Passionate People: Dan and Joanne Miller

Do you dread Mondays? Are you dragging yourself out of bed to go to work?


You’re not alone. Dan Miller from 48days.com shared a startling statistic: 84% of American Workers say they would like to change jobs in the coming year.

Either we have a lot of upwardly mobile people or there’s just a lot of people unhappy or dissatisfied with their jobs.

That was me a couple of years ago.

I was fortunate. I met Dan Miller and his wife, Joanne in 2011. At the time, I was deep into reading two of Dan’s books, No More Dreaded Mondays and 48 Days to the Work You Love.  I had a job I loved, but I was losing my passion for it day by day.  I was deep into Dan’s books while on a train heading to a speaking gig. I came across this paragraph:

As Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Ask yourself: What is the world hungering for right now? How can I use my unique skills and talents to satisfy that hunger? Don’t rest until you find that answer.

I started filling up spiral bound notebooks with ideas, thoughts, desires, and more. By the end of the train ride back home, I wrote my first book, and have continued to use that paragraph above to bring clarity to my daily life.

dan miller quote

I took Dan’s Coaching with Excellence Workshop (highly recommended if you want to add coaching to your services or become a coach or his Innovate workshop if you are a creative) and it was there that I met Dan and Joanne for the first time.

the millers with karen putz

Dan is known for his 48 Days podcast, community, and coaching services. He specializes in helping people discover and understand their natural skills and abilities and turn those into profit. His newsletter goes out to over 130,000 people and his podcast is among the top five for careers.

When it comes to living with passion, Dan and Joanne are a beautiful example of what it means to enjoy life and live it fully. They have instilled those lessons in their children and grandchildren.

Joanne’s passion is art, and she did not unwrap that passion until long after she was done raising her children. Today, she hosts a weekly art class at The Sanctuary near Nashville and she’s the author of several books, including Creating a Haven of Peace When You’re Feeling Down, Finances are Flat, and Tempers are Rising. She inspires other women in midlife to learn new things and dig in deep to discover their own gifts.

karen and dan miller

I always recommend Dan’s events–I am still connected with people that I met at my first event there. Each event is limited to no more than 50 people, so it’s a wonderful chance to get to know others and build relationships. Plus, you get to learn from just about the whole Miller family as well! Check out Dan’s resources and events here:

48 Days

Find out what Dan Miller has to say about passion in my upcoming book, Unwrapping Your Passion.

 

20 Things I Wish I Knew When I Became a Parent

I’m nearing the end of my parenting journey with my last kid about to graduate from high school. The husband and I are shifting gears and learning what it means to be parents of adult children.

Once a parent, always a parent, but we’ve definitely moved into a whole new season of parenthood.

The other day I was looking through baby albums and wondering how it was possible that the years flew by so quickly. My mother-in-law warned me of this concept when the kids were toddlers. “The time will fly by when the kids get older and before you know it, they’ll be grown and gone.”

She was right.

I blinked.

And poof, the kids became adults.

The other day, I was thinking back on the mistakes, the fumbles, the inexperience–and all the things I wish I knew when I first became a parent. So I sat down to write all the things I know now–and wish I knew at the beginning of the parenting journey.

Here goes–20 things I wish I knew when I became a parent:

You’re wiser than you realize. You are perfectly capable of making decisions that are right for you and your family.

You’re gonna mess up. It’s okay. Sometimes you have to go down the wrong path to discover what the right path is for your family.

Let go of perfection. Aim for perfectly imperfect instead.

Don’t lose your passion–ditch the time-suckers and go play.

Take time for YOU.

Parenthood is a season. Like all seasons, it ebbs and flows. Enjoy the season you’re in.
Parenthood is not a race. Comparison robs your kid of their own journey.

Don’t follow the crowd–just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean it’s right for your child.

When you’re stuck in a rut, do something new. Take action.

Pick your battles carefully. Will this matter ten minutes, ten months, or ten years from now?

You’re a lot tougher than you think. You can bounce back from anything.

Laugh. Laugh some more. Laugh even more.

Responsibilities and independence are gifts. Give them wisely.

Let yourself feel. Kids need to know that parents are beautifully human.

The laundry never ends. As soon as they can load the washer, teach them to do laundry. Ditto the dishwasher.

Take pictures and videos, but make sure you put the camera down to experience the moments, too.

During the tough times, look for the gift in the experience. Sometimes you won’t find it until enough time has passed by.

Learn all you can about what you need to know–lean on people who have wisdom to share.

Listen within. Meditate. Pray. Ask. The answers will come.

When in doubt, love. Love your kid.

Every child is freaking unique. Honor that.

 

Want a dose of passion? Yes, I do! 

The One Question to Guide You

There’s one simple question that will provide the answers you need to many of life’s questions: 

“How do you want to live?”

We only have a short amount of time on the planet, yet we gamble through each day like we’re going to be around forever. 

Create a whole new way to live by honoring your answers. 

Do you dread the years ahead of you because you fear growing older? Let this “Old Lady” show you a whole new way to live:

Outside the Wake

Embrace Your Weirdness

Lori Moreno of Ambassadors VIP posted a question:

If you could go back and tell your young self something, what would it be?


I was pondering this question during a 3:45 a.m. ride to the airport.

My response was simple: Stand out. Embrace your weirdness. Share your gifts.

Stand Out

I grew up hard of hearing. Every single day I struggled in school to appear as “normal” as possible. As the only kid with a hearing aid, I measured myself against people with normal hearing and I couldn’t do the things that they could do (group conversations, music, talk in the dark) with ease. 

As a result, I always felt “less than.”

It wasn’t until I became deaf that I learned to step comfortably into my authentic self. I was no longer afraid to show my hearing aids (yes, I added a second one.) 

In fact, they’re now beautiful pieces of art,


Yeah, I wish my younger self knew that place of authenticity that says, “This is who I am.”

There’s a line in the movie, What a Girl Wants, that says:

“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”

The worse thing you can do is blend in with everyone else. When you do that, you squelch your own passion. You diminish your unique touch in the world.

The world doesn’t need carbon copies. The world needs you. 

Embrace Your Weirdness

We all have habits, quirks, and unusual stuff that we are passionate about. In a world of mass conformity, this might seem…weird. 

What if, instead of trying to stuff your square (or hexagon) self into a round hole, what if you embraced your weirdness instead? 

When you conform to other people’s expectations or judgments of you, you’re swinging like an untethered sail in the wind. What’s more, a sailboat moves forward against the wind. So tether your weirdness and move forward. 

My ultimate favorite shoes are Vibram Five Fingers. I wear them everyday. One morning I showed up at a breakfast meeting with a friend who is a business coach. The shoes clearly made her uncomfortable. 

“Never wear those in public with me again,” she said. 

At first, I felt ashamed. I silently berated myself for not appearing more businesslike in public. 

Fortunately for me, the feeling didn’t last long. Those weird shoes have climbed to a peak in Colorado, perched the edge of a cliff in Nebraska, walked through a waterfall in Oregon, water skied on the Fox River, and endured a triathlon in Naperville. 

Weird has brought me a wonderful life. 

Share Your Gifts

I wish my younger self would have recognized the unique talents, skills, and abilities within me. I would have tapped into them right away instead of putting them off for years. 

You are as unique as your fingerprint. That means there’s no one in the whole wide world who can be you. 

So stop hiding your talent. Don’t let fear cloud your growth. If you’ve become dull and stagnant from repetitive routine–shake things up. Dust off your creativity. Approach life with a whole new wonder and a beginner’s mind. Do the stuff that your younger self is screaming for. 

Become a kid again

The Passion Book

UYP Dan Miller Quote

Psssst…

I’ve got a new book out.

You’ll like this one. It’s about…passion.

How to unwrap your passion and create the life you truly want.

I spent the last several years asking a lot of people about passion. I took all the lessons I learned and put them in this book. It was a lot of FUN to write this one, because when you interview passionate people about the stuff that lights them up, drives them forward, or allows them to savor life–you get all kinds of really cool answers and life lessons.

UYP Dara Torres Quote

The book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million or your favorite local bookstore (just ask, they can order if they haven’t already!).

Your passion matters.

UYP Joel Boggess Quote

Here’s what my own editor, Tyler Tichelaar says about Unwrapping Your Passion:

In the Foreword to Karen Putz’s new book Unwrapping Your Passion, bestselling authors and self-help gurus Debra Poneman and Janet Attwood, state about Karen, “How amazing is that woman?” I have to agree. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone as passionate as Karen about her own passions as well as helping others discover theirs. In addition, she’s deaf but doesn’t let that get in her way, and one of her biggest passions is barefoot water skiing, a sport she took back up at age forty-four. Now she water skis across the United States year-round, pursuing her passion.

“What’s your passion?” is the question Karen Putz challenges her readers with. She believes we all have a passion, and once we find it, we can enjoy our lives like never before. Sometimes we just need a little inspiration and help in discovering it, which is why Karen has written this book. In fact, she needed a little of that herself when she got back into barefoot water skiing. At forty-four, she thought she was too old until she met a sixty-six-year-old woman who had started barefoot water skiing at age fifty-three. Both women are proof it is never too late to find your passion.

In writing this book, Karen set out to determine how people find their passions and what keeps them passionate. She interviewed 200 people, and she tells many of their stories, revealing their secrets and inspirations. Then she challenges readers with exercises to help discover the passion within themselves.

The various chapters in Unwrapping Your Passion look at different ways to find your passion and also ways to overcome obstacles that present themselves in your pursuit of it. One way Karen strongly advocates for finding your passion lies in the power of meditation. One of the people she mentions in the book, Patti, taught her, “passion doesn’t just have to be the fire in the belly—passion is also the quiet nudging of the heart. We just have to listen.” Karen knows that from experience. It was listening to a quiet voice that caused her to write her first book. She had never written a book before, which was challenge enough, but that quiet voice was telling her to go introduce herself to a water skier she had never met and write his story. It seemed like an impossible situation, but she did it, and now she has several books under her belt.

One obstacle to pursuing one’s passion is fear. Too often we repress what we want because of our fears, whether it’s fear of success, fear people will reject us if we pursue our passion, or fear of physical harm. Karen, herself, dealt with the fear of physical harm. She wanted to barefoot water ski, but she was also deathly afraid of alligators. She even had nightmares about them, which made her not want to venture out on lakes. But she knew if she was going to pursue her passion, she would have to overcome that fear. With the help of a qualified friend, she got up close and personal with an alligator, actually touching it, discovering what beautiful and magnificent creatures alligators are, and then her fear dissolved.

I can’t discuss all the topics Karen covers in this book but others include how to avoid toxic people who will try to suck your passion out of you, and how to deal with stress that will debilitate you from pursuing your passion. She also quotes and interviews many authors who know a lot about passion. One of them, Terry Hadaway, author of Live Your Why, offers great advice when he says that we often have the question all wrong. Instead of asking “What do you want to be?” we should be asking, “How do you want to live?”

Nor is it always easy to be a cheerleader for others when they want to follow their passions. Karen discovered that hard truth when her daughter wanted to drop out of college to pursue an acting career. Karen was terrified for her daughter and tried to convince her to stay in school until her daughter called her on the situation, saying, “How can you tell others to follow their passions when you can’t even let your own daughter do that?” Karen knew her daughter was right. Today, her daughter is on Broadway.

Finally, if you think it’s too late or you don’t think you’re good enough to succeed at what you’re passionate about, take this bit of advice from Karen, “There’s a learning curve when you are doing something that’s totally new to you. Every expert on earth has started out as a beginner. I often tell people, ‘Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s ten-year process.’” I love this advice and would add that in ten years, if you don’t pursue your passion, you won’t get anywhere you want to be, so begin, no matter how small or hard that beginning is.

As someone who has spent his life pursuing his passion for writing, even making decisions some people told him were mistakes, and knowing that it has all turned out well regardless, I guarantee that Unwrapping Your Passion will leave you feeling reinvigorated and passionate about the endless possibilities that lie before you. Karen will help you find your passion, and once you do, the sky’s the limit.

 

Grab your copy at your local bookstore or online: Unwrapping Your Passion