Don’t Use Passions As A Band-Aid


 

Abstract:
 

Passions are the single most powerful shortcut to happiness. Whenever I feel a little off, doing what lights me up never fails to give me a buzz.
 

However, there’s a danger hidden in the very happiness passions give us. It can be tempting to use passions as a band-aid, as an excuse to not deal with things that aren’t going right in your life.
 

Your mission today is to learn to recognise this pitfall and how you can make sure to avoid it.
 
 

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Task 1: Are your passions a band-aid?

 

Pursuing your passion can give you almost unlimited energy and lift your spirits. Your passion makes you feel happy and balanced and can make a bad mood disappear in no time.
 

However, these qualities also make it dangerous. When your life is out of balance, you’re unhappy in your job or your relationship or something else is out of whack, you can use your passion like a band-aid or a painkiller. It’ll numb the pain sufficiently for you not to deal with it.
 

Look at your life or take the Life Audit to see which areas you may have to look at. Don’t paper over the cracks, not even with a passion.
 

passions-as-a-band-aid
 

Task 2: Make your passions an asset, not a drug

 

This is the reason why my Coaching programs encompass every aspect of your life, not just your passions. If you decide to prioritise your passion, it follows that something else needs to make space.
 

This requires you to assess all your priorities, not just add a new one. Take a bit of time and write down the things that matter in your life. Then compare the list with your calendar, your commitments and the things you spend your days with, and make adjustments accordingly.
 

Passions light you up, but this should be a bonus, not a survival strategy. Make sure the joy is the icing on the cake, rather than a band-aid.

3 Ways Your Passions Can Cause Burnout


 

Abstract:
 

Wait, what? I promote prioritising your passion(s) and now I’m telling you your passions can cause burnout?
 

Why yes, they can. It’s a subject not often talked about, but it has massive implications for those who seek joy and fulfilment in life – those who want to live with purpose.
 

Your mission today is to learn 3 ways your passions can cause burnout.
 
 

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1. You treat your passion(s) like chores

 

I often suggest scheduling your passions the same way you schedule a doctor’s appointment in order to create space for them. What this doesn’t mean is that your passion should be treated like just another chore to check off your endless to-do list. That’s counterproductive and can burn you out in no time.
 

Remember passions are about joy. Give yourself time and don’t expect “productivity”. Most passions follow cycles, with phases where you reflect or aren’t very inspired, alternating with times when everything seems to flow by itself.
 
 

2. You have too much going on

 

A lot of us already have too much on their plates. They work, look after their families, go to yoga, attend social events… There never seem to be enough minutes in a day.
 

If you think about it, it seems insane to insert time for passions into an already busy schedule. Yet that’s what most people try to do, and it’s a shortcut to burnout.
 

Prioritising passions means to simplify and decelerate the pace of your life overall. Opt out of anything that isn’t essential. Create the space first, then fill it with passion.
 

passions can cause burnout

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on unsplash.com


 

3. You try to do it all by yourself

 

That’s probably the most common mistake. We have stopped thinking in terms of community. Yet nothing is more inspiring and keeps your passions fresh as well as people to share them with.
 

Look for groups, workshops, online communities, and get involved. It’s like blowing on a flame and will give you endless ideas for your passions.

Passions Can Turn Poisonous


 

Abstract:
 

I saw a meme on social media which infuriated me initially. It claimed that Self Care is used to cover up abuse and injustice instead of fighting them. I believe both fighting and Self Care are important, but it made me think.
 

Passion, too, can be used as a balm to smooth over imbalances in life. Maybe “poisonous” is too strong a word, but if passion isn’t prioritised, it can become a distraction from things that need to be addressed.
 

Your mission today is to make sure your passion is a priority, not a band-aid.
 
 

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Task 1: What lights you up?

 

The obvious first step in all this is to know what your passions are. I said it before and I’m repeating myself: Every hobby is valid, but not every hobby is a passion.
 

Passions make you feel blissful, like you’re coming home. They make you forget time. In fact, pursuing your passion is like being with someone you’re madly in love with in some ways!
 

So, what is your passion?
 

Passions Can Turn Poisonous

Photo by Matthew T. Rader on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Don’t let it turn poisonous

 

I keep harping on about prioritising passion for a reason. When a passion, or multiple passions, are at the centre, the rest of life tends to fall into place around them. Things work themselves out almost magically.
 

When you treat your passion like a hobby or an afterthought, it can make you complacent. You get small doses of what lights you up regularly, so you put up with the rest of your life being less than ideal.
 

Ask yourself:

  • What would your life look like if your passion(s) were the No. 1 priority?
  • What are you currently not doing to make this happen?

 

Be brutally honest with yourself, and then take steps. Take a course, get a Coach, do whatever it takes. This is your life time, not a rehearsal. It’s up to you to make it count.

Monday Sparkles: Information Overload vs Action

Information overload, coaching, pursue your passion
A few years back, I went to see Peter Gabriel live (again), and in between two songs he talked about, in his typical insightful way, how these days dictators can no longer get away with “disappearing” people in secret. People will spread the news via the internet to every corner of the earth. He went on to say that ordinary people have never been so powerful, and that we have yet to realise the full extent of that power we hold through modern media.

I’m tickled by the potential, the endless possibilities of this. In a way, I already participate in this with my one-woman freelance business which is conducted through Skype, with people from all over the world, people I never would have connected with if it wasn’t for the internet. Peter Gabriel is right, we have only just scratched the surface of what we can do.

There is, however, a danger inherent in the immediate accessibility of information. That danger is that we will get better and better informed all the time, learn more and more, but fail to actually do anything. And with the constant bombardment from advertising and cute but pointless Social Media stories, we often end up spending a disproportionate amount of time on trivial bits of “news” instead of taking action and living our own lives.
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Information Overload

Have you ever scrolled through Facebook, commented, reacted, clicked and read articles, and suddenly realised you just spent two full hours doing nothing but stare at your computer (or phone)? It’s scary how these things can eat up your time, even if the articles you’ve been reading were actually useful.

Marie Forleo says: “Clarity comes through engagement, not thought.” We try to figure out our lives and move forward, and to that end we tend to collect and consume more information and learning, hoping that this will give us direction and purpose. In reality, though, only action – moving forward, making mistakes, performing course corrections and gaining ever more experience – will give us the clarity we crave.

 

Striking the balance

Some people reject the internet and especially Social Media altogether, but that’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I don’t think we should forego all the amazing benefits of the internet just because we can’t restrain ourselves and “overdose” on information. In the following, I give you some steps to take towards sanity and a productive balance between information and action.

Be smart with your online time. I used to have my email open in one tab and Facebook in another at all times when I was at the computer. Every time I saw a new notification or email, I’d interrupt what I was working on and check it out compulsively. It scattered my focus and made my work take twice as long.

These days, I check email and my social media accounts three times a day. When I receive newsletters (yes, I too am subscribed to some newsletters, just like you read Monday Sparkles!), I save them in a special folder and read them in the half-hour I have allocated each day for “educational reading”. I quickly scan through offers and promotions, reply to business and personal emails, look through my social media accounts, respond to comments etc, and then I close these tabs again. Done.

To cut it short: I recommend using the internet, but use it on your own terms and in your own time.

Spend “offline” time with people who matter. I have recently ramped up my work on my Coaching business, and whilst this is one of my passions and lights me up, it also means more time spent on my own, working, because I also have a daytime job. To balance this, I make a conscious effort to have fun in between, and most especially to meet friends “in the flesh” regularly. I often don’t feel like I’m missing something and only afterwards realise how good it’s done me to actually hug and talk to people I love.

To cut it short: Your passions are important, but so are the people in your life. Make sure to spend quality time with loved ones regularly.

Take action. Forget waiting for the right time, or until you’re ready. If you want to do something, start! Get Coaching (the shortcut to action!), get a teacher, do whatever it takes to get into action mode. If you just keep reading and learning about it, you might get smarter but you’re no step closer to actually living what you really want.

To cut it short: Stop overthinking and take a first step towards your goal today. You can thank me later!

The Money Spending Trap

 

Have you ever noticed the obvious contradictions in experts’ money and abundance advice? Some tell you to save money above all else, others insist that in order to be abundant, you need to live as though you already had material wealth, and treat yourself to luxuries.

When I embarked on my journey to learn about finances and change my money mindset, I often ended up tearing my hair trying to figure out which strategy to use. Remembering how confusing I found it all, was one of the reasons I decided to create my new “Wild and (Financially) Free” program which will be launched next month.

I thought I’d give you a bit of a sneak peak into the contents of the program.

 

Save or “be abundant”?

As usual, it’s not a question of either/or. Instead, you need to go a little deeper and differenciate. Here are a few points to consider:

Saving doesn’t necessarily mean denying yourself what you’d like to have. T. Harv Eker taught me to think of saving as “paying myself”. When I put away a certain amount every time I have money coming in, I think of it as the salary I pay myself.

Spending doesn’t have to mean going over the top either. If you spend money on yourself and things you love, it can make you happier and feeling well-cared for. The trick is to know what to spend money on – simply throwing cash at everything which takes your fancy, is definitely not the way to go.

There is a fine line between impulse purchases and things you truly love. Impulse purchases are pretty things which catch your eye, online or in a sale. You get a momentary rush of happiness from buying it, but it wears off quickly. If you, however, purchase something related to your passion(s), you will get enjoyment from it long-term. These are the things which truly make you feel abundant.

 

The multi-passionate issue

There’s another complication if you happen to be a multi-passionate like me. The issue is that there are simply so many things we love! Applying the filter I suggested in the previous section can still get you in trouble as a multi-passionate; you could always justify your purchases because they aren’t a fleeting wish but represent something you are actually passionate about.

The answer to this issue is prioritisation. Even the biggest multi-passionate cannot focus on everything at once. Here’s an example: For me, the last 12 months were about following my passion for historical combat and archery. In order to get going, I had to spend money on equipment and training, and so everything else took a back seat.

I tend to video the fights at our swordfighting club’s tournaments, and for this I use my iPhone which has a surprisingly good camera. A friend once commented that I should buy a “proper” video camera and I told him that it’s just not in my budget right now. He said it would cost no more than a few hundred bucks, but the thing is, I have so many different passions to spend “only a few hundred” Euro on that I need to draw a line somewhere. Maybe in a year or two, I’ll focus on photography and video, which I also love, but right now my budget is spoken for elsewhere.

 

The key to it all

In my experience, the best way to keep your expenses in balance and be able to both “pay yourself” through saving, and treat yourself by spending, is to allocate your money by percentages. You need to know your fixed expenses every month and figure out which percentage of your income is needed for these. Let’s say it’s 70%. Then all you need to do is allocate the remaining 30%.

You could reserve 10% for gifts, 5% for donatios, 5% as “Play Money” and 10% for saving. Play Money means an amount you can safely spend even on impulse purchases if you so choose. It’s yours to blow, every single month.

With this system, you achieve two things: You will never overspend on anything, because the budget is fixed in advance, and you will grow more abundant as your income increases. Ever notice how every time you get a pay rise, you still don’t seem to have any money left at the end of the month? The truth is that when money is available, we will spend it – unless we have a system in place which allocates a certain percentage to a certain budget.

Make sense? I suggest you try it out. It’s remarkable what peace of mind a simple system like this can bring.

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