Blog | Find Happiness In Your Life And Career

Thoughts, Insights and More! Scott shares his personal experiences on how to find true happiness and discover the "authentic you". 

Does Being Authentic Make You Vulnerable?

Hello all - I first posted this in September of 2011.  I think it deserves revisiting.  

Its an interesting question to be sure.  Recently I had a conversation with a friend who asked "Scott.... when you become authentic, don't you open yourself up for being taken advantage of?  Don't you make yourself more vulnerable?" 

I thought for a minute before answering.  I remembered the many times in my life that I "opened myself up."  I remembered the times I chose to say "Gee, I don't know the answer to that," or "You know, I just don't feel I can do what you are asking me to do" and the many other times I chose to stop pretending that I had all the answers or would do anything I was asked if it made the person asking like me in the process.  

After some thought I answered my friends question this way... "Well, let's think about that.... how would it feel to have the weight of having to be the expert, having to have all the answers, having to live up to an expectation that you have created for yourself lifted from your shoulders?  How would it feel to allow yourself to just be you for once, regardless of what others felt?  How would it feel to follow your inner voice, your inner flame, your inner spirit each and every day for the rest of your life?

My friend thought for a moment and replied, "Scott, that would be wonderful, that's how I feel when I am communicating with the people I love the most - my kids, my wife, my Mom and Dad......"

Friends, my point is simple:  we are at our best when we follow our inner voice and live our lives in a truly authentic way.  Being authentic is the first of three steps I outline in my book, Live Your Passion.  It is a very empowering way to live, helping us to become free from the pressures we often unknowingly place on ourselves.

Until next time, be well......

~ Scott

Please help if you can.

Its been a while since I've posted.  Life is busy, priorities shift.... well, you know how it goes.  But tonight I feel compelled to reach out to those of you who visit my blog with a simple request - Please don't forget those suffering in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.   

There are so many stories, we read them, we see them on the news.  Every one is heart wrenching.  So please, if you can, for a moment think about how lucky you are and how much you have!  Consider the fact that any one of the sad stories you see could be you.  Gather up all the PASSION that I know is in your heart, and click on the link below.  There you will find additional links to places you can donate and additional ways you can help.

Good bye to a passionate pioneer

Hello friends, 

Earlier today learned that Kate Kelly, co-author of the book "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid?" passed away after losing her fight with cancer.  She not only wrote about living as an adult with ADD, but she lived it, too. 

Kate was an inspiration and source of useful information to many of us who live each day with that magical blessing "ADD!"

Exploring Life's Options

I identify the "principle of choice" as the important gift that each of has, and can exercise to make positive changes in our lives.  In this context, I am referring to choice as “your ability to make decisions by looking at life as a series of individual choices leading you in a specific direction.”  The word direction is an important consideration.  In Live Your Passion, I use the “road to happiness” as a metaphor; I make the point that discovering your authentic self is an important first step and a way to avoid a turn onto “victim lane.”  The road to happiness also represents a journey in a direction – the direction towards happiness.

So you'll need to start by identifying what in your life needs to change.  If you are unclear, the best way to do this is to take an inventory - develop a clear picture of your values and beliefs, strengths and weaknesses, likes, dislikes, and what you would like your life to "be about," often referred to as your personal mission (if this all seems daunting, there are a number of exercises in Live Your Passion that guide you through this process).  Using this new insight ask yourself: “In what area of my life would I like to see change happen first?”   Or, said another way, where are you experiencing the most “pain”?   The answer to this question will help you get a clearer picture of where to begin.   

While all of this is generally easy for people to understand intellectually, I often wonder why it is so difficult for so many to make good choices and pick the best options in life.  Perhaps the answer, in part, is that people don’t always recognize that they have so much control over their outcomes.  They often let life happen to them rather than make it happen for them.  If life is 100% choice, we as individuals have enormous power over our lives and circumstances.  Think about it – at one extreme, we even hold the power to choose to live or not to live.  While it’s true that most of us don’t see the alternative to life as a realistic (or desirable) choice, it is our choice none-the-less.  Looking at life and choice from that perspective is healthy and will serve as a very good starting place for most people.

The difference between good choices and bad choices is to a large extent subjective.  What is “good” for you may not be “good” for me or another person and so on.  Deciding what’s good for you is a subjective decision based on your life circumstances and the work you have done earlier (clarifying your values, beliefs, strengths and so on).  So think carefully and take the necessary time as you explore life's many options!

Thanks for reading.  Until next time - be well, and live your passion!

Scott

Can money buy Passion?

Generally I try to post weekly, on Saturday or Sunday.  But since this has been on my mind lately, I just thought I'd throw it out there in the form of a mid-week post..... albeit a short one, and in the form of a question.

So here's the question for you to contemplate:

Who is richer, the man (woman) with a million bucks in the bank and a long line of "friends" he barely knows or the man (woman) with an empty wallet and just one friend who's there through thick and thin?

My question may seem obvious, but give the meaning some thought.... and realize that there is no right or wrong answer, just your answer.  It just might cause you to think.

Now consider these questions:
How many "friends" do you have?
How much money is enough?
How do you define "poor," "rich?"

In my view, we should all be so blessed as to have one friend and an empty wallet!

Until next time - be well and live with passion!

Scott

Adversity - It really can sow the seeds of passion!

It was probably 20 years ago when I heard the human behavior expert and motivational speaker, Denis Waitley, say "adversity carries with it the seeds of greatness."  Interesting, I thought.  But wasn't really convinced.  Today, I'm convinced!  And I'm going to share my reasons with you. 

First, adversity forces us to think.  That's right - think.  So often we travel through life on auto pilot, not thinking much at all.  We become so accustomed to doing the same things day in and day out that we often don't take the time to reflect and consider deeply what we want to be, do and achieve in our life.  Adversity, by its very definition, forces us to stop, and think about what we are up against and how we will react (or better yet, respond) to it.  Adversity forces us to make a choice, and in doing so, consider our options.  Often when doing this we make a choice that sets us up for something better.  

Next, I believe that adversity teaches us things about ourselves and about life.  Think about it - when things are going well, we are less inclined to ask "why," or to ask "what can I learn from this?"   

The adversities I have faced life have all - without exception - proven to be tremendous learning experiences.  I have come to embrace a philosophy that welcomes difficult situations, uncertainty and change.  While these things certainly aren't comfortable while they are happening, I have learned that each carries with it a lesson.  Lessons are what I have come to see as steps in my own personal development, my own journey on my road to happiness.  And that's the place where I find, and live my passions in life.

In the end, we all must live our lives in the best way we know how.  My suggestion to everyone is to try to begin to see the set-backs, the struggles, the "adversities" life presents you with as opportunities to learn, grow and sow the seeds of what may grow into a new found passion in your life! 

Until next time - Be Well!

Scott

7 Characteristics of Passionate People

While there's nothing particularly scientific about this list, I have found that among the people I have interviewed, and those I know who are living their passions every day,  there are some interesting characteristics that they have in common.  The 7 listed below represent those that I feel most directly relate to the philosophy of this blog and my book, Live Your Passion:

1. They have a deep sense of purpose and are often selfless in their actions:
This is perhaps the hallmark of all the passionate people I have interviewed and know.  Their clear sense of purpose in life seems to lead to their attitudes of gratitude, kindness, compassion and selflessness.  This spirit of "service to others" is a characteristic that, I believe, makes passionate people unique.   

2. They are authentic and real:
Passionate people know themselves.  They have a clear sense of their values and beliefs, and they live by them.  They also know their strengths and their weaknesses, and focus on those things they are good at and enjoy. 

3. They accept themselves as imperfect and growing:
Passionate people see themselves as growing and changing, always imperfect.  Ironically, this imperfection is viewed as "perfection," because it allows them to change and grow.  Passionate people allow themselves to be vulnerable, knowing that vulnerability is part of being alive - it's part of the human experience - denying it leads to a false sense of self. 

4. They see life as a series of choices and options:
Passionate people see the big picture that life has to offer.  They see many choices and are always exploring what options life offers.  They think outside the box in creative and innovative ways.  They welcome change as part of the process of finding and living new passions.

5. They take action to live their passions every day:
The passionate people I have interviewed see life as a precious thing, knowing that it could be taken away anytime.  They have a sense of urgency to their day.  They tend to focus on the most important things in their lives, letting go of what they see as trivial - such as the pressures created by society, media, and others to act or be a certain way.  They plan and set goals but are flexible in their thinking.  They do not lock themselves into achieving goals that are no longer consistent with their values, beliefs and purpose in life. 

6. They are enthusiastic about the success of others:
One of the most impressive things about the passionate people I know is that they have a deep sense of caring and compassion for others.  That often shows itself in a sense of enthusiasm about the success of others.  They sincerely want others to be happy and experience good things in life.

7. They take responsibility for their lives but are not afraid to ask for support:
Passionate people recognize that they are in the driver's seat as they travel on their journey of life.  They take full responsibility for their decisions (choices, #3 on the list) but when they need additional information, a new skills, or perhaps mentoring from an expert, they quickly seek it out.

Let me know your thoughts on this.... as I said earlier, this is my, unscientific list, based on my philosophy and my many interviews with some very passionate (and cool) people.  Also - I am interested in hearing your story or those of others you feel are living their passions in a big way! 

Until next time, be well and live your passion!

Scott

Finding your passion can be life changing!

The idea of living a life of passion is certainly not new. Many of us do live a life full of passion, dedicated to causes we believe in. For some of us it’s our career, our job. For others it’s that hobby we carve out time for each week that brings us joy and excitement. For others it may be a special cause, a community organization or a church. Passion does not stem exclusively from one area; it can be different for each of us.

This blog, along with my book Live Your Passion, was born as a result of a sad but true reality; many people are feeling that something is missing in their life, something that brings them a sense of passion and happiness.  Particularly during these difficult, often uncertain times where each day we hear about the financial crisis our country is in and the growing unemployment rates. Many find themselves asking “am I safe, what will my future look like?” These are stressful times for most. Finding a sense of passion in our lives is at the least a welcomed distraction, and at its best, a life changing experience!

What Would it Feel Like....?

Passion lives inside each of us. For some, life's pain has masked it. For others, fear has caused avoidance or denial.  If either of these sound familiar, ask yourself this:

"What would it feel like to live my life as though every single thing I did... every decision I made.... every thought I had led me to happiness and love?

The answer to this questions is that you would feel like you had been given the gift of a new life.

Now ask yourself.... why have I waited so long?

Service to others: at the core of Passion

One of my core beliefs, and part of the Live Your Passion process, is the understanding that passion often comes when we shift our focus from ourselves, and our own pain and suffering to helping others. Service to others comes from our "authentic self," where love, kindness and compassion live.

Today is Memorial Day in the United States.... let's remember all those "authentic" men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to others - service to our country!

Always appreciated, never forgotten!

Until next time - be well,

~ Scott

Back and ready to blog!

Hello friends -

If you have passed through this site over the past several months, no doubt you have noticed that I have been missing-in-action.  And I have missed my time at the keyboard, to be sure.  

My plan is to start again this weekend and continue into the future offering a weekly dose of positive thoughts and ideas that can help you identify and start living a more passionate, happy life.

All for now - be sure to check back........

~ Scott

Life is choice, but change is strange...

Life is Choice

Last week I talked about the first part of the Live Your Passion process - "Discovering the Authentic You", a prerequisite to actually feeling and living your passion!  The second part of the process is called “Exploring Life’s Options” and it involves the principle of choice.  In this context, I am referring to choice as your ability to make decisions by looking at life as a series of individual choices leading you in a specific direction.  The word “direction” is important to keep in mind.  I use the “road to happiness” as a metaphor; In the book I made the point that discovering the authentic you is an important first step and a way to avoid a turn onto “victim lane.”  When you are making good choices and going in the direction that is right for you, then you will be on the road to happiness. 

Let’s look at choice by identifying what in your life needs to change.  If you have read Live Your Passion, or follow my blog posts, you now have a better understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, values and personal mission.  Using this new insight, ask yourself the following: “In what area of my life would I like to see change happen first?”  If you are not sure, ask yourself this: “Where am I experiencing the most “pain”?   The answer to one or both of these questions will help you get a clearer picture of where to begin.  

While all of this is easy for most people to understand intellectually, I often wonder why it is so hard for many of us to make good choices and pick the best options in life.  Perhaps the answer, in part, is that people don’t always recognize they have so much control over their happiness.  They often let life happen to them rather than make life happen for themselves. 

If life is so much about choice, we as individuals have enormous power over our lives and circumstances.  Think about it — at one extreme, we even hold the power to choose to live or not to live.  While it’s true that most of us don’t see the alternative to life as a realistic (or desirable) choice, it is our choice nonetheless.  Looking at life and choice from this absolute perspective is healthy and serves as a good starting place for most people contemplating change.

The difference between good choices and bad choices is to a large extent subjective.  What is “good” for you may not be “good” for me or another person and so on.  Deciding what’s good for you is based on your life circumstances at that moment and your own judgment.

One of the reasons that the Live Your Passion process is so effective is that it asks you to first look closely at yourself to get a clear picture of who you are and what you want out of life. This serves as a strong foundation for making choices consistent with your strengths, values and the mission you have defined for yourself.  When approaching life from this perspective, you begin to look at life’s options differently.  This shift may feel strange at first because it is not necessarily the way you have approached decision making in the past.  It may also feel strange, perhaps even uncomfortable, if there are people in your life who do not understand, or who may disagree with — or feel threatened by — your new direction.  Your positive change may feel uncomfortable for others as you begin to approach life differently. 

Change is Strange

Let’s consider Jane as an example.  After working with the Live Your Passion process, Jane has a better understanding of the things she values most. She recognizes that education is an important value and it is time for her to take action. She starts taking night classes to work toward a degree in marketing, something Jane has discovered she has an aptitude for. As Jane begins the process, she realizes some of her old friends do not share her value of education; in fact, some have expressed that school is a waste of time and money.  As she makes new choices about how she spends her time (attending night school and studying), she finds that some of her old friends are not as supportive as she had hoped and begin treating her differently.  Jane starts to realize the importance of surrounding herself with people who support her choices, which means not spending time with some old friends.  For Jane, this feels different.  For Jane, “change is strange.” 

If you wish to make positive change, you must let go of negative forces that might pull you in the opposite direction.  Change, even good change, really can feel strange!

I hope this week's blog entry helps you begin thinking about the things in life that may require chang if you are to free yourself from some past obstacles and move in a new direction.  The book, Live Your Passion is full of exercises and stories that can help you as you travel on your own road to happiness.

Thanks for reading, until next time......

Be well!

Scott

Does Being Authentic Make You Vulnerable?

It's an interesting question to be sure.  Recently I had a conversation with a friend who asked "Scott.... when you become authentic, don't you open yourself up for being taken advantage of?  Don't you make yourself more vulnerable?" 

I thought for a minute before answering.  I remembered the many times in my life that I "opened myself up."  I remembered the times I chose to say "Gee, I don't know the answer to that," or "you know, I just don't feel I can do what you are asking me to do" and the many other times I chose to stop pretending that I had all the answers or would do anything I was asked if it made the person asking like me in the process.  

After some thought I answered my friend's question this way... "Well, let's think about that......how would you feel if you had the weight of having to be the expert, having to have all the answers, having to live up to expectations that you have created for yourself lifted from your shoulders?  How would it feel to allow yourself to just be yourself for once, regardless of what others felt?  How would it feel to follow your inner voice, your inner flame, your inner spirit each and every day for the rest of your life?

My friend thought for a moment and replied, "Scott, that would be wonderful, that's how I feel when I am communicating with the people I love the most, my kids, my wife, my Mom and Dad......"

Friends, my point is simple:  We are at our best when we follow our inner voice and live our lives in a truly authentic way.  Being authentic is the first of three steps I outline in my book, Live Your Passion.  It is a very empowering way to live, helping us to become free from the pressures we often unknowingly place on ourselves.

Until next time, be well......

~ Scott

A Passion for Bicycling and a Passion for Life!

Many of the people I have interviewed about living lives of passion have something in common – they discovered their passion when they decided to stop suffering, take control of their life and make changes.  Susan Donnelley’s story fits that description.

It first caught my attention when I was reading a monthly edition of Bicycling Magazine and came across a story about people who had lost 100 lbs. or more through bicycling.  As I read on, I became convinced that Susan was someone I needed to interview for my book, Live Your Passion. 

Susan tells the story of her weight loss journey this way:

“I have lived most of my adult life as a morbidly obese person.  At an annual check up with my primary care physician she suggested that I would be a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery.  At that time, I was 5’4”, 286 pounds and was taking medication for high blood pressure and depression.  I suffered from migraines and joint pain.

For many years, my weight stood in the way of my husband and I being able to enjoy things together.  Tom has always been pretty active…he skiis, hikes, bikes, swims etc…Today, we enjoy doing many things together…we have a shared passion for cycling.  Last year, Tom and I partnered to train a team (of non-cyclists) to ride in the MS 150, a two-day, one hundred an fifty mile bike ride to raise money for the MS Society.  We will do it again this year.  It’s been rewarding to share our passion for cycling with others.

As I have always struggled with my weight, I had once before taken up cycling When I initially began to ride, I noticed that the sport seemed ageless…by that I mean, I’ve encountered cyclists who are riding well into their late 70’s and 80’s as a way to stay healthy.  I know I’ve found the rite sport. 

As I was part of a hospital Weight Management program and still very overweight when I started to ride…I rode a hybrid bike…on or off road…very wide tires and a wide saddle, with upright handlebars…I rode on groomed bicycle trails…as I lost weight over time, my bike felt very heavy…after a 100 pound weight loss (through The Weight Management Program and riding) as a gift to myself, I purchased a road bike and began to road ride.”  Susan is modest about her accomplishment, but it certainly is no minor feat!   Having lost well over 100lbs. is something few can boast - having done it on two wheels is even more impressive. 

As I interviewed Susan Donnelley it became clear to me just how passionate this woman really is.  She related to me that in 2000 her sister was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Her sister had two daughters.  After Susan’s sister’s death, Susan and her husband became legal guardians to one of the children who came to live in their home.  The child was struggling and as a result Susan left her job to stay at home full time to spend more time with her and tend to her needs.  I recall Susan saying “that decision, while you would think it was difficult, was not.  Family is all that matters.  My niece was reunited with her Dad about a year after I left my career.”  I went on to ask Susan what happened next - “I was jobless.  But soon after that I was contacted by a member of my church who asked me if I would be interested in becoming a caregiver for a woman who lived locally and had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  I was glad to be able to serve her and her family during her illness.  I came to love her dearly and remain in touch with her husband today.” 

The story of Susan Donnelley’s weight loss through her passion of bicycling is the headline.  Her story, however, is so much more than that.  It is one many of us can relate to – becoming involved with the challenges of life to such a degree that we forget ourselves, our own health and happiness.  We wake up one day perhaps 100lbs. overweight, possibly deeply in debt, maybe without the family we once had or a host of other “life happens” situations.  The moral to Susan’s story is that each of us has the inner power to make choices and to change our life for the better.  Susan’s story is a great story of kindness – to others and to self!

Thanks, Susan, for sharing your story!  I hope it inspires readers to decide to get up, go outside and participate in life!

More stories like this can be found at www.liveyourpassion.org or by reading Live Your Passion, available on Amazon.   

Until next time, be well!

Scott