Saturday, January 7, 2017

Protect Your Passion

Ah yes, here we are, 2017 – a bright, and shiny new year. For many folks this means reflecting on the past year and making resolutions for the year ahead. Dreams, goals and vows are made by many to better themselves. We promise ourselves to either loose one thing or gain another. We do away with the old and embrace the new. We’re determined to make this ‘the best year ever’ and for some it means improving our inner AND outer selves often with the plan of trying something new – a hobby, sport or job. OR, if it’s not starting something new, it may be to improve on what we started last year.

Some of us already understand the concept of setting and keeping a routine. The three-weeks-to-make-or-break-a-habit rule gets put in place and by the end of January we want to shout LOOK AT US GO! We are sticking with what we started and are enjoying ourselves. We’re on our way! We’re excited, positive, passionate and eager to move forward and keep progressing.

But how do we protect what we started from going off the rails throughout the year? What can knock us down and threaten that passion that got us started in the first place?

The doubters, the belittlers, the naysayers - those who threaten to bring us down.

They might not be spewing negativity directly AT you but they generally generate negativity into the air like a bad fart (however any medical professional will say that farting IS healthy – I’m just stating a fact, not trying to be gross). Those naysayers are the ones who make you feel ‘less-than,’ insignificant, unimportant, not good enough, weak...the list goes on.

And while those naysayers threatening to crush your passion stand by and so readily fart at will, there you are breathing it all in. And by hanging around them, you are letting their negativity crush your passion – and your sense of smell.

Do you continue to hang around them, letting their negativity permeate through your skin and ruin your good time? You and only you can keep them at bay – at a distance. You and only you are responsible for your happiness and fostering and maintaining your passion. No one else.
And that goes the same for self-doubt.

Oh that icky self-doubt (it’s almost worse than those naysayer’s bad farts). We all have a certain amount of self-doubt in us. But the key, as in everything, is learning how to stay strong and not let that self-doubt crush us – and to not let those negative farters feed our internal negativity. If you’re passionate enough about something your inner-strength you didn’t realize you had will see you through that self-doubt. A little bit of doubt is natural, but beating it sometimes doesn’t come so naturally. Determination and remembering your passion will help you kick that self-doubt where it counts. It takes practice to ignore the negativity – inside and out – that can threaten what you love, but if you want it bad enough, you’ll do it.

So when you feel yourself cracking under the weight of that negativity – that bad smell – and your passion is at risk ask yourself, “How badly do I want it?” Reminding yourself of the answer – “I want it bad” – will make you impervious to those negative, smelly ways. Surround yourself with positivity. Distance yourself from those who don’t share your bright outlook. Protect your passion. Negativity is like a bad fart – it can hang in the air for a bit, and sure the smell goes away eventually, but it sure isn’t forgotten, boy oh boy.

I had a floundering year where I ALMOST let – and in some cases, completely let – external forces weaken my reserve and crush my passions. Those external forces seeped into my internal resolve. I struggled to maintain the momentum on some things I started, and in other things I stopped completely. I started to blame every situation and/or person taking away my drive, will and determination from things I loved and wanted to do. But when things didn’t change and went from bad to worse, I soon realized I only had myself to blame for allowing outside factors threaten my plans, resolve, or well-being. I knew I had to make a change and learn from the past years’ set-backs.

True, sometimes things are unavoidable. But perspective is key and we have to not be so hard on ourselves. Taking FULL responsibility for everything happening to oneself can be a heavy, spirit-crushing burden in itself. It’s okay to say “Okay, this and that happened beyond my control, so what can I learn from it all to make me better and stronger?” Learning from those moments will only build up a stronger defense against those naysayers (inside and out) and will only make protecting our passions in the future, easier (plus a good gas-mask always helps).

So this year, as a result of icky things learned (and smelled) from last year, I came up with my own little motto – Protect Your Passion. Even as I write this, little flecks of self-doubt threaten to creep in. What if I fail? What if I’m weak and I let THEM, and ME, win? What if writing this is silly? What if my motto is dumb? What if, what if, what if....? There will always be self-doubt - the trick is to knowing how to work past it.

They say that the pen is mightier than the sword - true that. But the heart trumps all. Writing this was only the first step in committing myself to what I want to achieve and protecting my passion. An icky year taught me that if I’m truly passionate about something – if it’s what I want deep down in my heart - I will do what it takes to protect what I love against the naysayers and against my own self-doubt. I know I will only have myself to blame for not following through. I’m determined to listen to my heart and protect what it loves. Sure there will be setbacks, but I will have only myself to blame for letting anything, or anyone, get in the way of what I want to achieve. I have lessons-learned and determination to help see me through.

Protect your passion and you will go farther than you ever imagined.

I can’t wait to see what the new year brings.

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