Sunday, February 14, 2010

Passion, Purpose, Intention

At the Blissdom conference I mentioned in my last post, I had the privelage of listening to Kevin Carroll ( speak. He was by far one of the most inspirational people I have ever known, and besides telling you a little of his story (which is amazing and heart-wrenching), I want to share some of his thoughts that might inspire you as you start yet another week of what might seem to you like an ordinary life.

So first his story: Kevin and his two brothers hopped from place to place when he was just a little boy because of his mother's drug addiction. He said that to this day he still sleeps on the edge of the bed because they would always have to pack up and leave instantly in the middle of the night. When he was six years old, his mother took them to a trailer and left them for five days before he decided to walk across to a neighbor's house and call his grandparents to rescue them. He then told us that he never heard from his mother again.

As tragic as this was for a child to go through, the catalyst for his life's work was a red rubber ball he began to play with shortly after being taken in by his grandparents. After picking up this abandoned ball at the park and pounding it on the ground in an effort to vent his frustrations, a group of kids asked him if he wanted to play with them. He knew at that moment that one of the greatest satisfactions in life was just belonging - whether that be as part of a community, a sports team, a family, or matters...a lot. AND (this, in my opinion is the most important) that we need to remember the "art of play." With all of our adult responsibilities looming over our heads every day, we forget to find joy in the little things.

In an effort to help all of us acheive what he figured out as a 6-year-old, he wrote a book called, "Rules of the Red Rubber Ball" (I ordered my copy today). Basically, he goes all over the world delivering red rubber balls - soccer, basketball, etc. - to kids who have already mastered the art of play but just need something of quality to play with (the balls he replaces are sometimes made out of trash bags - now that's imagination born out of necessity!!!). So, what he told us is that we all need to have three things:

1. Passion
2. Purpose
3. Intention

When Kevin was done making us all feel like we could take on the world, I really thought long and hard about what these three words mean for me. For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know that I can drag explanations and stories out just a bit too long, so I'm going to sum up my thoughts in fairly simplistic terms.

Passion - I really have two passions: the first is experiencing life with family and friends. I'm incredibly lucky (as annoying as it is to read this) to have some of the best parents, in-laws, and friends anyone could ever have. I of course include my son in this category, but c'mon, that's really just a given. Now when I say experience life, I really mean do everything with them. For example, my husband and I never take a vacation by ourselves, we prefer to have dinner with friends rather than by ourselves (yes, there are rare exceptions to this), and we are always ready to plan the next get-together. My second passion is marketing. It's what I do for a living, but it's really not just my seeps into my personal life in various forms, and I'm always interested in learning as much as I can about it. I honestly feel that if you aren't personally invested in the field you're in outside the walls of your workplace, then find something else! Yes, yes, I know all about the economy, so maybe wait a couple years to take the leap.

Purpose - So what is my purpose in life? The founder of my company once said, "We don't live to work, we all work to obtain the means we need to live the life we want to live outside of this job." OK, so I just got done telling you that I have a passion for what I do for a living. I do...really. But, could I go without the administrative work I have to do since I'm at an agency, or would I love to have my pick of whatever client in the world I want to work with? Of course. My purpose in life is to be the happiest I can be on any given day and to help the people I love most be the happiest they can be. So I work. I work to feed my passions and to "live the life I want to live." I wish I could tell you my purpose was to make a huge difference in a third world country, but you'll have to settle for the fact that I think it's really, really, really important to spread happiness.

Intention - So you're probably not going to be surprised when I tell you that my intention is to make a positive impact on those around me. I have purposefully surrounded myself by people who bring the best out in me, so why not do the same for them?

So, as I think back to Kevin's red rubber ball epiphany, I feel like I know exactly what he's talking about, and I hope I never take life too seriously. What's your passion, purpose, and intention?

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