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Create a Life You Love



Imagine waking up each morning excited to start the day because you know it will be filled with joy, fun, and happiness.

You can absolutely have this kind of life. It’s not a pipe dream, but it will require change.

Think about it; you can change three things:

Your thoughts.

Your attitude.

Your actions.

Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, wrote about this in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, which the Library of Congress lists among the Ten Most Influential Books. Victor, a psychiatrist, spent three years at the Auchwitz Concentration Camp. He knew he could not change his circumstances, but he was completely free to determine what thoughts he would dwell on, what attitude he could choose to have, and what actions and responses he could put forth.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

You have it within you to create a passionate life that you truly love.
What I Learned from Choosing Passion

Not too long ago I spent the evening in the company of guys who are crazy passionate about the sport of barefoot water skiing. As we watched videos of last year’s barefooting runs, I was thinking how much my life changed since I rediscovered my passion.
Seven years ago, I didn’t know any of the barefooters I know today. An “Old Lady”, Judy Myers, inspired me to step back into a sport I had long ago abandoned. Her simple invitation started me on a wonderful journey and many lessons on the importance of following your passion. 
Here’s what I learned: 
When you choose in favor of your passions, you will meet many people who will teach you in every way. The masters will cut your learning curve in half–in less time than if you tried to journey alone. A community will form around your passion and the connections will multiply. Your tribe will push you and stretch you in different ways, both by keeping you safe and yet, knocking you out of the comfort zone so that you grow. 
Passion will drive you. It will carry you through tough times. You’ll discover there is far more you can do than you ever originally imagined when you first started. 
Doing what you love to do will bring you joy, laughter, and tears –and it will be so, so worth it. 
So my advice for you is this: step into your passion. Choose in the direction of joy. Your life will change in incredible ways.

 

 

Unwrap Your Passion, And Happiness Will Follow

(Originally posted as a guest blog on Happiness Inside, which is now closed)

Earlier this year, I pursued a passion that was long buried inside of me. I didn’t even realize how long it was buried until I began to unwrap it on my 44th birthday last year.

I was sitting on the pontoon at my parent’s lake, thinking back to some of the best memories of my life. I was rather down at that moment, so I wanted to conjure up some memories that included some happy times. I thought back to my teen years. I learned to water ski on my bare feet shortly after my sixteenth birthday. What a thrill that was! I spent the next three years barefooting with the guys on Christie Lake. Every single time that I went out on the water, I was happy.

One day, when I was nineteen, I decided to go out and practice some wake crossings. I caught a toe and slammed into the water in a not-so-graceful cartwheel. In an instant, I went from hard of hearing to deaf. When I climbed into the boat and started talking to my friends, I couldn’t hear myself talk. I just figured that I had water in my ears and that the hearing I had left would return.

It didn’t.

At first, adjusting to being deaf was a horrible struggle. There were many days and nights that I cried. One day, I came to the realization that I could either do battle every day, or I could embrace this new identity as a deaf person and get on with life. From that moment, another passion was unwrapped. I learned American Sign Language and a rich world opened up filled with deaf and hard of hearing friends. Happiness arrived with that new-found passion. Most of my career since graduating from college has centered around helping others who are deaf and hard of hearing. I started and ran a non-profit organization, Illinois Hands and Voices and began providing mentoring services through the state’s Early Intervention program. Along the way, I uncovered a passion for birth and I attended several home and hospital births as a doula. Every birth filled me with incredible happiness inside.

Fast forward to October of last year: my husband sent me a link to the Today Show segment featuring Judy Myers, a 66-year-old woman who learned to barefoot water ski at the age of 53. I connected with her and she invited me to come to the World Barefoot Center to learn to barefoot again. The very moment that I put my feet on the water, I was filled with incredible joy. The sport that had brought both happiness and sadness in my life was now filling me with happiness again.

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At the World Barefoot Center, I met Keith St. Onge, the owner and a two-time World Barefoot Champion. Keith learned to barefoot at the age of ten and by time he was thirteen, he knew he wanted to follow his passion for the sport. He has competed since he was eleven, turned pro at eighteen and runs the ski school and a wetsuit company. The sport has brought him all over the world and he has been featured on ESPN, CNN and in several magazines.

“Barefoot water skiing is my passion—it’s what I wanted to do since I was thirteen,” Keith shared. “I wanted to be the greatest. I wanted to be a pro the same way that young kids want to be a fireman. And I get to fuel my passion every day. When I’m on the water on my bare feet—it’s a feeling of complete freedom. When you fuel your passion–passion brings happiness—they feed off each other.”

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Keith’s mom, Jackie St. Onge and I asked her to share her thoughts on passion.

“Passion is your joy,” Jackie explained. “It is the essence of who you are. You have to unwrap it and find it. Some people find it easier than others. The body and the mind and the soul become one when you find your passion. Passion comes naturally to a person. It is like running water: turn on the tap and it flows.”

Passion and happiness are intertwined. When you discover your passion and incorporate it into your life, happiness follows. If you’re not sure how to answer the question, “What is your passion?” you can find the answer by reflecting on the happy and joyful times in your life. What fires you up? What feeds your soul? What puts a smile on your face in the morning and a deep sense of satisfaction and joy when your head hits the pillow at night?

Passion is inside each and every one of us. Unwrap yours.


Copyright Karen Putz, November 2010

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Adversity University to share some daily success habits. The Daily Success Secrets started over at Today Is The Day. The idea is to list five or ten "success" habits that you follow on a frequent basis.

Wake up grateful.This is a relatively new habit of mine. On most days, I tend to wake up with a mental list of things to do for the day. I am learning to replace this with thoughts of gratitude.

Do something nice for someone else. My mom taught me this one-- she often helped neighbors, baked something for someone or lent an ear when someone needed to talk. Spread some good stuff, and the good stuff will come back to you.

Maintain a balance. Life gets crazy at times. It becomes tough to maintain a balance in all areas of life. However, when things are out of balance, then the success of other habits begins to shift. I've learned to let go of some things or create new habits to maintain balance.

Enjoy life. If you're not having fun, laughing, loving someone or enjoying life-- then what is it all for? Every day, every moment, is a gift.

And the ultimate recipe for success:

Follow the Happiness motto. Back in high school, an itinerant teacher gave me a small plaque that said: "The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."

I'm tagging my friend Groovy next!

Goovy's Ruminations

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Passing on some Success Secrets


I’ve been tagged by Stephen at Adversity University to share some daily success habits. The Daily Success Secrets started over at Today Is The Day. The idea is to list five or ten “success” habits that you follow on a frequent basis.

Wake up grateful.This is a relatively new habit of mine. On most days, I tend to wake up with a mental list of things to do for the day. I am learning to replace this with thoughts of gratitude.

Do something nice for someone else. My mom taught me this one– she often helped neighbors, baked something for someone or lent an ear when someone needed to talk. Spread some good stuff, and the good stuff will come back to you.

Maintain a balance. Life gets crazy at times. It becomes tough to maintain a balance in all areas of life. However, when things are out of balance, then the success of other habits begins to shift. I’ve learned to let go of some things or create new habits to maintain balance.

Enjoy life. If you’re not having fun, laughing, loving someone or enjoying life– then what is it all for? Every day, every moment, is a gift.

And the ultimate recipe for success:

Follow the Happiness motto. Back in high school, an itinerant teacher gave me a small plaque that said: “The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

I’m tagging my friend Groovy next!

Goovy’s Ruminations