How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

Nishant Nair aka Dance FreaX is an influencer and dance choreographer. He has 1M+ subscribers on his YouTube channel.

Brought to you by Haberland Group (HaberlandGroup.com) and Hardy Haberland’s Programs (HardyHaberland.com).

This podcast is brought to you by Haberland Group. Haberland Group is a global provider of marketing solutions. With multidisciplinary teams in major world markets, our holding companies specialize in advertising, branding, communications planning, digital marketing, media, podcasting, public relations, as well as specialty marketing. If you are looking for a world-class partner to work on marketing programs, go to HaberlandGroup.com and contact us.

This podcast is also brought to you by Hardy Haberland’s Programs. Hardy provides educational programs for high performers who want world-class achievement, true fulfillment, and lasting transformation in their lives. He also provides consulting for established brands and businesses that have generated a minimum of $3 million in annual sales. If you need a catalyst for transformation and a strategist for success at the highest level, go to HardyHaberland.com and apply.

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider to rate, review, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts/iTunes. It takes less than 60 seconds and it really makes a difference. Rate, review, and subscribe at HardyHaberland.com/iTunes.

  • More Episodes
  • © 2021 Hardy Haberland

Nishant Nair aka Dance FreaX is an influencer and dance choreographer. He has 1M+ subscribers on his YouTube channel.

Career and Success

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when you were born, you were given a GPS programmed with the destination: “MY PURPOSE”? Then, you would always be alerted to the exact turns to make, and know when you are on or off course to your purpose.

That sounds wonderful, considering studies have shown that having a sense of purpose makes you more resilient, supports you in reaching your life goals, and contributes to a longer, happier, and healthier life.

Well, good news! You actually were born with an internal GPS alerting you to when you are on and off course to your purpose; you just haven’t been taught how to use it. Learn how to use your internal GPS (Guided Passion System) to direct you toward your purpose and live a more abundant life.

Finding Your Passion

A passion is simply a topic or activity that:

  • You enjoy
  • Comes naturally to you
  • Energizes and lights you up
  • Puts you in flow and makes time seem to fly by when you engage in it

It can also be akin to an obsession—something that you can’t get enough of. It’s where you go in daydreams or what sometimes keeps you awake and excited at night.
The spiritual Law of Dharma (or purpose in life) teaches that you have one thing you do, and one way of doing it—that is a particular need in the world can only be filled by your unique expression. Living your dharma all starts with strategically following your passion. Write a list of the topics and activities where you feel any of the above, and these are your passions.

How Passion Leads to Purpose

You have a built-in GPS mechanism keeping you in alignment with your purpose. Its signals are communicated in bodily sensations telling you when you are headed away from or toward your purpose. This GPS is your own personal compass. Your true passions will guide you on your purpose path by sending your body positive signals.

When you fail to honor your true passions, and start moving away from your purpose, your physical self sends out signs of discomfort such as:

  • Low energy or chronic fatigue
  • Feeling trapped, having a pit in your stomach, or digestive disorders
  • Forgetfulness or inability to concentrate
  • Disease, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, addiction

On the contrary, when you follow your passions, and are moving toward your purpose, you experience:

  • Lightness, freedom, and joy
  • Tingling on your skin
  • Abundant energy
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Glowing health
  • Divine timing and synchronicity
  • Magnetic attraction and a natural high

The next time you think about or engage in any passion of yours, notice how your body feels as a result. Once you understand how to use your internal GPS, you will know which passions are truly leading you toward your purpose.

Creating a Strategic Plan to Bring Your Purpose to Life

Once you are clear about which passions are leading you towards true purpose, you may feel called to start a purpose-driven passion project that benefits others.

Bringing your purpose to life requires feedback in the real world, and having a solid plan to launch your passion project is vital to the fulfillment of your purpose. Your passion project plan should:

  • Be built around a specific niche; or use a unique blend of your passions and skills to serve as the answer to a problem faced by a particular segment of the population
  • Have a basic financial plan and structures including a personal savings plan if needed, project expenses, and sales goals.
  • Include specific targeted goals including the objectives of the project. How many people do you want to reach? In what amount of time? How do you want the project to affect your audience? How will you reach your audience?
  • Have a unique brand message and identity as represented in your online presence
  • Present a specific value and voice that is differentiates you from potential competitors in the market

Before starting your passion project you may want to:

  • Ask for advice or mentorship from someone who is a step ahead of where you ultimately want to go
  • Create a positive mindset and using affirmations to build confidence and let go of your fears and doubts
  • Take part-time trainings to develop your passion-based skills in your spare time
  • Become a volunteer to gain experience in an area you are passionate about
  • Find a champion who supports your desires for finding purpose and consulting them often
  • Seek to understand what you care about most, what drives you and what change you want to create in the world. Write it down, have conversations about it, and systematically test your assumptions about what gives you deep purpose
  • Deeply understand how your passions and skills are valued by others

Aligning Passion and Purpose

Ultimately, to know if you have aligned your passions with your purpose through your passion project, your answer should be “yes” to these three questions:

  1. Does my project feel intrinsically natural?
  2. Is it fun and interesting?
  3. Are others and myself getting positive results from it?

Remember, if you are of service to the world, but find yourself miserable, then it’s time to re-evaluate how you are expressing your passions and fulfilling your purpose. Each day, ask yourself these soul profile questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I want?
  • How can I help others? How can I serve?

Trust the answers, have fun following your body’s GPS, and keep taking strategic steps to bring your passion projects to life and fulfill your purpose. Remember, the world needs the expression of your true passions. Learning to use your awareness to follow your passion in purposeful, practical, and strategic ways is the most powerful way to achieve your Dharma and live your purpose each and every day.

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

If you’re struggling to find your passion, you’ve come to the right place.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have no idea what their passion is. As a result, they wander aimlessly through life, doing work that makes them feel uninspired.

According to a new Gallup study on the American workplace, of the country’s approximately 100 million full-time employees, 51 percent feel no real connection to their jobs.

In my opinion, this is a waste of life. You cannot experience fulfillment in life if you don’t love what you’re doing each day.

Are you ready to discover how to find your passion?

Watch the video below:

Do you want to know how to surround yourself with people that will help you discover your passion? CLICK HERE to get instant access to my FREE Mastermind Cheatsheet!

A life without passion is no life at all.

You cannot love your life if you don’t love what you are doing every day. This is why you have to make sure that you are living your life with passion. A passion-driven life is one where you are living in alignment with what makes you come alive inside.

Passion is something that you associate a massive amount of pleasure to. If you are passionate about something you will be more likely to repeat it because it makes you feel good. However, you may not experience pleasure right away. The reason why a lot of people can’t find their passion is that they try something once or twice, make a judgment based on their experience too quickly, and quit when something doesn’t work. They decide that it’s not their passion and move onto the next thing.

The truth is that, anytime that you try anything new, you will suck at the beginning. You have to drop your ego and be willing to go through a “suck” period. Unfortunately, a lot of people allow their past experiences of failure to dictate their present-day choices. The past does not equal the future. Your values, beliefs, habits, and way of being are constantly changing.

Who you are today is not who you were yesterday.

If you’ve written off passions from your past, I encourage you to reconnect with these activities. Be willing to let go of your preconceived beliefs and allow yourself to be open to new experiences. Anytime I try something new I give it one month and a fair enough effort before coming to a conclusion about whether or not I like it. I encourage you to make it a goal of trying something new every month.

If you want to find your passion, you have to explore the buffet of life. You’ve got to be willing to try a lot of different things and break free from your current way of being and living. Happiness research shows that trying new things increases dopamine levels in the brain, contributing to sustained levels of contentment. Approach finding your passion as an adventure.

Take notice of how you feel when you engage in an activity. If you stay in your comfort zone and do things you’ve always done, you won’t grow. In fact, you’ll start getting really bored with life. Don’t live a limited life based on stories and meanings from your past. Be willing to take risks and actively open yourself to new activities and opportunities.

This is how to find your passion in life.

In my next blog post, I will be talking about how you can turn your passion into profit and make massive impact in the world. It will support and build upon the knowledge that I have taught inside this blog post. Yes, it is possible to make money from doing something that you love to do and I’m going to show you how. Stay tuned for that!

You deserve to live a passion-filled life. Don’t stop until you find something that makes you come alive inside and then do everything in your power to master that one thing. Are you ready to find your passion?

Do you want to know how to surround yourself with people that will help you discover your passion? CLICK HERE to get instant access to my FREE Mastermind Cheatsheet!

Nishant Nair aka Dance FreaX is an influencer and dance choreographer. He has 1M+ subscribers on his YouTube channel.

Brought to you by Haberland Group (HaberlandGroup.com) and Hardy Haberland’s Programs (HardyHaberland.com).

This podcast is brought to you by Haberland Group. Haberland Group is a global provider of marketing solutions. With multidisciplinary teams in major world markets, our holding companies specialize in advertising, branding, communications planning, digital marketing, media, podcasting, public relations, as well as specialty marketing. If you are looking for a world-class partner to work on marketing programs, go to HaberlandGroup.com and contact us.

This podcast is also brought to you by Hardy Haberland’s Programs. Hardy provides educational programs for high performers who want world-class achievement, true fulfillment, and lasting transformation in their lives. He also provides consulting for established brands and businesses that have generated a minimum of $3 million in annual sales. If you need a catalyst for transformation and a strategist for success at the highest level, go to HardyHaberland.com and apply.

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider to rate, review, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts/iTunes. It takes less than 60 seconds and it really makes a difference. Rate, review, and subscribe at HardyHaberland.com/iTunes.

  • More Episodes
  • © 2021 Hardy Haberland

Nishant Nair aka Dance FreaX is an influencer and dance choreographer. He has 1M+ subscribers on his YouTube channel.

Career and Success

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when you were born, you were given a GPS programmed with the destination: “MY PURPOSE”? Then, you would always be alerted to the exact turns to make, and know when you are on or off course to your purpose.

That sounds wonderful, considering studies have shown that having a sense of purpose makes you more resilient, supports you in reaching your life goals, and contributes to a longer, happier, and healthier life.

Well, good news! You actually were born with an internal GPS alerting you to when you are on and off course to your purpose; you just haven’t been taught how to use it. Learn how to use your internal GPS (Guided Passion System) to direct you toward your purpose and live a more abundant life.

Finding Your Passion

A passion is simply a topic or activity that:

  • You enjoy
  • Comes naturally to you
  • Energizes and lights you up
  • Puts you in flow and makes time seem to fly by when you engage in it

It can also be akin to an obsession—something that you can’t get enough of. It’s where you go in daydreams or what sometimes keeps you awake and excited at night.
The spiritual Law of Dharma (or purpose in life) teaches that you have one thing you do, and one way of doing it—that is a particular need in the world can only be filled by your unique expression. Living your dharma all starts with strategically following your passion. Write a list of the topics and activities where you feel any of the above, and these are your passions.

How Passion Leads to Purpose

You have a built-in GPS mechanism keeping you in alignment with your purpose. Its signals are communicated in bodily sensations telling you when you are headed away from or toward your purpose. This GPS is your own personal compass. Your true passions will guide you on your purpose path by sending your body positive signals.

When you fail to honor your true passions, and start moving away from your purpose, your physical self sends out signs of discomfort such as:

  • Low energy or chronic fatigue
  • Feeling trapped, having a pit in your stomach, or digestive disorders
  • Forgetfulness or inability to concentrate
  • Disease, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, addiction

On the contrary, when you follow your passions, and are moving toward your purpose, you experience:

  • Lightness, freedom, and joy
  • Tingling on your skin
  • Abundant energy
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Glowing health
  • Divine timing and synchronicity
  • Magnetic attraction and a natural high

The next time you think about or engage in any passion of yours, notice how your body feels as a result. Once you understand how to use your internal GPS, you will know which passions are truly leading you toward your purpose.

Creating a Strategic Plan to Bring Your Purpose to Life

Once you are clear about which passions are leading you towards true purpose, you may feel called to start a purpose-driven passion project that benefits others.

Bringing your purpose to life requires feedback in the real world, and having a solid plan to launch your passion project is vital to the fulfillment of your purpose. Your passion project plan should:

  • Be built around a specific niche; or use a unique blend of your passions and skills to serve as the answer to a problem faced by a particular segment of the population
  • Have a basic financial plan and structures including a personal savings plan if needed, project expenses, and sales goals.
  • Include specific targeted goals including the objectives of the project. How many people do you want to reach? In what amount of time? How do you want the project to affect your audience? How will you reach your audience?
  • Have a unique brand message and identity as represented in your online presence
  • Present a specific value and voice that is differentiates you from potential competitors in the market

Before starting your passion project you may want to:

  • Ask for advice or mentorship from someone who is a step ahead of where you ultimately want to go
  • Create a positive mindset and using affirmations to build confidence and let go of your fears and doubts
  • Take part-time trainings to develop your passion-based skills in your spare time
  • Become a volunteer to gain experience in an area you are passionate about
  • Find a champion who supports your desires for finding purpose and consulting them often
  • Seek to understand what you care about most, what drives you and what change you want to create in the world. Write it down, have conversations about it, and systematically test your assumptions about what gives you deep purpose
  • Deeply understand how your passions and skills are valued by others

Aligning Passion and Purpose

Ultimately, to know if you have aligned your passions with your purpose through your passion project, your answer should be “yes” to these three questions:

  1. Does my project feel intrinsically natural?
  2. Is it fun and interesting?
  3. Are others and myself getting positive results from it?

Remember, if you are of service to the world, but find yourself miserable, then it’s time to re-evaluate how you are expressing your passions and fulfilling your purpose. Each day, ask yourself these soul profile questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I want?
  • How can I help others? How can I serve?

Trust the answers, have fun following your body’s GPS, and keep taking strategic steps to bring your passion projects to life and fulfill your purpose. Remember, the world needs the expression of your true passions. Learning to use your awareness to follow your passion in purposeful, practical, and strategic ways is the most powerful way to achieve your Dharma and live your purpose each and every day.

Japanese concept of work-life balance, Ikigai can give you a fulfilling, happy & long life

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. — Steve Jobs

Have you heard of Ikigai? If not, this TED video gives a good introduction to what Ikigai is about.

Ikigai is the Japanese secret to a long and happy life.

In a southern island off of mainland Japan, Okinawa is home to one of the highest number of centenarians in the world. Okinawa is also where Ikigai has its origins.

Ikigai is a Japanese word, and if you Google the word, you will find this on Wikipedia:

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The term “Ikigai” is usually used to indicate the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile.

It is a mental state that strives to balance where our passions and talents lie in conjunction with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for.

Ikigai can keep us excited about life. Activities that allow us to feel Ikigai are never forced upon us; they are often spontaneous, and always undertaken willingly. These activities give us satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.

Some of us hit the snooze button and later realised that we are late for work. Some of us feel that every single day is the same; that it is just another day in our life. But by being in a state of Ikigai, it fuels us and gives us a reason for being excited to get out of bed every morning. That today is another great day of our life!

Ikigai has health benefits too! According to a study, the presence of Ikigai is correlated with a lower level of stress and anxiety. This reduces cardiovascular disease, keeps us healthy and live longer. That is the reason why people in Okinawa lived longer.

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

To discover our Ikigai, we start by listing the top ten activities we have spent most of our time this week or this year. Let us write them down. For each of these activities, we ask ourselves these four questions:

  • Is that activity something that I love doing?
  • Is that activity something I’m good at?
  • Is that activity something the world needs?
  • Is that activity something I can get paid for?

If the majority of the activities that we have spent the most time on, is a “ NO” to these questions; we are not feeling fulfilled. We are not happy about what we are doing. We dread leaving our bed. We are not excited about life.

If change is what you want, let us figure this out.

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

W hat do you love doing?

Discover your passion that gives us a drives factor. What keeps you in the flow state and burns that inner desire to do more, and to do better.

Our passions are things that we can enthusiastically talk about for hours. It can be straightforward and mundane, like cleaning your house, food, travelling.

You can sometimes also discover your passion by trying out and doing different things, take time to discover it.

W hat are you good at?

Being what are you good at is an essential part of being human. In Japanese, there is a concept called Shokunin. It is made famous by Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Jiro is a sushi chef who is always pursuing the art of perfection and mastery. Jiro, at 89 years old, is regarded as the greatest sushi craftsman alive.

He wakes up every morning and goes to his restaurant every day. Not because he has to but because he is resolved to work harder and do better than yesterday. He is regarded as the best and top of his class. But his endless perseverance for improvement and raising his own bar is admirable.

Knowing that we are good at what we do and that constant pursuit of becoming even better at our craft and skill. There is a sense of dedication, self-discipline and drive for us to live our lives.

W hat can you be paid for?

Money is important in order to take care of your basic needs, provide for your family, and loved ones. Doing what you are good at (your profession) can also be a part of your vocation.

Perhaps you are talented in closing sales or developing software, playing an instrument or speaking in public; you can make it a part of your Ikigai. Be it a talent or a skill, do what it takes to fine-tune your skills, master your talents and grow your purpose.

W hat does the world need?

Mission sounds like a big word to some of us. And we’d like to think of it on how we can impact the world by creating something that can help, by fulfilling a need that the world needs.

We can learn something from Marie Kondo. In this age where consumerism drives people to be able to afford more is a good thing. However, too much of it leads to people hoarding and cluttering our lives with things that we can’t part with.

Marie used her passion and what she is good at to create a message — Spark Joy. This leads to the movement towards simplicity and minimalism. We need this message and the wake-up call to know that life is, not just the pursuing materialism.

You can see Marie’s joy and passion. She is paid for that, to help people go through the process of self-reflection and discovery through decluttering their life!

It is a very simple passion — cleaning and decluttering. But it is what the world needs. Start small, do not be intimidated by the word ‘ world’.

How to Live a Passion Driven Life

You are constantly creating your life, we all are. We create our lives out of the things to which we give our attention, and you attract into your life more of what you put attention on.

If your attention is on the things you don’t have, all the problems in your life, all the bad things that are happening to you, then you are creating more of that.

If you want more problems, more challenges, more unhappiness, then give attention to those things. If you want to find your purpose and live a passion driven life, then give your attention to the things that create those feelings.

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

When you discover your deepest passions, you connect with the essence of who you are. The key to success in life is to live aligned with your passions and your personal destiny will unfold naturally and effortlessly.

When that happens, life becomes an expanding field of joy, happiness, and fulfillment, along with all the same inconveniences, challenges, obstacles, and discomforts everyone experiences. The difference is, on the path of a passion driven life, those things just don’t have much significance.

Finding The Key to Success in Life

Out of fear, people focus on what they don’t want. They’re afraid they won’t have enough money or they’ll get sick or there will be a disaster. One of our favorite sayings is, “Fear is vividly imagining exactly what you don’t want to happen, happening.”

Focusing on what you don’t want is a habit. Whenever you notice that you are focusing on something in a negative way, just say “cancel” and replace that thought with something you choose to create. This is the key to success in life and living life with passion.

Living Life With Passion: Find Your Purpose

Let’s try it right now. Close your eyes and imagine something you fear could happen to you. As soon as it appears say, “cancel” and shift your attention to the opposite. Isn’t that just as likely? You can shift your life just that easily.

Because of neural pathways, these fearful thoughts may continue to come up for a while. Just keep canceling those thoughts and replacing them with their opposites. With a little time new neural pathways will be created and your experience will change.

What will you put your attention on now? What will the best and most amazing experience of your life look like? By now, we hope you understand that you have the power to craft that experience.

You are creating your life and your world in every moment. Want to see how powerful you are? Look at your life.

Creating a Passion Driven Life

It’s not action that creates the desired result (even though it may appear that way). It is your intention directed through the process of attention that creates the result. You can see this is true because in almost every case the way in which a result happens is different from the plan of action created for achieving that result.

Your life today is the result of the predominant thoughts you have held up until now. If you want your life to change, change your mind. It doesn’t have to take a long time to do so and live a passion driven life.

Are You Fulfilling Your Life’s Purpose?

Living life with passion has the power to transform your life into one full of love, happiness and meaning. Find your purpose and discover how you can use your passion for inspiring and empowering others to become an entrepreneur who ACTUALLY makes a difference in the world around you! Click here to learn more about joining the Passion Test family and living a fulfilled passionate life.

Thank you for reading this article about the key to success in life and living a passion driven life.

Take the first step to becoming a Passion Test Certified Facilitator.

How to find your passion and live a fulfilling life

A life of regret is no life at all. Sure, we all have regrets for things we’ve done, mistakes made and opportunities lost. But if we make a conscious decision every day to minimize those regrets, we will lead a happier more fulfilling life. And hopefully those around us will as well.

These sixteen ways to live a happier more fulfilling life come from my past and present experiences from getting it right, as well as getting it wrong. They are delivered in no particular order.

Prioritize your time wisely.

As we all know, life moves at the speed of light. Time is our most precious asset. Wake up each day with a plan to accomplish something meaningful. Something you will feel good about when you turn out the light that night.

Build relationships over possessions.

You won’t be taking your possessions with you nor are they a meaningful source of lasting happiness. The relationships you build and the lives you impact will be your legacy.

Take what you can from life, but always give back.

There is nothing wrong with investing in yourself and your future. For pursuing success in all areas of your life. But one of the best ways to seek happiness is through service to others. Remember that giving time is more valuable than giving money.

Be accountable for your words and actions.

Accountability is the path to true accomplishment. Personal accountability is infectious and others in your life will follow suit. Always consider the consequences of your words and actions. Not doing so can be a fast track to regret.

Be disciplined in your personal and professional life.

Being accountable requires discipline. Discipline is the only way to discover your best personal self: the cross section between purpose, talent and effort. Discipline leads to accomplishing goals and avoiding bad decisions.

Expunge hate from your heart.

Life is too short. This too requires discipline. Hate will consume you, exhaust you and distract from the positive aspects of your life. Put your ego aside and replace it with humility.

Forgive yourself and others quickly.

We all make mistakes, hurt those we love and meander off the path of righteousness at times. The faster we forgive ourselves and others the more time and energy we have for love.

Put your family first.

Your family relies on you to be strong, to lead, mentor and provide for them. Making time for work and hobbies is important, but every now and then we need to remember that making more money or the extra round of golf can wait.

Find purpose in your life’s work.

Without purpose it’s hard to truly be passionate. And without passion it’s impossible to inspire and lead others. Living a purpose-driven life is the foundation of fulfillment and happiness. Find your purpose and pursue it relentlessly.

Chase your dreams and never quit.

As a former Navy SEAL, the never-quit attitude is ingrained in me forever. Just make sure you are pursuing the right “dreams” that will add value to your life and others. Dreams that are aligned with your purpose.

Pursue passions bigger than yourself.

If we don’t break outside our comfort zones and find pursuits that leave a positive impact on the world, we live a very small life.

Don’t hold on too tight.

I often find this very hard to do, but sometimes we just have to let go and have a little faith. There are things simply out of our control and we can drive ourselves crazy trying to contain them.

Lead by example on and off the battlefield.

We all have the opportunity to lead in our lives. At home, work, in our communities. But leadership requires consistency of character. Actions speak louder than words.

Protect those who can’t protect themselves.

This doesn’t mean we all have to grab a weapon and head down range. It can come in the form of a simple gesture. Don’t stand on the sidelines with your smart phone. Do something.

Strive to improve a little bit every day.

If we can attempt to improve ourselves even 1% each day, at the end of a year we will be 37x better than when we started. Improvement requires regular learning, feedback and reflection. But don’t forget to take action as well.

Leave no regrets on the battlefield of life.

As Tecumseh said in his poem “Death Song”:

“When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear death, so that they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

Take a few minutes each day to reflect on how to practice these tips and see what happens!

Adam Braun’s own journey in his new book The Promise of a Pencil.

Posted Apr 16, 2014

I just finished reading Adam Braun’s book The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change. In it, the author shares how he found his own life purpose, abandoning the default plan his family and the larger society had for him (get into finance and become rich) and instead set out to live a fulfilling life by embracing his passion: to change the world for the better.

Finding Purpose in Life

I don’t know Adam Braun personally, but we have friends in common who always spoke highly of both him and the organization he founded, Pencils of Promise. What’s impressive is that Adam is a young man, 30 years old, who performed already the actions of a large life.

The 30 mini-chapters of the book mirror the 30 mantras that upheld the author’s journey. They are inspirational mottos as well as lessons Adam learned along the way. His personal experience as well as the impact of his work, building in a few years more than 200 schools in marginal areas around the world, are a reminder to all of us that leadership is not the rare gift reserved to a few chosen and charismatic unique individuals, but a potential that lies within all of us and that we are all called to awaken by finding our passion and living a purposeful life. The Promise of a Pencil reflects the awareness that life fulfillment depends on making a contribution larger than just ourselves.

Mantras for a Fulfilling Life.

For this post, I chose three of Adam Braun’s mantras that resonated with me in a special way and that I believe are shared not only by those who like me work in conflict resolution and leadership development, but also by those who see in everyday problems and challenges an opportunity for growth.

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.

Since his early teens, Adam Braun dreamed a career in finance. During the college years, though, he questioned his assumptions. He felt the need to be challenged and thus enrolled into the Semester at Sea program. Before taking off, Adam wrote in his journal:

“I’m going to leave everything behind, my biases, my expectations, my comforts, my friends, and my family…”

As a result of that resolution, Adam’s life changed. Curiosity, being open to explore the unknown ready to embrace the surprises that come along the way, are essential attitudes for self-growth and for gaining clarity about one’s own life purpose.

FIND THE IMPOSSIBLE ONES.

A valued mentor to Adam told him he was crazy if he thought he’ll be successful in fundraising given the current unfavorable financial environment. It turns out, the mentor was wrong and Adam experienced an unheard-off success in fundraising for a young organization. Strongly believing in his end-goal, Adam pushed himself and those around him beyond what might be considered safe and rational.

Going after the impossible is the difference between good and great. At the beginning of the 1990s, when Tony Blair embarked in ending the conflict in Northern Ireland, he went with determination after a goal that at the time seemed impossible to reach. Failure, he said to his staff, was not an option. No Good Friday Agreement would have emerged, without that firm belief that the impossible was actually possible.

STAY GUIDED BY YOUR VALUES, NOT YOUR NECESSITIES.

When Adam was already working full time for Pencils of Promise (PoP), the organization he founded, a family friend made him a very attractive business offer, one of those that are difficult to turn down. In fact, Adam was tempted. “I was tormented by the weight of the decision,” he admits in the book. Eventually, Adam turned down that lucrative offer, because, as he writes, you cannot be in love with two girls at once. He decided to stick with PoP, his real love and passion.

Clarity of purpose and of one’s own values is key to remain steady on the chosen path, reach the desired goal and be successful. Transformational leaders, like the experience of Adam Braun shows, are grounded in that clarity.

The Promise of a Pencil makes for a great read. I suggest to read it not only to know the work of an ordinary, yet extraordinary, individual, but also to reflect on how one can grow and contribute to a world in which everyone wants to be part of. How can you awaken the leader that is in you and make a difference?