How do you live an inspired life? I think the answer is different for all of us. For me, when I have deviated from my passion and from who I am deep down in my core things have not gone well. I remember as a little kid, my mom insisted that I do something other than play sports. So at 8 she signed me up for gymnastics. Well, I curled myself up in a ball in the back seat of the car and said I am not getting out. I thought gymnastics was for sissies and I was no sissy. That was before Mary Lou Retton and Greg Louganis—who knew???
Then in 9th grade, my mom had me convinced that the public high school was terrible and I needed to go to private school. So, I agreed. Then on the first day as my Dad drove me up in a 1960 something green Pontiac LeManz amidst a sea of Mercedes and BMW I started to think this may have not been such a good idea. I mean, I overlooked the having to wear a uniform that included a skirt and knee highs. Up to that point, the last time I was in a skirt or a dress was for my first communion which lasted about 20 minutes.
During my first religion class, the Nun said that everything in the bible was true and we had to believe it. Some other girl had asked a question about did X really happen and that was the nun’s response. Well, that was all I needed to hear. I asked the Nun why we had to believe it and she got angry and said that we needed to believe in God etc…. and not to question her. With that, I came home and told both my parents that this school was not for me. My parents took turns with the good cop bad cop routine. My father suggesting that Jennifer Manning got used to it after the first year made me more determined to not stay. The conversation ended with me threatening that I would fail all my classes. Needless to say, they gave in and informed the school. As soon as I arrived at the doors of Silver Lake, I knew I was home—it felt exactly where I should be and all was right.
Do have those feelings? You get somewhere or you meet someone and you realize this was meant to be. Well, most of us know it as our intuition or gut feeling. Kids are more in touch with it than us adults. I think it is because experiences can reinforce following it or make you not trust it. And so the games of the mind begin and the heart starts to lose. Jane Fonda talks about life having 3 acts. I think we have at least one-act for every decade we live. So at 37, I am in my 4th.
At 10years old, an inspired life meant that I was playing with my neighborhood chums Tommy, Jeremy, Mark & Mike. Each day was about whiffle ball, capture the flag, Chips Patrol and in the summer nights Flashlight Tag or Kick the Can. At 20, it was about adjusting to living on my own, waiting to be legal and get into bars and making it through college while paying the rent. It was also about loving who I wanted despite what family members I may lose. At 30, it was celebrating my birthday in a room full of people who uplifted my soul and my heart. It was about starting fresh and trying to let go of the path I chose and embrace the one life chose for me. As I near the end of my 4th decade, in many ways I am going back to my first.
I am connecting with playing outside again. It is in the form of hiking and playing with my dogs but the feeling is the same. The memories of smelling dirt and I am even riding bikes with my buddy Tim. We are going mountain biking when he comes—YAY! It ‘s about doing what is fun and having fun in a wholesome—way. I have fun running my own consulting business. I have fun playing with other realtors in the sandbox or out at recess. I have fun working with teams and helping them become better leaders. I know I have fun because I feel lighter when I am doing these things. I don’t feel heavy like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I feel aligned and centered.
Passion is a key ingredient in the recipe for an inspired life. Uncovering what your passion(s) are is about re-discovering your younger self and remembering what brought you joy. That is a place to start—where you end is your call. When we live by our passion people gravitate towards us, they want to work with us, buy our products, embrace our brand.
What is your brand? We all have one. A brand is a lifestyle. Steve Jobs loved the “Think Different” advertising campaign the minute he heard because it resonated with who he was and who Apple was. My brand is Change. My life and business is about creating, facilitating, bringing about change. Thinking about your brand is a different kind of tool to live an inspired life. Use whatever you need to unlock, remember and share the passion that is within and let your gift be experienced by the world.
p.s. I still don’t wear skirts. I know gymnasts are athletes. And I can get married in the Catholic church, just not yet to a woman:)