Aligning passions

Alex Jadad, Chief Innovator and Founder of the Centre for eHealth Innovation, opened our conversation with an intriguing question during the recent Nexus North IDEAS Lab.

"What's your verb?" he asked.

"I'm not sure what you mean," I said.

"What is the verb that best represents you?"

I thought for a moment or two, then said "connecting.  I am a connector."

He seemed pleased with the response.  Later in the day, I went up to him and asked "What is your verb?"

"Questioning," he replied, with a playful look in his eyes.

There is a lot of value in self-awareness.  Recently, I've done some work identifying my passions, finishing the following statement: "When my life is ideal, I am...".

Here were the five passions that floated to the top at this point in my life.

When my life is ideal, I am living in a state of gratefulness.

When my life is ideal, I am creating every day.

When my life is ideal, I am loving well.

When my life is ideal, I am finding moments of simplicity.

When my life is ideal, I am sharing and connecting.

I've written these five passions out in a number of different spots, at home and at work, and find my eyes drifting to them quite regularly.  They provide a quick check-in as to my inner alignment and balance.

In preparing to begin a new chapter in my career, I took these passions and applied them directly to actions I could take on a daily basis.  That process of putting pen to paper, and writing down different ideas about the tangible things I could do within my personal practice to align with my passions was therapeutic and reassuring.  It was therapeutic in the sense that it forced me to identify engrained patterns that might not necessarily be adding value to my life, and that of others.  It was (and is) reassuring in the sense that I can always refer back to the notes if I'm feeling lost or out-of-balance.

My list of actions is pretty simple:

  1. Express gratitude every day.
  2. Spend time in a creative space.
  3. Love better, daily.
  4. Simplify intentionally at least once a day.
  5. Share and connect constantly.

Under each of these commitments are various actions, from taking the bus to work (simplify) to writing a thank you card (gratitude), from paying forward a great article (sharing) to mind-mapping problems or challenges (creating).

I was listening to an interview with John C. Maxwell on the drive to work this morning.  He was talking about the little things done consistently over many years that have made the biggest difference in his life and in his level of success and influence.

These are some of the little things that I'm being intentional about right now, actions done consistently over time that will hopefully make a positive difference.  What are you being intentional about today?


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