Living A Passionate Life

Living A Passionate Life - Samantha Leith

It sounds obvious to say that being clear on your passions is important in life and yet many people lead lives sadly devoid of passion. And we’re not always talking about the kinky kinds of passions (although that can definitely be something to include on the passion list). We’re talking about anything that drives and inspires you.

Much of what I am discussing here is drawn from a book that changed my life called The Passion Test by Janet Attwood. It’s authentic and simplistic, but also presents a system to discovering your passions and I highly recommend it.

You can find out more here

Here I am discussing some of my main takeaways from the book and how I utilize it to ensure that I am keeping my life and business on track and always working towards my passions.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PASSIONS ARE?

It’s important to know your passions because we always want to be moving towards the things that bring us joy, animate us, make us happy, excite us and drive us to success. A life where you’re aimlessly punching in and out of your days without purpose can be pretty sad. Why not work towards something that will ultimately make you happier.

PASSIONS CAN BE SIMPLISTIC

Passions don’t have to always be intensely deep and meaningful; it can be something as simple as hanging out with your kids or old friends. If spending time with your friends is a passion but you’re slogging away for 80-hours a week, then this could be pretty difficult to find time. If you’re also not particularly excited about that job you’re working hard at, you’ll quickly fall into a slump. Knowing that your friends are your priority might lead you to change jobs, change careers and ultimately be happier.

PASSIONS CHANGE OVER TIME

This is important. What drives you in your 20s, at the start of your career, at the start of your relationships, friendships etc. is not the same as what will inspire you in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s. It’s interesting, but it makes sense that your passions will change, especially as you experience big life events. I retake the passion test every 1-2 years and this year one of my passions changed, which is significant.

So if you’re someone who knows about this book and has taken the test, revisit your passions, revisit the test and ask yourself if your passions are the same of if they’re changing.

KNOWING YOUR PASSIONS MAKES BEING YOU EASIER

It is much, much, much easier to be yourself when you know what your passions are. We so often wonder what defines us and it really should be the things which make us want to work hard; be it family, building a business, giving back to the community, travelling the world first class, working in the garden, learning Tik Tok dance moves or all of the above. This is particularly important in professional settings because so many people work in jobs they’re not particularly passionate about. We spend a lot of time at work and it’s pretty bleak to consider all that time going towards something which isn’t leading us to a passion.

PASSIONS MAKE DECISIONS EASIER

As a Gemini, decisions don’t come easily to either of my personalities so when I can make a decision easily, it usually comes down to something I’m passionate about. Once you know your passions, all you have to do is ask yourself whether any decision is leading you towards or away from your passions. It can be an invite, a meeting, job opportunity, date, weekend away or even restaurant choice. Does it lead you towards or away from your passions?

Maybe you’re really passionate about supporting local business. This will influence where you buy the furniture you use to decorate your house and you’ll feel happier and more satisfied whenever you look around your home.

IDENTIFYING CLEAR PASSIONS HELPS YOU TO SET GOALS

Once you know your passions, goal setting also becomes easy. You can really drill down on the types of goals that will lead you to your passions. If you are someone who wants a beautiful home, you first need a house deposit, so you make savings goals and you’re off.

Once your goal is set, your intentions become clear. Your intentions are the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. This will help you to take pressure off the goal itself. In my house-buying example, your intention is to save money. So you don’t have the pressure of needing $200,000 immediately, but you might need to change some lifestyle habits to save a bit more money every month. Your intentions allow you to do the work to achieve your goals and lead you to your passions.

CLEAR PASSIONS MAKE FOR A BLOODY GOOD LIFE

There’s a great saying about being clear on your passions:

“Whenever you’re faced with a decision, choice, or an opportunity, choose in favour of your passions”

This sums it up for me. What a great way to lead life.

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Body Confidence

Body Confidence - Samantha Leith

BODY CONFIDENCE

Body confidence is a loaded topic. As women we are constantly being told what to wear, how to look, how to act, and ultimately, what beauty is.

Unfortunately though, every single person has a different opinion of what makes beauty, so it becomes tricky for anyone to try and embody a common standard.

Sure, the media will have trends, models of the moment who are usually waifish, and slender with impossibly clear skin and so-called perfect proportions. But we also have social media showing us gorgeous fashionistas of all sizes who have endless wardrobes to style every current trend. We also have cultural beauty standards, what our parents think, what our partners say and what that guy on tinder has in his profile as his “ideal woman”.

Trying to navigate this world of complicated and convoluted beauty standards is an impossible task, so it’s no wonder that we’re often wondering how to gain body confidence in this world full of contrasting opinions.

WHAT IS BODY CONFIDENCE

Ah body confidence, the elusive thing we all seek. What is it? The answer is simple really.

Body confidence is being comfortable in your own skin. It’s presenting yourself in a way that makes you feel good, which is authentic to who you are as an individual. It’s also about balancing that with a willingness to show who you are to the world.

I’m probably more confident in my body now than I ever have been and it has nothing to do with my weight, nothing to do with wearing current trends or dressing for anyone else other than myself. It also has nothing to do with what anyone else says is beautiful, or how anyone else thinks a woman of my age / size / status / occupation etc. should dress.

It does have everything to do with only wearing clothes I feel comfortable and confident in, doing my makeup because it makes me feel good, wearing my hair in a way that makes me happy and showing the world who I am.

HOW DO I IMPROVE MY BODY CONFIDENCE

Improving your body confidence can be a long, difficult road for some people, depending on past experiences. My advice is to start simple and with the things you can control.

What feels good?

Ask yourself what feels good when you wear it. It might be all about textures for you, it might be a style, a cut, a colour or a fabric. Whatever it is, wear it and embrace it without judgment or worry about what others may say.

When my daughter Elodie asks me if I’m going out, I often tell her I need to put my face on first, to which she jokingly tells me that I already have a face. We always laugh, but the simple fact is that I like wearing makeup and I tell her so. I don’t mind if people see me without it, but it gives me a certain extra boost of confidence and it feels good to have it on. I certainly don’t need it, but if it makes me feel great then why not.

I recommend going through your wardrobe. Take note of the things that make you feel GREAT and pull out everything else. If you have anything in there which makes you feel less than your most confident and comfortable self, then get rid of it. If it knocks you down a peg, if it doesn’t sit right, it you don’t like the colour, the fit or the style anymore, then it’s gone.

Can you let go of what others think?

This is definitely a harder task than going through your wardrobe, but it’s important.

Body confidence is letting your personality shine and having the best of your come through, regardless of what anyone else thinks. This can be a process, but it’s one which is worth embarking on.

Body confidence is owning what you put out into the world. There will always be people who want to change you, who have opinions on how you look, how you act, speak and so on. Some of these people will have your best interest at heart and others not so much. The most important part of improving your body confidence is letting go of others opinions. Because they don’t matter.

A friend of mine recently told me not to be “too booby” at a lunch we were both going to. Hello? I’m always booby. I like being booby. It’s just me. It’s not about having people look at my cleavage, it’s just my style that I’ve cultivated over years of working out what looks good on me and I like it.

My friend didn’t mean to be rude and she certainly didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. She is someone who dresses very differently to me, which is fine. I had to remind myself of that today, otherwise her words could have made me a little self-conscious and I can’t let her opinion affect what makes me feel great.

Of course, it’s a balancing act. If you’re heart desires to be dressed head to toe in bright purple sparkles, but you don’t think you could take the looks people will give you, then start small. Today your shoes are purple and sparkly; tomorrow it’s your top and your eye shadow. Slowly you’ll get to the point where you can be your bright purple, sparkly self and won’t care what the world around you thinks. If it makes you feel good, then it’s what you should do.

Can you stop judging others?

We so often feel the reflections of what we put into the world. If you are someone who judges others harshly, then you will assume that others judge you. This perceived or real judgment will impact your confidence. Anyone who loses a little confidence will shrink a little. They’ll stop wearing what they like, stop doing things, stop enjoying themselves and they are the only ones who suffer. They’ll stop putting themselves out into the world as much.

The moment we all stop judging each other so much is the moment we set ourselves free. So next time you see someone wearing something or doing something you consider outrageous, or even just a little different, try and catch yourself before you judge. Instead, you can send a little hope into the universe that the person in front of you feels great, that they’re feeling confident, living their best lives and being true to themselves.

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