Chasing Passion and Creates Purpose
People often ask me now, how did you do what you did? How do you get to live this lifestyle where you do exactly what you want to do every day?
When I think about the answer to that, it starts with my parents and their unwavering message of “I love you. You can do anything you want. Make sure it is something you love.” And, my choice to be a passion chaser.
Now, I know what you might be thinking, “Well Jade, that is all good for you, but let’s be realistic, that does not work for everyone. Some people have to pay the bills.”
My heart sinks when I hear this message. Not following your passion will make you have to pay all right, only it’s not money you will have spent, it will be your happiness.
I believe chasing your passion and creating your purpose is the single, most important mandate of a human, and there are many ways to do it. It can be through hobbies or work, but your health and happiness depend on it.
The 3 Wills
The famous psychologist, and holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl said we have three wills. The will to meaning, the will to power and the will to pleasure. He said the will to meaning is the only one that sustained him, the other holocaust survivors and his subsequent patients over his career.
When the will to meaning is not attended to, the will to pleasure and the will to power dominate; resulting in a life of shallow egotism, distracted complacency and/or resigned apathy. There is no real life in that.
In the word’s of my favorite movie, The Matrix (the sequel actually):
“There is no escaping reason; no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose we would not exist. It is purpose that created us. Purpose that connects us. Purpose that pulls us. That guides us. That drives us. It is purpose that defines us. Purpose that binds us……..purpose.”
How to find/chase/create passion & purpose
So what are we doing? Are we finding, chasing or creating passion? All three actually.
If you are looking for your passion or want to help a friend, client or family member (shoutoutto my teenage niece and nephews Quentin, Lili, Soul and Zen), here is the approach I suggest. It is a three step process:
Expose, Explore and Expand.
Expose: This is the finding stage. Let’s assume we are starting from scratch and you don’t even know what you like. The first step is to expose. Become a seeker of the novel. Take up a sport. Go to pottery class. Try your hand at cooking. Join a gym. Read a random book.
In this stage, you are exposing yourself to experiences that are out of your sphere of awareness. Your only job is to try things. This is easily done by just saying YES to everything. If you are a parent dealing with a teenager, you may have to say yes for them.
One of my favorite and comical stories in this regard is my mother and father’s relationship. My mom’s passion is art, she is a calligrapher. My dad’s passion is whatever my mom or his kids are doing (and cooking). Several years back when he retired, my mom wanted him to find a passion.
I would call up and find my father very annoyed. I would ask, “Dad, what’s up man? You seem pissed off.” His reply, “Your mom signed me up for a pottery class.” The next month he was enrolled in basket weaving. Then it was rock carving. hahahaha!!!
Finally she relented, after realizing dad has a passion. He loves to cook, and his other passion is helping other people with their passion. He is a true Morpheus in this way. Now she lets him cook, work on his children’s businesses and watch Game Of Thrones (which she inexplicably calls Crown Of Thornes?)
The point is to expose, expose, expose. Many of these “exposures” will feel like work, and slogging through mud, but some won’t
Explore: The next stage is incredibly fun. After exposing yourself, you will find you gravitate towards things you are either good at or you find enjoyable. Now, you want to begin to explore all the things that go along with this.
Let’s say you discover an interest in baking (I think my mom signed my dad up for a cupcake making class too..hahaha). You begin perfecting that. You watch videos. Bake cookies and share them. Learn to do some elaborate cakes and get pretty damn good at it.
This is where passion starts to take hold. All those exposures, in step one, may have felt like hard work. They were boring and tedious. At this point, it does not feel like work anymore.
But this baking thing? This feels like fun. You want to do it. You are thinking about it all the time and hours are spent blissfully watching reruns of Cupcake Wars and Cake Boss. You would do this for free. You know it is a passion because it is done for it’s own sake, and does not fall into the categories of distracted pleasure or ego based power.
There is a great line from my other favorite movie, The Waterboy, that illustrates this point. Bobby Boucher is the main character and his mother chastises him for being a waterboy. When she asks him why he does it, he simply says, “Because they needs the water momma and I likes to be the one who gives it to em”
And here is another of my favorite scenes from, The Waterboy. For no other reason except it is funny as hell.
That’s how you know you are now chasing your passion.
Expand: Here you get to watch the rollercoaster take you on an expansive ride toward purpose, legacy and meaning, with you as a co-creating participant.
You don’t find passion, you find an interest. Passion then emerges and when it does, you chase it. In that process of chasing your passion, you begin to create your purpose.
The baking turns into a love of food in general. You are now cooking simple recipes. You then decide to take a few culinary classes. This ignites a dream of becoming a chef.
All along the way your purpose is slowly being created until one day you wake up and realize that you are a “nourisher.” Your primary tool is food, but what you love is feeding people physically and mentally.
And the evolution continues to expand. Who knows where you will go next, perhaps life coaching. Perhaps group self-help meetings over dinner. It does not matter, as long as you follow your passion, your purpose will continue emerging just in front of you.
You have now “found” your passion and are a conscious creator of your purpose, legacy and meaning.