Category: Pursuing Your Passions


What Are the Best Resources for Pursuing Your Passions?

When I was a little girl I discovered the savory, salty taste of sunflower seeds. I’ve always loved eating sunflower seeds, especially the ones still in the shells. When my dad first noticed how much I liked them, he decided to use that as an opportunity to teach me about growth and the importance of patience.

He showed me how to plant sunflower seeds in order to grow beautiful tall sunflowers. He taught me even though I couldn’t see any growth right away, that didn’t mean I should give up. Digging up the seeds before putting in the effort of watering them and waiting for them to take root would be a mistake. I’d have to wait a reasonable amount of time to see the fruits of my labor.

After sufficient time and watering of the sown seeds, I saw results. The sunflowers began to grow. And grow they did! They were towering over me! I don’t remember how old I was at the time. I just remember they were up to a couple feet taller than me.

Watching Seeds Grow

For the past three years I’ve focused my work on helping people discover and pursue their passions. This includes helping them find ways to incorporate those passions into their careers. And when that’s not possible, helping them find outlets for their passions in other ways and other areas of their lives.

This work has required the planting of seeds. Seeds of confidence and seeds of encouragement.

Other times it’s included watering those seeds so clients’ dreams wouldn’t dry up and they wouldn’t give up when they didn’t see their own growth happening as quickly as they’d like.

For some clients it’s been a fairly quick growth process with a direct line to their next opportunity.

For others it’s been a longer growth process that includes just helping clients get to their first (or second or third) stepping stone that will eventually lead them to a full pursuit of their passion.

There have been small successes, set backs (many of which were blessings in disguise), and big successes (harvests).

I love watching my clients grow in their passions. It’s like watching the growth process of a beautiful tall sunflower.

Resources to Help You Pursue Your Passions

Do you want to sow the seeds of your own passions so you can grow in your career and your life? Here are several resources I’ve developed over the past three years to help you get started in pursuing your passions!

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Why “Keep It Simple, Stupid” Is the Best Career Advice

You may remember my blog post on the lesson of mindfulness. It was a lesson I learned when I went to the new Adventure Park Nashville ropes course.

It was all about how important it is to focus on the moment instead of always thinking and planning ahead (something I’m guilty of).

Well, when I returned to the ropes course and took a friend with me, it was obvious there was another lesson I needed to share with my readers.

This one is based on the old adage,

“KISS: keep it simple, stupid.”

Keep It Simple, Stupid

This time around I did some courses that were higher off the ground and more challenging. But what I noticed is not every element was as challenging as they first appeared.

While applying the previous lesson of focusing on only one bridge element at a time, I’d arrive at a new element and would study its configuration to figure out the best way to maneuver across it.

Upon first glance, most of them looked very complicated.

But instead of thinking too much about how to get across, I would just take the first step onto the element.

Once I did, it suddenly became clear that what looked like a real obstacle requiring a lot of thought and energy to maneuver was really very simple to get around.

We as a society, myself and my clients included, often overthink things when instead we should keep it simple.

Start by Starting

I see this especially in my clients who are thinking about changing careers or starting their own business.

They view the challenge in front of them and immediately start asking a bazillion questions about how they should start.

My response:

“You start by starting.”

I usually get a funny look from them as soon as it comes out of my mouth.

I explain to them it doesn’t matter how or where you start, as long as you take one step to start. There is no certain order you have to follow.

For someone looking to start their own business, it could be something as simple as securing a domain for your future business’s web site for less than $10.

Or it could be first reading Pat Flynn’s book Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money.

For someone looking for a new job it could be as simple of a step as updating your LinkedIn profile.

Or it could be reaching out to one person in your network.

One Step at a Time

When a client asks,

“How do I make this big change?”

It’s just like the phrase of advice on how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time!

Of course the idea of changing careers or starting a business seems very overwhelming at first when looking at it as a whole.

But when you break it down into smaller steps, it’s not as complicated as it first appears. Each step is more simple than the process as a whole.

And once you take the first step, you gain the confidence you need to take the next step.

Before you know it, your steps have added up to a really big dent in your goal.

It’s as simple as that!

To learn more about how to break your goals and obstacles into more manageable steps so you’re not overthinking things, subscribe to my newsletter and receive a complimentary copy of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

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How to Keep Yourself Focused on Your Goals


“Focus precedes success.” Bobb Biehl


I recently got the question, “How do you keep yourself focused on your goals?”

One of the things I do to stay focused on my own goals is to follow what I teach my clients. I help them not just set goals but achieve them so they can pursue their passions in life.

I have an 8-step method to achieving goals that’s always worked for me and also works for many of my clients. 

The method has helped me achieve several short-term objectives over the past few years that have added up to the achievement of some long-term and ongoing goals.


The goals I continually focus on include:

  • Improving my career coaching business.
  • Paying off any and all debts.
  • Saving more money.
  • Learning new things.
  • Having fun and adventurous experiences.
  • Growing spiritually.

For example, just last year I…

  • released my 2nd book,
  • raised $2,500 for my first mission trip,
  • traveled on that mission trip to the jungles of the Amazon in South America (the 4th continent I’ve had the opportunity to visit in my lifetime),
  • took a business marketing class and a financial success class,
  • increased my business’s revenue by 50%,
  • spent more time traveling to see family,
  • took a vacation to Florida,
  • went on a silent retreat,
  • and paid off my credit card debt,

…all while running a business and having to undergo two unexpected surgeries with 6 weeks of out-of-work recovery in that same year.


4 Things That Keep Me Focused on My Goals

When I look at the above list considering all I went through with the surgeries, I wonder how in the world I accomplished so much in such a short time.

But I know there were four things that helped stay focused and achieve all of the above:

#1.

Writing down my goals. 

This one simple act made it more likely for me to achieve my goals. 

I noticed most of the things I wrote down got accomplished while most of the things I didn’t write down, didn’t get accomplished.


#2.

Following the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan I’ve developed for my clients.

You don’t have to be a client to utilize this plan. It’s available for free when you subscribe to my newsletter.


#3.

Keeping track of my goals and the steps to achieving them in my Passion Planner. 

A Passion Planner is a wonderful calendar resource that lets you map out your goals for the year and then shows you how to prioritize the the steps to achieving those goals.

“The key to balance is scheduling your priorities a year in advance.” Bobb Biehl (executive coach and author)

The other great thing about the Passion Planner is that it has wonderful reflection questions at the end of each month, such as:

  • What were the three biggest lessons you learned this past month?
  • How are you different between this past month and the month before it?
  • What three things can you improve on this upcoming month?

#4.

Staying disciplined. 

This is the most important key to keeping myself focused on my goals!

Without those four things, I never, ever would’ve been able to achieve all that I did last year.


While other methods work better for some people, this is what works best for me in staying focused on my goals. 

I’ve also seen it work well for many of my clients. 

Perhaps it could work for you too!

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Related Post: How to Make Money, Stay Fit, and Be Creative: Combine Your Passions

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You Don’t Have To Be a Slave To a Paycheck

You may remember reading about my client Robert in my post entitled “How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job”. Robert is the one who has talents and passions in both illustration and foreign languages.

But instead he had a job he dreaded going to every day.

When you first heard about Robert, he was just starting to turn his passion for illustration into a side hustle with the hopes of eventually leaving his job pursuing it full-time.

Over the weekend I received this update from Robert. It truly is inspiring, and can show how applying paNASH’s coaching techniques can be life-changing!


A Drastic Career Change

Hi Lori,

I hope things have been going well for you. I’ve finally had some drastic changes in my career take place recently I wanted to update you on.

A couple of years ago I found out there was an instructor at Lipscomb University who used to be one of the top tier animators for Disney feature films for 15 years. He animated moves like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

Once he left Disney, he moved here to the Nashville area. Then, Lipscomb University recruited him to teach and develop an animation program.

I had heard about him and for a long time I’d always wanted to get in touch with him. He’s a real celebrity in the animation world and has numerous connections in the industry.

I thought it would be so cool to connect with a guy like him and to learn from him. It had been bugging me for two years that a resource like him lived just 20 miles away and I’d done nothing to try to make that connection.

So, in March, I finally got up the nerve to reach out to him.

I sent him an email explaining my passion for character design and told him how I’m trying to transition into the industry. I asked him if he was open for a discussion and he agreed to meet with me.

It turns out he’s a very kind, generous person willing to help aspiring artists as best he can.

I asked him if it would be possible to audit just one of his classes at Lipscomb. He said yes and after coordinating it with Lipscomb’s admission’s office, I registered for his character design class that would begin in August.

The Inevitable Obstacle

I was so excited!

However, there was one huge problem.

The class was held mid-day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This of course conflicted with my work hours at my job in Hendersonville.

I would have to be away from the office a few hours three days a week, just to take a class that has nothing to do with my job. I knew my company would never approve such a request for that much time away from the office.

So, my wife and I started praying about what to do.

Having a mentor is absolutely essential for an artist to fully reach his potential. I’d already been praying for two years for such a mentor who could help me grow as an artist.

It looked like God was providing an answer and an opportunity for me to learn from the best of the best, but there was the obstacle of my job. Lots of prayer and discernment ensued.

A Fork in the Road

By July God was still putting it on my heart to not let this opportunity slip by.

At this point I decided to sit down with my boss and explain my situation to see if there was anything that could be worked out with my company.

My boss is a very understanding guy and he knows art is my passion, so I knew he would get how big of an opportunity this was for me.

I asked him about the possibility of working remotely on the days I had class. I’d read the book The 4-Hour Workweek you suggested to me when I was asking you about how to pitch working remotely to my company, so I was using what I learned because it was my only chance of keeping my job and taking the class.

When I pitched my idea to my boss, he was supportive, but HR was not.

This didn’t surprise me.

It seemed clear at this point I wouldn’t be able to keep my job and take the class. I was at a fork in the road. I was going to have to choose between my job and my dream.

And I was going to have to make a decision soon because the class was starting in a few weeks.

A Paycheck Isn’t Worth the Unhappiness

My wife and I continued to pray and we talked about it until we were blue in the face.

Through all this prayer and discernment, I realized the only thing keeping me at my job was money. Everything else about my job was not worth staying on for.

I realized it was a dead-end job because if I stayed, I’d be stuck doing the exact same thing ten years from now.

Literally I was showing up every day just for a paycheck.

The most interesting thing I realized though was the paycheck wasn’t as important as I originally thought.

Yes, everyone needs money. But being constantly unhappy was not worth the money.

My wife and I discussed our finances and figured out with her income and our combined savings, we’d be fine for at least a year. She gave me her blessing and support.

She’s the most loving and supportive woman I could’ve possibly found in this world. She told me if God was calling me to pursue my talent in art and we had enough money to make due, to go ahead and leave my job for my passion.

So I gave my boss two weeks notice.

My last day of work was August 17th and my first day of class was August 20th.

It’s a Faith Journey

Now, I’m free of my soul-sucking job and I’m finally getting to do what I’ve been dreaming of for years! (In fact, I’m writing this email from a computer on Lipscomb’s campus!)

My plan is to spend the semester taking the class and practice my skills to get them to a professional level while also building my relationship with the instructor.

Then, when the semester ends in December, I’ll assess my next steps.

The instructor is known for helping connect his students with other people in the industry. I’m hoping he’ll do the same for me even though I’m only auditing his class.

Since starting the class a few weeks ago, I’ve been making the experience my new full-time job.

I arrive on campus every morning at 7:00am, whether I have class that day or not, and I stay until 4:00pm. I spend my time honing my craft, taking the class, networking with other artists, and building a professional relationship with my instructor.

It’s been great but it’s also been a challenge spiritually and emotionally.

The devil is trying to break me down every day by telling me I’m wasting my time, I’m a selfish, irresponsible husband and it’s ridiculous for me to chase my passion while my wife works.

I expected this to happen because I knew the devil would do this.

And most days it’s hard not to let it get to me. But that’s what comes with the territory of a faith journey.

And this is definitely a faith journey.

No Longer a Slave to a Paycheck

Now that I’ve settled into my new schedule, I’m going to start advertising around campus my Spanish tutoring skills. I think it would be a confidence boost to earn at least a little money while also helping others.

I find I work best when I move between two different things rather than focusing on just one thing.

This will allow me to make my own schedule and charge what I’m worth instead of working part-time waiting tables.

I’m also going to start using the Passion Planner you gave me at paNASH’s client mixer to better structure my day and maximize my time.

For so long my job was holding me back and I was just a slave to a paycheck.

Now I’m finally doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m not doing it full-time YET, but I am still receiving commissions for my artwork as a side hustle which is helping fund my dream while I learn from the best.

Thank You!

I write all this to say your help is partly what enabled me to arrive at this major career decision to pursue my passion.

The skills you’ve taught me, the encouragement you’ve given me, and the resources you’ve connected me with have all played a huge role in getting me to this point.

And you don’t know this, but your blog posts have really been an inspiration to me as well.

Specifically, the one entitled “When Is the Right Time to Leave Your Job?” was published the exact same day I had to make my final decision about quitting my job, and it helped me know for sure I was doing the right thing.

And the one you wrote the following week about the ropes course also reassured me I’d done the right thing.

Those two posts were divinely orchestrated at just the right time for me.

I really wanted to thank you for the help you’ve given me and especially for being available on occasion even after our coaching sessions were over.

I wanted to share all this with you so you could see the fruit of your diligent work with me.

Thank you!

Robert

Robert’s Art

Reading Robert’s email made my whole week!

He’s such a talented and gifted artist, and I believe in him so much last fall I commissioned him to do a drawing of me as my childhood hero, Wonder Woman. (I’d always wanted to be Wonder Woman when I grew up!).

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Illustration by Robert Hughes

And he’s also taking commissions from anyone else who’d like something similar.

In fact, he’s currently taking pre-orders for personalized holiday cards in which he’ll do cartoon characterizations of your family members! (See samples below.)

To submit your own pre-order, email Robert at rchughes2@gmail.com.

paycheck

Illustrations by Robert Hughes

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How to Have a Good Life: Do These 7 Small Things

What does it take to have a good life?

As a career coach to those currently going through career and life transitions, I often have clients coming to me because they’ve realized their jobs are eating away at their personal lives.

They feel like they’re life is no longer good because they’ve lost their passion or can’t enjoy their passions due to the rat race.

When this happens, I guide them through several exercises to help them get unstuck so they can either move forward or move on to something new.

These exercises include the following seven small things you can do to help you have a good life.

And who knows? Maybe one or more of these exercises will help you discover a new purpose for your life and career!


1. Know What Energizes You and What Drains You

Pay attention to the daily things that energize you and the daily things that drain you. Be aware of what gives you peace and what stresses you out every day.

Incorporate more of the energizing and peaceful things into each day, while reducing the number of draining and stressful things.

Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries to accomplish this if you have to.

One very simple thing I do is I don’t take phone calls from people I know who will drain my energy unless I have enough energy to give them. I usually wait and call them back when I have the energy to do so, but within a reasonable amount of time (within 24 to 48 hours).


2. De-clutter

De-clutter and get organized!

Get rid of clothes you no longer wear. Get rid of devices you don’t use.

Straighten up your surroundings. Make your bed everyday.

Organize your schedule a few days ahead of time.

Having things neat and organized creates a sense of serenity.

A few years ago I reduced my closet down to a capsule wardrobe (about only 30 garments). I got rid of 2/3 of my closet.

Since doing this, I don’t have as much trouble deciding what to wear each day, and therefore I don’t get frustrated and don’t waste time trying on several different outfits.

This also makes me less moody in the mornings and I get out the door on time.


3. Treat Yourself

Treat yourself every once in a while.

If you’re the type of person who never puts yourself first, you need this!

One of my favorite ways to treat myself is going out to eat with a friend.

Another way I treat myself is making time in the middle of the week for my favorite hobby, stand-up paddle boarding.


4. Become Uncomfortable

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who goes overboard treating yourself, find a way to become uncomfortable. This will challenge you and build your character.

Step out of your comfort zone by taking a class to learn a new language, or volunteer in a setting that makes you nervous. Do something that seems scary, like speaking in front of a group.

Maintain a balance by rewarding yourself only after you’ve done something productive or something where you’ve served others.

My personal goals each year are to learn something new, serve others, and share my knowledge.

While I was able to do all of the above in one week while on my mission trip to the Amazon jungle, I’ve found it easier and more manageable to spread these things out over the course of a year instead!


5. Ask, Listen, & Apply

Ask about and learn from other people’s stories.

Listen to them.

Find out how they got to where they are.

What have been their biggest regrets thus far?

What did they learn from both their failures and their successes?

Apply what you learn from them to your life in your own unique way.

I love having one-on-one conversations like this with people from different backgrounds.


6. Break Out of Your Everyday Surroundings

Break out from your everyday surroundings once in a while.

Take a drive to a nearby town and be a tourist there for the day. Or go visit an attraction in your own town you’ve never been to.

Every year I drive two short hours away to spend a weekend at a monastery where there is complete silence.

They have accommodations and a cafeteria for people to come there for a silent retreat, and it only costs the amount I’m led to give as an offering.

It’s one of the most peaceful weekends of my year.


7. Reflect

Take time to reflect on what you’re truly passionate about (note: this requires some peace and quiet!).

What are the things you lose track of time doing?

What are things you’d do without getting paid?

Incorporate these things into your life as recreation or find a way to make money doing them.

My own passions include helping others pursue their passions, writing, and stand up paddling. I’ve found a way to incorporate all three into my work as a career coach.


How to Get Started on Having a Good Life

If all these ideas sound a bit overwhelming, just choose one or two to try for right now. Give them a long enough chance for them to become habits. Once they do, then try a couple more.

You can also get started by subscribing to the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. Following the steps in this plan will help you not just set goals, but also achieve them!

Before you know it, you’ll see a major impact on your life. You’ll have more joy, peace, and positivity. You’ll have a good life!

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