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How To Define Success and Happiness: Pursue Your Passions And Dreams

One way to define success and happiness begins with identifying and pursuing your passions and dreams.  An extension of this definition can include doing what you love with people you love. When you are able to focus on these qualities moving forward seems to flow. This can be a challenge. It is normal to find yourself scared and insecure at times.  You may measure yourself against others and feel like you fall short of the mark.

Do You Know What You Want?

When I am secure with how I define success and happiness, I don’t have to scramble around trying to control every aspect of other people’s lives. I am more accepting of people I love going through whatever processes they need to in their lives to define success for themselves. My desire to micromanage and judge is lessened. My need for authority is in direct proportion to how I am dealing with my own self-doubt and fear.

Success Is Up To The Individual

I can’t own anyone else’s accomplishments or happiness. Regardless of the role I play as a parent, advisor, coach, boss, or friend, whomever I provide guidance to makes his or her own decisions. He or she will define success how they see fit. I may be emotionally affected by someone else’s decisions but I certainly can let go of my reactions. At the end of the day what I remember most is what I say or do, not someone else.

In order to be effective in leading others make sure you are clear about your own purpose and direction. As a result of this clarity you won’t need to focus on leadership, it is a quality which will come naturally. Satisfaction in life is something you probably desire. You may look to others for examples of how this can be achieved. People use you as a model for success as well. Honor these relationships by remaining persistent with your progress.

In what ways can you improve your focus?

You Can Change the World

img_0273Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending a Paul McCartney concert at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia. It was an amazing experience, one of the more exceptional events I have ever attended. It was the combination of the scence, the number of people, the fact I was there with my family ( our mutual love of  The Beatles was part of what brought my wife and I together), and the music. However, my wife pointed out something of major significance.

Does this man, Paul McCartney, realize what an impact his life has made on the world? Really think about how inter-woven his music, and his life, are with four generations. Coming to a realization such as this puts some things in perspective.


  • It is possible to create a movement by doing something you love. In fact, the only way to create real change is to inspire through your actions.
  • Those who make a real cultural impact don’t have to tell everyone they have made a cultural impact. With all due respect to the megalomaniacs of the world, those whose deeds reverberate through time are humbled by the experience. I was amazed at the amount of joy Sir Paul experienced by playing his music.
  • If you create, you will stir the dormant spirits of those around you. Like Paul, find your passion and commit to living through it every day. This life is your opportunity to experience joy, happiness, passion, and connection as the person you are. Surround yourself with people who move and support you. Be the galvanizing force that rouses your loved ones.

Relationships are strengthened by enthusiasm and love. Don’t settle for the status quo. Take risks and stay focused on the life you want to live. Find your inner Paul (or whoever inspires you) and act! You too will change the world.

Following Threads

3518256175_60607e3222A year ago I facilitated a workshop for a parent group in St.Louis, Missouri. I had recently released my first book, Relationships for the Intimately Challenged, and led these meetings to support the ideas I had written about. I had no real speaking experience outside of my normal job setting, and quickly realized I had much to learn.

One of the workshop participants happens to be a professional author, facilitator, and executive coach. She took copious notes and offered to share her observations with me. I was open to hearing her opinion, after all this was new to me, and I wanted to learn as much as possible.

What she shared with me wasn’t very complimentary, but she communicated her criticism in a manner that was motivating. She offered to coach me and I eagerly hired her.

I made the decision to become an author and a professional speaker out of a desire to share insights I have gained throughout my life with as many people as possible. What I have realized as a result of responding to this inspiration is that I always have a lot to learn. As simple as this realization sounds, it is also very profound. I, like many others, can fall into the trap of security and predictability. The problem with security and predictability is the potential squelching of passion, enthusiasm, and, creativity.

I look at inspirations or good ideas as threads meant for me to follow. Some of them lead nowhere, but some lead me to amazing experiences and opportunities. As a direct result of making the decision to write my book and pursue professional speaking I have:

  • completed Jack Canfield‘s Breakthrough to Success Training along with the Advanced Breakthrough to Success. From attending these trainings I have gained a tremendous amount of awareness about personal transformation, which I have been able to share with my employees and friends, and made some valuable connections with people I never would have met.
  • joined the National Speaker’s Association, which has exposed me to incredible resources and mentors from a wide variety of backgrounds
  • begun providing workshops to various businesses along with parent’s groups

These are just a few results of some seemingly simple decisions. All of these actions involve following threads. I have been scared to do some of the things I have done. I have had to challenge many limiting beliefs about myself. I continue to stretch in ways that are uncomfortable. However, I am much happier,  more fulfilled, and my ability to serve other people has increased exponentially.

Is it a priority for you to grow as a person? Are there inspirations you have ignored because of self-limiting excuses? Look for the threads in your life. Muster the courage to follow them. At the very least you will discover new directions in which to go or passions to follow. Doesn’t that sound fun?

Photo Credit: *Evelina* via: Flickr

Do What You Love, Because You Love It

“The worst prison would be a closed heart.”

~Pope John Paul II

In his book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield writes about the benefits of having a “Ready, Fire, Aim”mentality. He isn’t encouraging people to be irresponsible or to act on every whim, the point is to remind people to get started and respond to feedback.

Change happens as a result of action. Action is motivated by inspiration. Inspiration is created by fear, love, or passion. One of the greatest gifts of life is that it is filled with constant opportunities to find inspiration and change.

I love the work I do. I have spent the past twenty-two years working with people affected by substance abuse. This work has allowed me to deal with a very diverse group of people dealing with a wide range of issues. Over the past several years I have become more interested in helping people improve their relationships. This is a topic in which I have a great deal of interest and a high level of passion.

When I wrote Relationships for the Intimately Challenged, I was motivated by my desire to share the knowledge I had acquired about relationships through the years. As a result of writing the book, I have created several opportunities to learn, grow, and expand my life. I have met a lot of people who have assisted me in the art of writing. I have joined the National Speaker’s Association, which has opened many doors. I continue to learn about writing, speaking, and managing a business every day. This has all come as a result of following what I love.

  • Are you doing what you love?
  • Do you feel a sense of vocational satisfaction?
  • Are you confident you are making a difference?

We all suffer from self-doubt from time to time. However, it is critical to answer these questions with a resounding yes. You will need guidance. You will need re-assurance. You will need to remind yourself of why you do what you do. If you start from a place of loving what you do you will find the guidance, re-assurance, and reminders you need.

  • Take the time to answer the above questions.
  • Find for yourself what is important to do.
  • Make a commitment to begin taking small steps to move in the direction of your passion.

Life is a beautiful experience. Make sure you take advantage of the opportunities to enjoy it to its fullest. Do what you love.

We All Follow Someone

Whose lead do you follow and why? This is a very important question for anyone to answer. As you grow and change, as your life circumstances evolve, and as your priorities shift, you may let go of some mentors and gain others. Some philosophies which may have seemed like permanent maps to success have been discarded for systems which fit your changing perspectives. But do you have constants? Are there certain kinds of people who embody certain traits to which you find yourself gravitating  over and over again? Do people you seek out for guidance and direction communicate a similar theme, maybe in a different way? Are there certain topics you read about or hear about that rock your world every time?

I have thought about this a lot. The people to whom I gravitate, the topics I care about, and the causes I stand for change as I change. However, the bottom line characteristics I seek always remain the same. They include:

  • Passion I am not living to simply be safe until I die, I want to experience as much joy and happiness as I can
  • Enthusiasm Those whose lead I follow are always enthusiastic about what they do
  • Humility Confidence in one’s abilities should never be confused with arrogance. A humble person is always teachable and able to teach
  • Gratitude There are not too many original ideas floating around. Those who express gratitude for their mentors  have credibility
  • Service Not only is it an ideal to leave the world a better place than you found it, there are people who actually accomplish this goal.

I will continue to share sources and mentors who have helped me to grow and change, both directly and indirectly. I would love to hear about some of yours. There is a limitless resource of wisdom available to all of us when we are willing to share with one another. What traits are important to you? Who are some of your heroes? What books or philosophies have changed your life or rocked your world? Here are a few of mine, with more to come:

Bob Meehan who wrote Beyond the Yellow Brick Road. Bob has a tremendous amount of passion in everything he does. Beyond the Yellow Brick Road is the best resource for anyone dealing with an adolescent with drug or alcohol issues.

Jack Canfield who co-wrote the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, The Success Principles, and many other valuable books and programs. I had the pleasure of attending Jack’s Breakthrough to Success seminar last year, which was a life changing experience. Jack is someone who expresses a genuine compassion for those he is around. After meeting Jack, there is no doubt how passionate he is about helping others improve the quality of their lives.

These are two examples of people who I look up to and why. I am constantly seeking useful information. I will continue to share books, philosophies, and other materials I find beneficial. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Leadership Always Counts

3165948442_2a563eb1eaAlas, the Arizona Cardinals lost the Super Bowl. After watching the Big Red for years it seemed Destiny would finally smile upon this dismal franchise through its powerful medium, Kurt Warner. Although in the end it wasn’t meant to be, they put up a valiant fight and certainly taught us a few things.3090618841_143e1ed1ff


  1. Leadership is a quality too often overlooked. In any system involving multiple people, someone must be willing to step to the front and lead.
  2. Passion drives us to be better performers and better people.
  3. Love unifies people and establishes the strongest of bonds. Whether it is love for what you do, for who you are around, or for who you get to share your life with, love provides the power.
  4. Gratitude allows anyone to maintain the humility needed to create and build upon excellence. Anyone who believes they have it all figured out is wrong. 

We are all stronger as human beings when we have strong and loving relationships. When we live in the qualities mentioned above, we will attract people into our lives with whom we would want to build these relationships. Never be afraid to lead because there is someone who needs to follow you. Do what you do with passion because others will be attracted to it. Live a life you love because it is the one you have. Finally, remember to maintain gratitude because there has always been, and always will be, someone to help.

Photo Credit: Alfred Benway

Finding a Direction

Life is such a joyful experience. It is enhanced by those with whom we choose to connect. Friends, families, spouses, and others we meet along the way teach us valuable lessons. Some of these lessons are learned by the specific guidance someone is able to provide, some are learned as a result of our ability to be of service. It is imperative to make these kinds of connections in order to create a life of abundance and love. Opportunities to connect with helpful people surround us at all times. Whether there is a new skill we want to learn or a new professional direction we want to find, there is always someone there to help if we are willing to seek them out.

My responsibility to myself is to maintain the humility to seek guidance, the open-mindedness to hear new ideas, and the willingness to take 100% responsibility for my life. I must always remember that my decisions and actions create my reality. Only my self-imposed fears and limitations will stop my progress as a person. I have been fortunate to come in contact with some wonderful teachers over the past several months. I have been able to learn a lot about myself and what is important to me. I realized the ways that I had limited myself and have made a lot of changes. This is possible because I both sought direction and remained open-minded.

  • If you are unhappy, find your passion. Figure out what you value, what is truly important. From there it is far easier to find a direction.
  • Seek out people who know how to do what you want to do. There is a wealth of information available to us all of the time, we just have to be willing to find it.
  • Finally, don’t get discouraged. Learning new things can be scary. Maintaining the status quo seems to be a much easier option. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to live the life you desire.

This is not a race. There is no “one way” to be successful. One thing is for certain, though. Without love and passion it is impossible to truly be fulfilled.