Tag: passion


Sunday Inspiration: Do You Have a Passion That Surprises and Delights?

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly blog posts. Enjoy!

Meet Ed. Ed is a friend of mine I met about three years ago in an art class I took. He’s a retired guy who has a heart for helping other people make the transition from career to retirement.

Ed also has a passion for a rather unique skill he learned 40 years ago. This skill isn’t something he set out to learn. Instead he remained open to the idea of new things, and as a result found a passion that not only surprised him, but also surprises a lot of people. It’s a skill and passion he doesn’t earn money for, but instead uses to give back to others.

As you read Ed’s story, think about when the last time was you kept yourself open to learning something new. Do you have a skill or passion that maybe doesn’t earn you money, but gives you joy when you use it to give back to others? Does it serve as an outlet for you and give you purpose?

Ed’s Story

I play spoons. I’ve played spoons for over 40 years, ever since my wife surprised me for my birthday and took me, along with the friends she had invited, to a concert.

Two gentlemen representing the Smithsonian Institute were touring the country playing a concert of authentic American music—sea chanties, Dixieland jazz, blues, and a host of other music all born of the diversity we have in this country. The highlight for me was “Turkey in the Straw” with Jew’s harp, washboard, hambone, and, my personal favorite, the spoons.

At the end of the concert, we were invited to see the instruments and get a spoon lesson. Before that day, I’d never seen or heard spoons played. I was surprised and delighted.

Our party then headed back to my house for birthday cake. The guitars came out, we raided the silverware drawer, and we all tried to play spoons.

 
Here Bill, Lanette, Sheryl, and Carol all give the spoons a try in our living room.

Shortly afterward, my friend Earnie asked me to join a small group to play at a church gathering. Since I couldn’t blow on my clarinet and sing at the same time, he said, “Bring your spoons.” I spent that summer learning to play spoons—and sing at the same time. The effort has paid off with a lifetime of fun and meaning.

The group Earnie formed grew and became the Blakemore Boys Bluegrass Band. For 35 years we sang at church events around town, also for the infirm and homebound. We took our music to hospital beds, visited nursing homes, and did special fundraising concerts and caroling. One highlight was performing and recording a Christmas cantata that Earnie wrote.


Earnie, John, Earl, Kathy, Mary Ellen, Bob, and I surprise the neighborhood as we sing carols door to door, fundraising for a Nashville daycare center.

Bob, one of the band members, then invited us to form a new group that plays almost exclusively in nursing homes. September 2018 marked our eighth anniversary of playing at least three times a month. Our repertoire of gospel and old hymns is very popular among patients and staff; most everybody knows the words and many sing along as they are able.


The camera caught Earnie, Bob, me, Clare, and Jim by surprise.

Surprise and Delight

I tell you all this to offer a backdrop to 43 years of what I call surprise and delight.

One of the earliest things I did after learning how to play the spoons was to invent and use the “Happy Birthday Cha, Cha, Cha.” It’s pretty much the same as the original except that most lines end with “cha, cha, cha.” I lead the singing of that at most birthday parties I go to at home or elsewhere. But for me, the most fun is at restaurants. You see, I try to make it a surprise.

My favorite gambit is to solicit some volunteers to be a cha, cha, cha chorus. I like to find a table with two to four youthful guests. I’ll go sit down with them. By the time I’ve shaken everybody’s hand and introduced myself with, “It’s good to see you,” two are convinced they know me but don’t remember how.

I invite them to come sing cha, cha, cha backup and surprise my friend. So… off we go back to the table where the birthday boy or girl is usually very surprised—and once the embarrassment wears off—delighted as well.

I’ve done this so often and for so many years nobody in my family is embarrassed any longer. People do get wary, though. Our friend Lanette wanted no surprises at the Spaghetti Factory and asked whether I’d brought my spoons. I truthfully told her I hadn’t, but when it was time, my wife passed me the spoons we’d hidden in her purse. It’s all about surprise and delight.

I also like to show up and play impromptu with different bands. I have played with a Dixieland band on a Mississippi River paddle boat, a mariachi band in a restaurant, an Eagle’s cover duo on St Martin’s Island, and a Cajun band, as well as several street bands in New Orleans. I also got to play a solo with a jazz quartet in the swanky Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans at a Mother’s Day brunch. Very cool.

  
My wife and I play with a Cajun band, and I play with a street band in New Orleans.


I definitely surprised the jazz group on Mother’s Day!

As often happens after I play, two kids invited me over to show them how the spoons worked. They were surprised and delighted.

One time the table was turned on me. When I was leaving a restaurant where we’d celebrated my daughter’s birthday with my signature song, I heard coming from the kitchen the unmistakable sound of two spoons banging together. These weren’t just the usual kitchen noises! I found some of the wait staff trying to work with spoons to get the sound right. I took some time and gave them a spoon lesson. I was surprised and delighted that day.

I was surprised and delighted again one afternoon in a nursing home. We saw a mother and daughter on the sideline that afternoon. Mom had her head on her daughter’s shoulder most of the time, but she was singing along with her daughter. Afterward, the daughter came up to thank us for “bringing Mom back.” Mom had Alzheimer’s and hadn’t talked in over a year. The daughter told us that she had grown up singing those songs to her mother’s piano playing. For that one brief hour, we were able to bring Mom back for an encore.

I was surprised and delighted.

Singing in nursing homes is fun but also eye-opening. Some patients walk to the performance on their own. Many more have some sort of conveyance like a walker. Still, others are brought in a wheelchair or bed. It’s not uncommon to see people hang their heads and slump in their chairs. Some even seem asleep.

After the music one afternoon, I went out to meet and greet some listeners. I saw a head rise off the table; I stuck out my hand to shake his and said, “Hi, I’m Ed. Did you enjoy the music?” Straight away I felt his grip tighten on my hand and heard a whisper, “Oh. Very much. It was great.” I had thought he had slept through the whole concert. But no. I saw an unmistakable light in his eyes.

I learned a valuable lesson that afternoon, one that I hope you take to heart too: Surprise and delight are universal. I knew that kids could be surprised seeing spoons played. I knew that musicians could be surprised and sometimes delighted by hearing a well-placed burst of rhythm from what they thought an unlikely source. But… I hadn’t known that even if you can’t talk anymore or raise your head or clap, there is still room for surprise and delight in your heart.

Never give up on life. Take surprise and delight with you. You may one day be like the man who couldn’t raise his head off his arms but was still open to surprise and delight.

Ed Zinkiewicz
…the retired guy

How to Make 2019 the Year of No Regrets


Like most people, my biggest regrets in life have been the things I didn’t do as opposed to things I did do.

One of my biggest regrets was not doing a study abroad experience to Australia while I was in college. I’d waited too late to inquire about it, when I had only one semester of school left.

This was a big regret because I’d always wanted to go to the land Down Under ever since I was a little girl.

Since I didn’t get to go in college, I tried to make up for it several years later by taking a month-long vacation to Australia as a gift to myself for my 30th birthday.


Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

The Cons

There were a lot of reasons not to go on the trip.

Like the fact that it cost a good chunk of money.

And that I was in the midst of a new relationship.

Or that I would have to go by myself since none of my friends could take off that much time from work.


Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

The Pros

But there were also a lot of reasons for me to go.

The trip would occur during my birthday. I’ve always wanted a summer birthday, and in the Southern Hemisphere I’d get to have one.

I’d be gone during winter break, the same time my students at the college I worked at would also be away. Therefore I wouldn’t put an extra burden on my co-workers.

I had enough time built up to take off 7 weeks from my job at the time (and still had an extra 10 days of vacation left over).

Also, being single with no children made travel and travel planning easy. It could be another 18–20 years before I’d have that kind of freedom again!

Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, Northern Territory

Not Letting the “Maybes” Cloud My Judgment

I can remember my initial thoughts when trying to decide to book the trip or not. They went a little something like this:

“Maybe I should wait until I’m married and go to Australia on my honeymoon.”

OR

“Maybe I should wait until I’m retired when I have more time and money.”

I quickly pushed those thoughts aside.

I knew there was no guarantee I would even be physically able to go when I retired.

And why in the world would I want to wait on some man to take me when I can do this now?

So, I hopped online, did a little research, and found a very reasonably priced flight.

I still wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for a month-long excursion, but I had 9 months to figure it out.

I gave myself a few days to sleep on the information I’d researched. And then I booked my trip.


Uluru/Ayers Rock, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory

No Regrets (Except One)

I’ve never regretted my decision.

In fact, if I hadn’t done it then, I would’ve spent the past 15 years regretting it.

My only regret?

Not doing it sooner.


Kata Tjuta/The Olgas, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory

8 Ways to Make 2019 the Year of No Regrets

1. Don’t settle for “good enough.”

“Most people settle for ‘good-enough.’ Their diet, dating partners, job, income, and relationships are all merely ‘good-enough.’ But since their choices are common, that’s what their life becomes.” — Anthony Moore

I could’ve settled with my “maybes.”

I could’ve blindly accepted my initial thoughts of deferring the trip until I was married or retired.

And I could’ve rationalized those thoughts were a “good enough” plan.

But guess what? Fifteen years later I’m still not married and I’m not even close to retirement.

In fact, since then, I left the security of a job with retirement benefits to start my own business (something else I don’t regret).

While today I’m probably the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, undoubtedly due to leaving a 9–5 job working for someone else, I know I wouldn’t have the energy I had when I was 30 to do all the rock climbing, hiking, and snorkeling I did in the 115 degree heat of the Outback and the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Every day I’m so glad I didn’t settle for “good enough.”

I encourage you not to settle for just “good enough.”


Airlie Beach, Gateway to the Whitsundays

2. End the wrong relationships.

So what about the relationship I’d just started a few months before going to Australia? It ended one week after I returned.

Even though it was heartbreaking, looking back I’m so glad the relationship didn’t work out. (What a regret that would’ve been if it had!)

Don’t wish you hadn’t wasted time in an unhealthy relationship.

Instead, start the year knowing you can make it on your own and you’ll be available for an even better relationship before or by the end of the year.


Whitsundays’ Long Island, Queensland, Australia

3. Say no to opportunities that don’t support your life mission statement.

Speaking of relationships, I’ve written before about how I had to make the decision to end a relationship a little over a year ago because I recognized it didn’t allow me to fulfill my mission in life.

Having a life mission statement in place will help you to say no to choices you’ll regret later.


Whitsundays’ Long Island, Queensland, Australia

4. And say yes to opportunities that do support your life mission statement.

A life mission statement will also help you say yes to some pretty cool things you hadn’t previously challenged yourself to.

Even if nothing materializes from these opportunities by the end of the year, you can know it wasn’t time wasted because these things will have led you further in fulfilling your mission in life, which may lead to something even bigger and better down the road!


Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Australia

5. Learn something new.

Don’t let another year pass having not learned the one thing you’ve always said you wanted to learn.

Instead, end the year knowing you’ve developed a new skill.

I personally have always been a big believer in lifelong learning and continually encourage my clients to embrace also it.

Just recently I signed-up for a six-month Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and self-defense program. And in February I plan to take a class on investing.

I hope by the end of 2019 I’ll be more knowledgeable about stock options, and become quicker in my reaction time to defend myself if the need ever arises.


Mount Tyson, Queensland, Australia

6. Start that side hustle or passion project.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb

If there’s something you’ve wanted to start, whether a hobby, a side business, or a passion project, what are you waiting for?

Just start!

Don’t put any pressure on it to be perfect or even successful. Just let it be a creative or fun outlet for you from your everyday routine.

Let it evolve and be open to what it might grow into organically.

For instance, a few years ago I started writing a blog about my adventures in stand up paddling and the spiritual parallels of those adventures. It was really just a place for me to record and preserve my thoughts. I didn’t promote it at all.

My little side project turned into my 2nd published book, which eventually helped fund my 2017 mission trip to the Amazon jungles of Brazil.

You never know what can happen with your own passion project. And you’ll definitely never know if you never start.


Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

7. Turn your side hustle into your full-time gig.

If you start to see some momentum with your side hustle and discover a market for it, it may be time to consider turning it into a full-time gig. Especially if you already know how to think like an entrepreneur.

It was much easier for me to start my own business after working it part-time for 9 months before going full-time with it.

But, eventually I had to pull the trigger and take a leap of faith because I knew it would never be the right (or perfect) time to leave my job and pursue my business full-time.

While being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, if you’ve got the desire to do your own thing and you’ve calculated the risks and counted the costs, this year may be the year to give it a go.

If it doesn’t work out, you may have some regrets, but you won’t die.

And you’ll never have to live with the regret of never having tried.

You may even experience freedom and success like never before!


Airlie Beach, Gateway to the Whitsundays

8. Develop your positive self-talk.

You’ll never be able to accomplish the above if you keep listening to your negative-self talk.

What if I had listened to my “maybes”?

What if I had told myself I couldn’t go to the other side of the world by myself?

Well, I don’t have to wonder “What if?”

Instead, I have memories of the places I visited, the beauty I experienced, the wildlife I saw, and the people I met. Some of whom I still keep in touch with to this day.

When you start to hear the negative thoughts that are determined to keep you in just a “good enough” existence, re-frame them with positive self-talk.


En route to Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Australia

Stepping Out in Faith

Shortly after I’d stepped out in faith and booked my dream vacation to Australia, things started to fall into place.

I found a fun part-time gig to help me earn a little extra money for the trip.

Also, I received a sum of money previously owed to me which covered the remainder of my cost for the trip.

And remember how I said I was able to take 7 weeks off of work and still have 10 vacation days left over? This all occurred because at the time I worked for a state university and for two years in a row we didn’t receive a raise.

To compensate us for it, we were all given 20 extra vacation days on top of our annual 3 weeks’ vacation time for salaried employees.

Add in to that the vacation I’d already accrued and amount the holidays we all got off during winter break and I had it made!

I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family before leaving for Australia.

Then I spent my birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s Down Under.

Finally, I was able to have a week for some much-needed rest and time to readjust my internal clock before returning to work, just in time for the students’ return to campus.

Without the vacation compensation, I probably wouldn’t have had so much time to really relish the experience.


Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

The timing turned out to be perfect and “the stars aligned” for it to all work out. But I had no way of predicting all those things would happen. I didn’t have a crystal ball telling me it would all work out.

I just had to take a chance while at the same time being smart about it. And I’m all the better for it.

Now I have no fear of traveling alone (or doing anything else alone for that matter).

I have more knowledge about the history of one of the most fascinating continents on earth and a new respect for its native people, the Aborigines.

I no longer have a fear of bugs. (Sleeping on the ground in the Outback where the spiders are the size of your fist will help you overcome any fear of bugs pretty quickly!)


Sydney, New South Wales

If you can commit to all eight, you’ll likely end the year with no regrets.

And who knows where that will lead you in the years to come!

Related Posts:

All photos by Lori Bumgarnerno regrets

Sunday Inspiration: Dare to Dream

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“I focus on this one thing.” Php 3:13 NLT

In order to move forward with confidence on your life’s journey, you need a reliable road map.

In the Bible this is called a dream or a vision.

For Moses, it was leading God’s people out of slavery and into the Promised Land. For Florence Nightingale, it meant bringing healing and hope to wounded and dying soldiers in Crimea. For Thomas Edison, it was illuminating the world with incandescent light.

The fact is, anyone who ever made a difference in life started with a dream, and eventually it became their life’s passion.

For the publishers of this devotional, it’s putting God’s Word into the hands of as many people as possible in every nation on earth!

How can you tell if your vision is from God? It will bless you and benefit others.

Now, if your dream is only to live in a mansion and accumulate a fortune for yourself, don’t count on God to underwrite it.

Furthermore, your dream is worth only what you’re willing to pay for it. Inspiration without perspiration is just a daydream.

Forty percent of the people you meet have great ideas, but all they do is talk about them. Another 40 percent work hard and would be willing to give their all for a great dream—but they don’t have one.

Only the remaining 20 percent have a dream and the faith to make it come true. And even if you’re part of that group, there are no guarantees you’ll succeed. But you have a good chance—better than 80 percent of those around you.

So go ahead—dare to dream.

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/dare-to-dream

The Most Popular paNASH Blog Posts of 2018

I’m so grateful to all you readers who loyally follow the paNASH blog from week to week. I love hearing your stories of how a particular blog post gave you the courage to pursue your passions. Your support and feedback means so much to me.

As a thank you, here’s a collection of the most popular paNASH blog posts of 2018.

Top Ten paNASH Blog Posts of 2018

  1. Should You Share Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?
  2. How to Make Your Sucky Job More Bearable (Until You Can Leave)
  3. What You Need to Know to Ensure a Successful Career
  4. Why “Can I Pick Your Brain?” Is the Wrong Approach
  5. How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk Like an Olympian
  6. “Follow Your Heart” is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice! (Re-post)
  7. Quiz: Do You Really Need to Spend Money on a Career Coach?
  8. The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech
  9. Why “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is the Best Career Advice
  10. Never Say Never: How to Know When You Should Let a Bridge Burn

Please Share!

Please feel free to share any of the above posts or other paNASH blog posts on your social media platforms and with your friends so others can also benefit from them. Thank you!

Check out additional posts on Medium.com.

paNASH blog

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!

goals

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

goals