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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Why You Need An Advisory Board

 

We all need help in life. We need people to motivate us, guide us and challenge us. No one can really succeed without the backing of some very trusted advisors. This goes for life and business life.

My advisory board is made up of a team of people, each with a specific area of expertise that helps to guide me in a particular area of life or business. I have chosen them deliberately and carefully and their place on my board is no accident.

My advice when you sit down to think about your advisory board is to consider your own skillset and the gaps you need others to fill. How big is that role and where you’re at in your business or personal life. What is that person’s role? What do you want to get from them?

The mistake many entrepreneurs make is including family and friends on their advisory board. Now, this is not to say you can’t seek advice from family and friends, but you should keep in mind two things.

1. What are their qualifications to advise you on this topic?

If Mum’s an accountant and we’re asking her about tax, then go for it. But if Mum is a surgeon, well she’s clearly very clever, but may not know heaps about your business finances, so maybe try someone else.

2. Can they be impartial?

Family and friends want what’s best for you and often in business, they may not want to hurt you or challenge your ideas and so they may not give unbridled honesty. Or, they’ll be afraid to see you fail and so will counsel you against making a big business move or trying a new idea.

VIRTUAL ADVISORY BOARD

I have a special subgroup of my Advisory Board that is my Virtual Advisory Board (VAB). None of these people know they’re in my team and in fact, I’ve only met two of them.

I have chosen each of the people on my VAB just as carefully as I have those on my main advisory board. I picked those on my VAB because each of them have a special style, skill, business acumen or have done something which has resonated with me this year. Each of them has walked a path which I am interested in either personally or professionally.

These women (because they’re all badass ladies) are on my board to help with questions or decisions that usually only I could answer, in life or in business. When these considerations come along, I’ll ask myself:

What Oprah would do?

Yep, Oprah is on my board and why not! She’s an incredible strategic businesswoman. So when an Oprah-like issue comes along, I put myself in her shoes and make my choice based on what I think she would do.

MY VIRTUAL ADVISORY BOARD

Mel Robbins

An incredible speaker. The best female speaker in the world in my opinion. Mel has an unbelievable phoenix from the ashes story. Unemployed and broke at 41 to a world-renowned entrepreneur, one of the highest-paid female speakers in the world, TV show host and bestselling author and all before she turned 50.

sparkle_&_achieveJillian Michaels

Not that I want abs like Jill, but she worships her body and that’s what she’s on my VAB to inspire me of.

Nigella Lawson

Nigella is a goddess in the kitchen and who wouldn’t want that! A journalist who pivoted and changed cookbooks from technical manuals to a more relaxed style which celebrating home-cooking.

Oprah

Do I need to say why Oprah is on here? Smart from the get-go, strategic and built an empire from the ground up. Every move she made led to an undeniably successful career, which has lasted decades.

Sara Blakely

The creator of Spanx is on my VAB for creating a business from her dining room table with only $5000. Her business is not only successful, but became a world-wide phenomenon.

Dita von Teese

I once met Dita in a New York bathroom and it was like seeing someone photo-shopped in real life. Dita is not just here for her looks though. She created an incredible business, based on a niche style of entertainment. She elevated burlesque from an old-fashioned strip-show, with all of its judgmental connotations, to an elegant and fashionable art form.

Marie Forleo

Marie is an entrepreneur who puts a lot of goodness out into the world. She built her business based on what she wanted to do and is a very smart operator in the world of motivation.

Bette Midler

The divine Ms. Midler of course. She’s on my VAB for her attitude and her staying power in an industry that eats people alive fairly regularly. She’s my go-to when it comes to any show business conundrums. What would Bette do?

Beyoncé

Queen B. If you only needed one source of inspiration, this woman could be it. Sexy, talented, super smart. Her business acumen and negotiation skills alone make her worthy of my list. Consider the deal she did with Netflix for Homecoming. She may not have been paid as much as other artists for Coachella, but she negotiated this back-end deal with Netflix and that shows how clever she is.

CHARACTERISTICS TO INSPIRE

Now you know the specific reason I chose each of the women on my VAB, I’ll tell you what they all have in common. These are part of the reason I chose them; traits I wish to be able to embody in my business or personal life.

Confidence

They all know within themselves that they are doing exactly what they were put on this earth to do and they do it in a manner which is absolutely unwaivering.

The ability to fail

These women have all failed. Look at Mel Robbins, who was in crippling debt from a failed business venture before becoming them woman we know today. Each of them has built their mountain of success of lots of small failures and they all keep going.

Charisma

Charisma is about how you make other people feel and these women have it in boatloads. You are drawn to them at the back of a concert hall full of thousands of other people, through a computer screen or via their written words. They make you feel something, create a connection and it’s all about that charisma.

Courage

It takes courage to succeed, to run a business or be in the public eye. It takes courage to follow a dream and smash it out of the park. You have to chase it daily and work hard once you’re there.

Commitment

Think about Beyoncé dancing and still singing perfectly. How much she must train, practice and rehearse. How many recipes did Nigella make that tasted terrible? Each of them was persistent and committed to their vision and that’s how they got where they are.

YOUR VAB

Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to sit down and decide who would be on your Virtual Advisory Board? What traits and characteristics inspire you? Is it hard work? Is it being clever financially? Whatever it is, find your advisors and the next time you need a bit of advice, ask yourself:

What would Oprah do?

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