Re-Igniting Our Passions

When I joined The XLR8 Team, Inc. back in 2002, I, too, benefited by participating in our week-long “Leadership Excellence” retreat.  I’m a firm believer in “walking the talk” and experiencing our program first-hand was essential to my own development and subsequent coaching of others!  While the markers have changed over the years (and a few of the passions have been re-aligned as well), here is the most recent “compass” which guides me both personally and professionally: Passion #1:  Having peace and harmony present daily!

Quite honestly, this has always been a work-in-progress for me.  Using DISC as a reference point, imagine an “I” living with two “D’s” most of her life ~ you need to pick your battles and not sweat the small stuff.  It’s also given me great insight and perspective as I coach many “D’s” on a daily basis.  I still feel best when I end my day with peace-and-quiet ~ letting the drama and noise slip away!  It re-energizes me for the day that lies ahead . . .

Passion #2:  Appreciating the health/well-being of those I love!

It’s no secret that I always enjoy great conversation, but combining great conversation with exercise (a three-mile daily power walk with my girlfriend) is THE best!  Since we all enjoying cooking in our household, exercise is a must along with creating healthy and well-balanced meals in order to stay fit!  I’m also blessed to have a close-knit family and two loving parents (84 and 77) who are still active in their kids (5) / grandkids (9) / great grandson’s lives.  Even though we don’t all live in the same home town, we enjoy meeting regularly to celebrate special occasions.  I’m not a “camper”, but we’ve been enjoying more of that with extended family as well as a way to stay connected with all the nieces & nephews (19 participated over Memorial Day)!  Who could ask for more? . . .

Passion #3:  Enjoying the “landscape” that surrounds me!

I always try to make the most of the environment I’m in at any given time!  Whether it is gardening (my “think time”), golfing, power walking, reading, movies, biking or entertaining, it always brings me great joy when I’m sharing it with others!

Passion #4:  Enjoying newfound freedom with Tom as empty-nesters!

While Tom & I lead very active lives, we still adhere to our “date night” rituals and often encourage others to do the same.  I’ve coached several people over the years, whereby simply suggesting this very philosophy, they often report back that their relationships have become better for it!  We’ll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this Fall in Aruba ~ can’t beat that!!!

Passion #5:  Coaching enthusiastic clients in reaching their full potential both professionally and personally!

I’ve been so blessed to have two very fulfilling careers:  the first half was as a Human Resource Manager at Xerox Corporation and for the past 10 years as Executive Coach to so many through my work with The XLR8 Team, Inc.!  We’ve included each of our three children in our “Leadership Excellence” retreats during their senior year in college!  We are very proud of our “Teacher” @ Victor High School (Laura) / “Healthcare Coordinator” @ BOND Financial (Molly) / “Director of Business Development” @ The XLR8 Team, Inc. (Andrew) in helping them reach their full potential in the business world!

My business card holder says it all:  “Doing what I love in the service of people who love what I do.”

When rewriting your passions, start back at the beginning...

It had been nearly three years since I had written down my passions for the first time after my junior year of college.  As we embarked on our family journey to live more passionate lives, it seemed obvious that this was the best place to start.  I glanced over my previous list, thinking that not much had changed, but nevertheless began re-reading The Passion Test and started back at square one, with the question "When my life is ideal, I am ______."  It can be difficult to dream big without the inspiration of Janet Attwood's story as guidance and I would highly recommend taking the time to revisit the book when you revise your passions. Lo and behold, when I revised my passions I was blown away that three of my top five passions had disappeared from my list!  My top passion is now "Living a Life of Adventure."  After a post-graduation trip to Europe, I became fixated on seeing the world and found a blog by Chris Guillebeau, ( a man who set the goal of visiting every country in the world by his 35th birthday.  He's just a few countries and a few months away, and has written several books along the way!  While I originally started reading for the travel inspiration, it was his message of challenging the status quo and living the life of your dreams that really got me hooked.  In retrospect, this quest for adventure and new experiences was the impetus for me to quit my stable job for the uncertainty of joining The XLR8 Team.  If I had realigned myself with my passions sooner, maybe it wouldn't have been as agonizing of a decision to make.

My second passion is to surround myself with those that I love.  Of the top four from my previous list, this theme was the only one to survive.  I also expanded what had been my fifth passion focused on health and physical fitness to become "Investing in my body and my mind."  I really try to take a holistic approach to growth both by challenging myself physically and by relentlessly pursuing knowledge of all kinds.  I had a very tough time dropping "Continuously learning and growing" off my list until I realized that investing in my body and my mind as well as the pursuit of new experiences by living a life of adventure encompassed this passion.

Fourth was "Enjoying Freedom."  Another concept that grew on me influenced both by Chris Guillebeau's inspiration, but also my dad.  In Chris' book The $100 Startup, he talks about defining your work by the outputs rather than the inputs.  The average American spends 40 hours per week at work but only 22 of those hours are productive.  So why constrain myself to the typical paradigm?  My interests are varied and like my dad, I tend to get impatient without new challenges to conquer, so why not set my own challenges and work on what I'm passionate about?

The final passion to make my top five is "Giving all that I am to the world."  I joined The XLR8 Team with the goal of bringing leadership development to a younger generation.  I feel quite lucky to have grown up learning about leadership development around the dinner table.  I wasn't even 10 years old when I took my first DISC.  When I created a leadership development program as the president of my fraternity, it really hit home when many of my peers lacked this experience of examining themselves and how they can make an impact on the world.  Many young professionals are not exposed to leadership development until their first promotions.  At that point, it's simply too late.  Although I am still in the process of determining my path both at The XLR8 Team and in life, the one thing that is clear to me is that I must make an impact on the leaders of tomorrow.  Its an ambitious goal, but why not dream big?

Living a passionate life - a family's journey

This is our first blog post since our son Andrew joined The XLR8 Team as a coach and director of business development.  Our daughter, Molly, while employed with another company, is trying to bring the concepts expressed in this blog to her life and current job. We would like to share our journey as individuals and as a family business to live our vision “for all of us to find the courage to awaken to the magnificence of our limitless possibilities!”  Fundamental to this concept is living a passionate life.  To quote Napoleon Hill, author the seminal book on success in 1937, Think and Grow Rich:  “cherish your visions and dreams, as they are the children of your soul, and the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”

As we begin this journey together, we are reviewing our top five passions, using The Passion Test by Attwood and Attwood as a guide.  It became clear to me that passions are the source of courage for all of us.  It has guided me through two very important life transitions – starting The XLR8 Team in 1996 and delaying my retirement to help my son and daughter more fully realize their passions.

Andrew reminded me of this in my Father’s Day card.  He called me “the most courageous man he knows”.  The example I set in 1996, quitting my high-paying executive level job (with a family to support and without a safety net) gave him the courage to quit his job and trade a paycheck for the uncertainty of chasing his passion of following in Elaine and my footsteps to create his version of The XLR8 Team.  It was this vision or passion if you will, that fueled this high risk / high reward move in 1996.  I wish I started at 23!

The most recent transition was delaying my retirement due to my strong passion to coach/mentor the next generation of transformational coaches.  I actually re-wrote this passion about two years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that synchronicities occurred making the timing right for Andrew, which included a change in his relationship status, a dynamite new emotional intelligence assessment called DISCflex, and a burgeoning “movement” called Conscious Capitalism.

You will be hearing about all of this from different viewpoints of our family who range from 23, 30, 50 and 65.  It should be a fun journey, so enjoy and please participate!