The Passion Test

Kelly Kloss, former CAO of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, now in a similar role with the City of Fort Saskatchewan, once waxed eloquent on the virtues of SUCCESS magazine.  I'm so glad that he did because I eventually picked up a copy when I spotted one in my neighborhood Safeway, waiting to go through the self check-out line.  The CD it contained made its way into my vehicle and has been listened to dozens of times since.  Eventually, I subscribed to the publication and now it arrives faithfully at my front door every month or so.

My commute to the office isn't terribly long, but I still pop in one of the Darren Hardy (Publisher of SUCCESS) interviews and allow it to settle into my bones.  The commute home, especially after 4:30 on a busy weekday, provides an additional 10 or 15 minutes of "driver university".

There are many interviews that resonate like Robin Sharma's discussion "On living a well-rounded life of excellence" where he repeats several times the notion that "it's the little things done consistently that make the biggest difference."  I've listened to Sean Stephenson's interview a dozen times, about his life story and his life purpose to "rid the world of insecurity."  David Horsager's thoughts on trust transference really resonated, as did Dr. Robert Cialdini's expertise on influence.  But it was Chris and Janet Attwood's story about their incredible journey with The Passion Test that compelled me to order their book and begin to review and understand my own passions.

Similar to Sean Stephenson's When Life Works list, The Passion Test asked me to complete the following sentence:

When my life is ideal I am...

The exercise involves answering that question in as many ways as you can, the paring them down to the five most resonant answers.  These were the five that rose to the top for me.

When my life is ideal I am:

  1. Creating every day
  2. In a state of gratefulness
  3. Loving well
  4. Experiencing and/or striving for simplicity
  5. Sharing and connecting
With some of these passions I am exceptionally strong.  I'm particularly competent at sharing and connecting, as this has become an integral component of my personal practice.  The first 90 minutes of my day, before my family wakes up, are spent scanning the Fort McMurray Today and the social media universe for important information, good news stories and ideas and images worth sharing.  In many ways, this routine constitutes my Zen time, an essential part of my day that energizes and inspires me for the work that lies ahead.

Generally speaking, I am pretty good on the gratefulness front.  Though, like most everybody, I'm prone to getting stuck in the muck from time to time.  Long story short, I'm much happier when I see that glass being half full, when I can see the positive in things and in people. 

Whether it is through writing, problem solving, innovating, carpentry, drawing, painting, acting or taking pictures, I manage to create something every day.  Looking back on my life, as far back as being the age that my son Ben is now (9), I was a doodler, an imagineer, a creative dreamer.  

I definitely need to do some work on the simplicity side.  When time is on my side, I relish being able to declutter, spend time on labour-intensive time-consuming singular focus tasks (picking up recycling, doing the dishes, getting the laundry done, building or fixing something), and stopping to smell the roses, watch the sunset, feel the breeze on my face.  However, I find that with a very busy political, personal and community life, I don't make the time to slow down and simplify often enough.

When I'm loving well, life is outstanding.  But I struggle being a consistently demonstrative and communicative husband, father and friend to be completely honest.  I'm working on it, but this is the area that needs the most focus in my life.

Part of The Passion Test process is writing down the five things I need to do to make my life ideal and posting them in areas where I'll see them.  The other reality is that something better could pop into my life at any moment and require my attention and intention.  That's the meaning behind "THIS or something better" on the bottom of my reminder card that is tacked on the wall to my right in my home office.

If you find yourself in traffic, seeing valuable time drift away while you stare at the tailgate of the car in front of you, consider popping in a SUCCESS CD and see what ideas, strategies and stories jump out for you.


  1. I have found myself on this path again since Christmas, it has been fun rediscovering some of the simple things that give me pleasure in life...reading, writing more, being with friends, and planning different outings with the kids. But now I am going to go pick up this book, lol. You probably follow Sean on Facebook already, he has some wonderful insights on his page.

  2. I think it's so important to endure in the things that make us happy. And what I took from this is that there's always more room for self-improvement. I'm not perfect and I like how you put it, "getting stuck in the muck". I find when I smile at strangers, I often get a smile in return. It's something that simple that can make my day and keep me positive.


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