Driving and Serving Your Passions

My speech from last month: Serve with Passion.

This last
week I had three encounters that gave me pause about how we define our lives and our passions.
How we define the path we want to be on. People say things to me that influence my own trajectory and I share them here.


I talked to two
young people within two hours of each other about their college applications.
Every year I agree to help someone’s offspring with this joyful process.
Inevitably, the conversation addresses the proverbial life question: “So, what
do you want to be when you grow up?” These young people have been well coached
and they have well-rehearsed and semi-believable answers. These two college
aspirants answered the question identically—“I want to be an Investment Banker,
an I-Banker.” To which, I replied, “Really, why?” (Noticing this as a new trend
among the youth—focus on making money) And they serve up a frothy blend of
rationales that they have been fed by their well-meaning parents. A superficial
Frappuccino of entrepreneurship,
financial upside, and intellectual curiosity
. Then I say, “I think you want
to be a ME-Banker.” Sounding like a horrible stereotyped native American in
some B western. “Doesn’t seem like you want to help others or solve problems,
sounds like it is more about you and making money.” (check out the chart I
lifted from a serious site promoting the profession of I-Banking) They look puzzled
and I say, “Never mind, let’s talk about YOUR education and why YOU want to go
to college.” 

Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Is

A quote from
Steven Pressfield in his interview with Oprah. Love it! Pressfield is the
author of one of my fav books, The War of Art. When will we act on
what we say we care about? How do we overcome our obstacles to place a higher
priority on our relationships, our health, our communities, and our careers? When do we actually invest ourselves in the process of making a difference vs.
wishing we could? When was the last time you planned to change the world, your own

courage to listen to our goodness and act on it.  Pablo Casals

I Am No Longer a Passenger, I Am Driving
My Life.

Had lunch
with a former colleague. She was giving me the usual update on her family and
her job. It was like the predictable script that all of us have endured. Like a
polite sparring match, no real blows are exchanged. It is nothing like boxing.
It is a make believe conversation where no one has fun or gets hurt. We will
have our luncheon update until the next exchange of pleasantries. I could not
take it. So I blurted out, “Aren’t you due for a career change?” She is my age
and has been at the same job for more than 5 years—close to her average tenure.
She looked aghast. “I wasn’t going to talk about this……” She then shifted
into a fully engaged, wholehearted discussion of her plan to get more
flexibility in her schedule, to move from LA and to plot out her retirement.
Recently, she woke up to her mortality and decided that she needed to get
behind the steering wheel of her life. She wanted more time for what was
important to her. Time was more valuable than the money. Moving would make this
possible. “I am no longer a passenger, I am driving my life!”, she exclaimed.
Her office was starting the plans for a new 5 year project she would lead. She
calculated the ages of her kids and estimated her own enjoyable lifespan and
she has been driving ever since.

It’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.  Steven Pressfield 

Pur your
priorities passions on the top of your to-do list. Your heart and your time would be
chief among them. If we taught this to our kids they would be happier and more
fulfilled. We gotta move from I-Banker to I-Driver. 

Thanks for
reading. John


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