Do you remember how it felt to believe that anything was possible?
Fight the urge to brush past that question as if it is one you think about everyday because most people don’t. So let me pose the question again. Do you remember how it felt to believe that anything was possible? Think back to a time in your life when delusional optimism was the norm. Take yourself back to the place when you believed that anything was possible. Think back to when you believed as we teach our children that anything was possible. Now ask yourself, what happened?
The Gallup Organization has been researching the impact of human behavior on the economy for decades. According to an article written by Steve Crabtree and Gallup’s 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace, “Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.” They said that about 20% of American employees are so disengaged at their job that they actively spread discontent throughout the workplace. Add that to the 50% of other employees who are just there getting a paycheck, living for the weekend, and doing just enough not to be fired. All together you have a whopping 70% of the American workforce that’s not engaged. Does any of this sound familiar?
Want to know what happened? Life happened! People that once believed grew up and settled into the “do what you have to do” lifestyle. They settled into jobs they don’t love so they can make money that doesn’t support the lifestyle they want. Over time many of them set their passions on the bookshelf and never go back and pick them up. This may not be everyone but the numbers show that it is a healthy percentage of the American population. These are the large number of people that forget about the things they love to do and focus on the things they have to do.
I often ask clients and students to assess their daily activities and categorize them as something that energizes them or something that drains them. Almost always, people have more items in the draining category than they do in the energizing category. There are often more things in their lives that they would stop doing if they could. There are items on their to-do lists every day that they wish they never had to do again. This makes it clear to me that they have a PASSION problem.
Passion (n) A strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something
When I ask most people about their job, I DO hear passion in their voice but not the good kind. It is the negative energy and negative intensity that they experience when talking about their work. What if you could flip this on its head? What if you could focus on things that get you fired up in a good way? Think for a moment what life would be like if you only functioned in that energizing category… if everything you did brought you so much joy that you wanted to do it again. What if you could do it for the rest of your life and never had to worry about getting paid for it because you loved doing it so much? Would you be interested in that?
I define passion as the energy, intensity, and sustainability that leaders use to build lasting value in their lives. Mark Nepo says “…our light is revealed as we strike our gifts against the needs of the world…” This is where you find your true purpose. That light is passion. It is the thing that attracts capital to you, both human and financial. The light can only be revealed when you use your gifts, the unique talents and strengths that you bring to the world, to solve a problem. The needs of the world are great. The greater the problem, the greater the solution needs to be. The greater the solution is, the more people will pay for it.
Living in this kind of light is not easy. It requires EXTRA effort. It takes intent and clarity of purpose. I call it the 212° lifestyle. Sam Parker (InspireYourPeople.com‘s co-founder) is the author of the original bestselling 212 (two-twelve) book and message. His purpose was to “inspire millions of people around the world to dig deeper and make better things happen for themselves and the people around them. The message leans on the premise that, “At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train. Just one extra degree makes all the difference.”
This is the 212° lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that allows you to do what you really love to do. It is a lifestyle centered around your passion. It is one where the work you do is both fulfilling and exciting. It is a lifestyle where going the extra mile is easy because you love what you do. It is a lifestyle where that extra degree is simply who you are. Many people say that they want this lifestyle but not as many are willing to do the work of creating it.
Here’s the point: Stop settling for a life that is not at 212°. You CAN do what you love. You CAN change your circumstance if you are not happy with them. You CAN be fulfilled in your life and work. The choice is yours. Will you go the extra mile? Will you raise your lifestyle that extra degree? If you want something different then you must do something different. My encouragement is that you get that passion off the shelf and put it to good use. Make a decision to live your life at 212°. Your PASSIONS are waiting. Don’t keep them waiting.