Barrie Davenport is a writer, mom, and career and life transition coach. She’s the author of The Bold Living Guide: 7 Key Ingredients for a Meaningful Life available through her blog, Live Bold and Bloom, and co-author of the Amazon bestseller Declutter Your Mind, How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking
Thought Medicine: Passion is a word that means different things to different people. What’s your personal working definition of “passion”?
Barrie: Passion is the place where one’s values, interests, skills, and joys intersect. Passion isn’t something that you discover “out there” somewhere. Discovering your passion involves thorough self-discovery of who you are and what motivates you, as well profound mind shifts. This work must be followed by specific actions to ignite and flame your passions. You might be passionate about writing for example, but if you aren’t regularly doing the work of writing, you aren’t living a passionate life.
Thought Medicine: How has passion made a difference in your life personally?
Barrie: It has changed me entirely. Doing what I love has profoundly impacted how I feel about myself and how I view the world. When you feel like your life is missing something and that you aren’t doing anything meaningful or fulfilling, everything is shaded with dull grey. Life feels like an endless series of tasks rather than a daring adventure. When you have energy, passion, and enthusiasm behind any aspect of your life, everything feels more vibrant and exciting. You wake up ready to seize the day rather than slog through it.
Thought Medicine: What are some of the methods you use to help your clients discover their own passion?
Barrie: I ask the client to do a lot of self-discovery and clean-up work before they begin taking real steps toward their passion. Before we can discover and act upon what we are passionate about, we must really know ourselves. We need to know what motivates and inspires us, as well as what is limiting us and preventing growth.
I take the client through a process of learning about their personality type, their skills, values, joys and interests. They also begin to focus on a life purpose with some specific exercises for clarifying that, and they will create a vision and mission for their lives. A challenging part of the process is digging into limiting beliefs, blocks, and unresolved issues so that one can have a clean slate before launching on this exciting new life. I help the client synthesize all of this information so they can begin the action steps both for the “clean up” process and the passion discovery. This helps them create weekly actions for a full year. If they do the work, next year should look pretty bright!
“I ask the client to do a lot of self-discovery and clean-up work before they begin taking real steps toward their passion.”
Thought Medicine: Even when we are following our passion, we can hit a plateau. How do you keep motivated over time and deal with “burn out” if it should occur?
Barrie: Passions can evolve and change over time. Sometimes we have more than one passion, or we might feel really passionate about something for a time and then move on to something else. That’s why it’s useful to reevaluate where you are in life and how you can focus in on new or shifting areas of growth and interest. Any time you begin to feel that restless, dissatisfied, or empty feeling about some aspect of your life, that is a signal to begin this work again.
Thought Medicine: How does changing the way they think support people in the process of finding and living their passion?
Barrie: As we both know, and I’m sure your readers know from the articles on your blog, the brain can be “trained” to support positive feeling. The more you practice positive thinking, gratitude, and affirmations, the more you are reinforcing a sense of well-being and happiness. (Read The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, MD for more info on the science behind this.) When you are actively focused first on seeking what you love and feel passionate about, and then taking real actions toward your passion, you are soaking your brain in “feel good” thoughts and actions. That’s why it is so important to resist limiting beliefs and negative thinking when you are doing this work. You are fighting against yourself when you do that.
Visit Barrie Davenport’s blog Live Bold and Bloom.