Life’s a Gift, Unwrap the Message

The email came out of the blue.

“I wanted to let you know that we are using quotes and messages from your book in our Winter Play on December 21st to fit the theme ‘Life’s a gift, unwrap the message. I know you live out in Chicago, but wanted to share the invitation with you, just in case you were able to attend. If you can’t attend, maybe you could VP with us in the near future just so that the students can put a face to your amazing work. Lastly, we wanted to thank you for the courage it took for you to write this book (Unwrapping Your Passion) and for sharing it with us. We were inspired!”

The email came from Heather Hapke, a transition teacher at the Rocky Mountain Deaf School. Heather came to a book signing for Unwrapping Your Passion at the Barnes & Noble in Golden, Colorado back in September.  She shared bits and pieces from the book with her students.

December 21. It was so close to Christmas. It would be crazy to go…

But…I’m a big believer in synchronicity. I believe things happen for a reason. It’s a lesson I learned from the many mentors I learned from when I wrote Unwrapping Your Passion.  Opportunities show up in our life and when they are meant to be, they fall into place.

So I reached out to Southwest Airlines and explained the opportunity. Go, they said. We’ll make it happen for you. 

It was a beautiful morning when we arrived at Midway to board our flight. My oldest son David was flying from Washington D.C. and meeting us out there. At the last minute, the hubby had to stay home–he was recovering from surgery and still not quite steady enough on his feet to attend.

The Rocky Mountain Deaf School was the brainchild of Cliff Moers, the Director of the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The school began in 1997 with just 11 students. The current school was built in 2014 and today, it is home to nearly 70 students, providing instruction in American Sign Language and English.

Our first stop was in the high school to meet up with Heather and talk to the students about #Passion. The students eagerly gave us a tour of the building and it was easy to see that they took a lot of pride in their school. Every inch of the space was designed specifically for deaf students, by a deaf architect working with a design firm. For example, the floor in a social area is designed so that students can stomp their feet to get the attention of another student, even from a distance. The classrooms are arranged in a semi-circle so that students can communicate easily. The hallways are wide and open–so that signs can be seen from several areas.

Rocky Mountain Deaf School is not a residential school–students are bused to and from home each day. All of the staff are fluent in American Sign Language and the majority of staff are deaf.

The play featured students from preschool to fifth grade. My co-worker from Hands & Voices, Jeannene, introduced me to a young girl who played a Lion. As I watched the student on stage, she confidently advocated to have one of the lights moved as it was blinding her and her classmates during their performance. The ability to advocate for oneself is a coveted skill and this student owned it.


Afterwards, I signed a few books and donated the rest to RMDS to use as a fundraiser. The next day, we took a tour of Flagstaff mountain before heading home to celebrate Christmas.


A New Course on Passion at Udemy

The difference between an ordinary life and an extraordinary one is:


Passion is an energy like no other. Once you unwrap passion and implement new habits–life takes on a whole new dimension.  I study and live this on a daily basis. Through the ups and downs, passion is fuel.

In the last several years, I’ve talked to over 200 people about passion and learned from the experts. I wrote a book about everything I learned about passion: Unwrapping Your Passion. I’ve given the Passion Test to hundreds of people and I never fail to be amazed at the results–people ARE making a difference in their lives by choosing to live passionately. We have a kinder, happier world when people are engaged in practices that bring joy.

And now YOU have the opportunity to take a course that will give you the tools to unwrap your passion at ANY age.

And I really mean ANY age. Passion is a state of mind–it’s an energy you can tap into. Learn how you can tap into yours:

Udemy Course: Unwrapping Your Passion at ANY Age

When you follow Karen Putz’s formula for Unwrapping Your Passions,

the gift you’ll find inside right next to your passions will be deep, true, and lasting happiness. 

Marci Shimoff, NY Times Bestselling Author of Happy for No Reason

Are You Too Old to Do What You Love to Do?

“I’m too old.”

In my work as a Passion Mentor, I often hear this excuse as a reason for not living a passionate life. 

I get it.

At the age of 44, I felt like I was too old to enjoy the sport I once was so passionate about as a teen. The day before my 44th birthday, I attempted to barefoot water ski with my oldest son driving the boat. 

I couldn’t do it. 

I’m too old, I thought. 

I was lucky. Back in 2009, I saw 66-year-old Judy Myers barefoot water skiing on the TODAY Show. She completely reframed my mindset. Suddenly I wasn’t too old–I had 22 years left to catch up to her! Thanks to Judy, I got back on the water and found my joy again.

In the last seven years, I’ve been studying this thing we call “passion” and learning from others. I spoke about this at the 140 Conference in Los Angeles: Unwrapping Your Passion at Any Age

Before I went on stage, Howard Rosenman spoke. You might not recognize his name, but you probably have seen the movies he’s produced: Father of the Bride, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Gross Anatomy.

Howard wanted to be a movie producer when he was a young child but he took a detour by going to medical school to become a doctor instead. In the middle of an operation, Howard decided to listen to his calling for the arts. That decision lead to a career in Hollywood. “Making movies and storytelling, that’s my passion,” Howard said.

And passion, Howard says, is something that you love so much that you will go through any obstacles to do it. (You can read more about Howard at my Growing Bolder blog.)

If you find yourself thinking that it’s too late to live a passionate life, I want you to take ten minutes to watch a video that can change your life. In ten short minutes of this captioned video, you’ll learn how you can unwrap YOUR passion at any age: 

No, You’re Not Too Old

Why Passion Matters

“I think I’m having a mid-life crisis,” my friend said. “I need something new, something different.”

My friend has worked the same job since college. He liked his job well enough; he had been doing it so long that he could go through all the motions blindfolded. The job provided well for his family. 

I understood his yearning for something different in life. I saw it in myself six years ago. Life was good, but it had become ho-hum. I was humming along. 

The “something” that was missing was passion. 

Passion is energy. When you are on a passionate path in life, that energy is invigorating. Everyone around you will feel it. 

The yearning that pops up is a sign that you’re longing for something “more” in your life. Unfortunately for many, the longing for more is often confused with material things. Once you acquire the material thing and the newness wears off, you’re still left with the yearning for more. 

What we truly want is something even deeper: joy, bliss, and passion. 

We yearn to do things that matter. To accomplish something epic. To serve others. To make a difference. To leave our mark. To matter. To passionately live life so fully that there is no room for complaint. 

“Impossible,” says another friend. “That’s a pipe dream.”

Is it really? Then perhaps you have to take a different look at your perspectives, your thoughts, and your routines. You can invite passion into your life by recognizing your joy. Recognizing what increases your energy instead of what sucks the marrow out of your soul. 

Passion is the fuel that will push you above and beyond, a coach once told me. 

Passion matters. Passion is the spark that ignites–and it can make the difference between a ho-hum life and a joyful one. 

We Need More Passion in this World


I’m about to wrap up another book about PASSION.

“Passion is over-used,” a friend of mine told me.

Are you kidding me?

When I look around, I see people just going through the motions throughout their day. The routine of stress and mediocrity is etched on the faces of people shopping at the local food store. There’s the usual pattern: the dread of Monday, the perk of aliveness on Wednesday, the celebration of Friday.

And then there’s the weekend: when they truly live it up or kick back and relax.

What if we turned that whole thing into a different paradigm?

What if you woke up each day in gratefulness–beginning with the quiet celebration of breath and the reflection of all that is good.

What if you looked forward to the unfolding of each day and time passed by so fast because you were deep into what you love to do.

What if you were surrounded by people who cheer you on and love you just as you are–yet still push you to be the best you can be.

What if you were vibrating at an energy level so high that others wonder how in the world you can do all that you do.

Yes, that’s what passion will do for you.

When you are lined up with your passion, your purpose, and your quest for serving others–that’s when life becomes bliss. You’re part of something that’s bigger than you, something that stretches you beyond anything you’ve ever imagined, and something that will leave a legacy long after your feet have left this earth.

We need more passion in this world. We need you to wake up with eager anticipation. We need you to share your unique gifts, talents, skills, and abilities with others.

You were not meant to live a ho-hum life. You were meant to to serve, to love, to enjoy, to feel, to imagine, to cry, to celebrate…

You were not meant to walk through this life numb to each day and living for a day in the future.

You were meant to passionately live NOW.

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What Are You Willing to Do to Create the Life You Want?

“I want to write a book.”

“I want to start my own business.”

“I want to be an actor.”

“I want to move to California.”

“I want to retire.”

“I want to…”

What’s on your “Someday List?”

You know the one…the one that has all the things you’re putting off for some day in the future. 

I’m a wonderful procrastinator. My father used to say, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” (Yes, really.) He would say it jokingly, but I took his words to heart. 

I had always wanted to write books from the time that I wrote my first story as a kid. I started writing articles and blog posts for no pay. I wrote for the pure pleasure of creating stories and honing the craft. 

My first paid gig was for an online review site. I earned five figures from that site…over a couple of years. 

I continued to write for several blog sites and occasionally my articles were syndicated in several newspapers. Chicago Tribune offered me a weekly column in the local section, with no pay. I said yes. It was fun to see my articles in print. Later, I became a paid writer. This lead to other paid gigs, like writing for Ricky Martin’s parenting website. 

So this leads to the question, what do you love so much you’d do it for free?  This is one of the clues to your passions. 

Then the second question becomes, what are you willing to do to create the life you want? 

I wanted to write books. 


There’s a line in Billy Joel’s song, James:

“When will you write your masterpiece?”

I finally started writing. I got up at five a.m. and hit the keyboard each morning. I wrote after the kids went to bed. I wrote in between selling stuff for my sales job. 

One book. Then two. Then ten. And still writing the next one. 

There are three things you need to create the life you want:




Get clear on the life you want, commit to what needs to be done, then take action. 

What are you willing to do to create the life you want? 

Passion Quotes to Inspire You


Way back in high school, a wonderful teacher took me out for lunch and gave me a blank writing journal as a gift. This special teacher saw my gift long before I recognized it in myself.

Today, that journal is filled with poems and inspiring quotes. Whenever I need a boost, I open the journal to random pages and I find inspiration once again..

Like Oprah Winfrey says, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

Here are some quotes to stir the passion within you and lift your energy.

People should love their work, rather than work themselves to death. Every one of you has a gift–use it to empower others.

~Christine Amanda Rosehart

To love what you do and feel that it matters–how could anything be more fun? 

~Katherine Graham

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. 

~Carl Jung

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.

~Charles Spurgeon

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, compassion, some humor, and some style.

~Maya Angelou

There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. 

~Nelson Mandela

answers you seek quote

I would rather die of passion than boredom.

~Vincent Van Gogh

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.

~Ferdinand Foch

The need for devotion to something outside ourselves is even more profound than the need for companionship. If we are not to go to pieces or wither away, we must have some purpose in life; for no man can live for himself alone.

~Ross Parmenter


Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.

~Jon Bon Jovi

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

~Howard Thurman


I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got. 

~Walter Cronkite

You can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.

~Sheila Graham

If you don’t love something, then don’t do it. 

~Ray Bradbury

Invite Passion Into Your Life

Five years ago, I got lucky. I saw a sassy 66-year-old woman on the TODAY Show doing the very thing I was so freakingly passionate about as a teenager. I had stopped barefoot water skiing a few years after becoming deaf from a fall while footin’–then at 44, I figured I was too old to ever do it again. I met Judy Myers in Florida, put my feet back on the water, and re-discovered my passion again.

Karen Putz-19

I learned a lot about passion in the last five years. Now I’m working on sharing those lessons with others. When you do what you’re passionate about, your life takes on a whole new dimension. Everyone around you benefits too. Passion is energy. You’ve gotta choose it. Most of the time, we put it off, ignore it, or suppress it. As a result, we give off less than optimal energy. This leads to a sad, grumpy world.

Use your gifts. Use your abilities. There is no one in this whole wide world as unique as you. Not happy? Grab a brand new pen and create a new story for your life. Because if you don’t, you’ll end up with the exact same life five years from now. If you don’t like it now, you won’t like it later, either.

Passion–choose to invite it in your life.

If you need help with this, contact me at

Don’t Put Off Living By Waiting for Perfection

growing bolder with passion

All too often, I find that the quest for perfection often gets in the way of enjoying life. People are waiting for all the ducks to be lined up, the “i” to be dotted and the “t” to be crossed, and the perfect time to arrive–before they start living what they really want.

When I decided to take up barefoot water skiing after a 20+ year absence, I was quite overweight and very out of shape. I wanted to put it off and get in shape before heading down to Florida.

I’m glad I didn’t. I would still be waiting today if I waited for everything to be perfect before getting back on the water.

Because I’m still carrying extra pounds and lumpy in all the wrong places.

Perfection is the killer of dreams. Waiting for everything or anything to be perfect means that the world never gets to see your gifts. They never get to see the beautiful, imperfectly perfect human being that you are.



I left a mistake in one of my books after publishing it. I could have easily taken it down and fixed the typo.

But I left it in there.

I often give this book as a gift or hand it out at workshops. It’s a simple writing journal with inspirational quotes about passion. The book is a reminder to keep our focus on our joy–to do things in life that matter and to live with gratitude.

The typo in there is a wonderful reminder to celebrate life in all it’s glorious imperfections.

So that thing you’re putting off until everything is perfect…

Quit waiting.


Break Through Your Limits by Walking on Fire

tony robbins on stage

One of the things on my Bucket List (henceforth known as the Dream List, as a Tony Robbins graduate told me) was to experience a workshop by Tony Robbins. A few years ago, I met Mina Shah, one of Tony’s top trainers and I came close to signing up, but I felt the time wasn’t right.

This year, the opportunity came up and everything fell in place for me to attend the Unleashing the Power Within workshop in Schaumburg.

I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about doing the firewalk that Tony Robbins offers at the end of the first day. In the days leading up to the workshop, I wavered back and forth between thoughts like, “What if I burn my feet,” to “I’m scared,” to “Oh come on, millions of people have walked on fire.”

At one a.m., over 7,000 of us trudged out to the parking lot in complete darkness. Only the lights from the hotel rooms illuminated from above. Just before it was my turn to walk, the crew spread a fresh layer of glowing embers.

Oh crap.

The scared feeling escalated just a tad.

But heck, everyone before me was walking through the hot stuff and smiling on the other side. Surely I could, too.

And I did.

I was blown away at how easy it was once I had the courage to put the first foot forward. All that followed was one foot after another until the crew stopped me and sprayed my feet.

I was shocked to discover how easy it was. All the fears, all the wondering, all the limiting thoughts were for…nothing. Why did I waste all that time on things that turned out to be such a waste of time?

firewalker karen putz tony robbins chicago

Of course, walking on fire is simply a metaphor for life. The exercise is meant to identify the fears you have–the limiting beliefs–and walk right through them.

Because if you can do that, you can do anything.

Whatever it is you’re facing in life–here’s what you do:

Walk through the fire.