c'est moi.

c'est moi.
ddd

inspiration

Come sit down beside me with a dollar and a dime, we'll drink away our fortunes, here's to the meantime. -Grace Potter
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12.30.2011

songs to live by.

2 comments
My Wish- Rascal Flatts.

12.29.2011

out with the old, in with the new... 2012.

3 comments
Just as I don't really believe in the traditional idea of a diet (I prefer the term lifestyle change for its positive reinforcement and longevity), I don't believe it should take a new calendar year to make positive changes in your life. Yet there is no denying that we have reached the final days of 2011 and with that comes a time of serious reflection; an entire year's worth of accomplishments, hardships, experiences, growth and change. As we look forward to 2012 with positivity, let us first look back on this post from September, found below. Remember that there is no better time to make those life changes, big or small, than today.
09.14.2011
A peak ahead; new years resolutions.
Has anyone heard of making a New Year's resolution in September? Of course not. NYR's are for the end of December, after crunching through the not-so-waist-friendly holiday season. We will wake up this January 1st much like we have for years past; we'll expect the sun to be shining, our willpower to be blazing, our holiday hangover to be on its way out, and for it to be Day 1 of our journey to check off our entire New Year's Resolution list- because this year is different, right? Newsflash; studies show that of the 45% of Americans that actually make NYRs, only somewhere around 8% actually succeed.  So what gives? The stigma of the New Year's Resolution has probably deterred a large amount of people from making them in the first place, or maybe past failure has kept us from wanting to try again. When it comes down to it, I think the biggest problem is how we spend all year pushing off making new goals until the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. Stop making the excuse that you will "start next week" or "start next year". Start now. If you have something you want to achieve, you have to put an actual plan of action into place. Whether it's May or October start pushing yourself to expand your personal potential right now. Our struggle with self-improvement often comes from laziness, endless excuses, and lack of planning. Take a second today and write down a list of things you already know you want to accomplish, whether you are a NYR maker or not. Maybe you do want to lose 20 pounds, eat healthier, save money for a vacation, pay off your CC debt, or seek marriage counseling to improve your relationship. There is nothing wrong with your goal- whether big or small, seemingly impossible or just a simple walk in the park, your goals and aspirations belong to you. Don't let anyone deter you from reaching your dreams. Making your list is the simple part. It's the action part that people struggle with. If the goal is fairly large, like paying off your CC debt for example, you need to come up with checkpoints to attaining it. For example, instead of saying that you'll pay it off some point during the next 6 months, say that you will take $100 dollars out of every paycheck and put it aside, rather than making your usual trip to the shopping mall. If your resolution is losing 20 pounds, don't just go get a gym membership and say you'll go 4 times a week. Instead, look at your schedule and commit to going on certain days, or find a fun class that meets on the same days every week- routine is key! If your resolution is to eat healthier, don't just go to the store this week and buy only vegetables and diet coke. Instead, work on adding or subtracting one "bad" thing from your current diet each week. Trying to go cold turkey on your current regime will only make you more apt to fall off the bandwagon after 3 weeks and turn you into a cranky crab. Once you have determined your goal and made an action plan, you are well on your way. All the pieces are in place for you to get there in no time. There will be days of immense struggle, and days you feel like a million bucks. That is part of what comes with breaking out of your usual habits and wanting to be better. You know what they say, it's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. No one knows you better than you know yourself. You know your darkest secrets and worst habits. What we often don't give ourselves credit for is the incredible potential we possess. Each and every one of us is capable of attaining greatness if we simply believe in ourselves, plan accordingly and commit to not stopping until we get there.
Where flowers bloom, so does hope. -Lady Bird Johnson.

12.27.2011

holiday hangover.

2 comments

The same thing occurs during the days following Thanksgiving as do the days after Christmas- a holiday hangover. And no, you didn't even had to have taken a sip of alcohol all weekend to know what I'm taking about. Too much food. Too little sleep. Too much wine. Too much money spent. But many, many good times with loved ones. And that's what makes the holiday season so wonderful. As the Christmas decorations come down, and the frosted gingerbread men disappear, here are 10 things to focus on this post-holiday week.

10. Thank You Cards. With the prevalence of technology these days, it's easy to send a thank you text or email. But challenge yourself and don't take the easy way out this time around! Hand write a card or letter to those that graced you with their presence this holiday season. It seems much more personal this way- plus who doesn't love receiving actual mail these days?

09. Sweat. Remember that gym membership you pay for every month? That perfectly good bike path that runs through your town? That yoga class you used to go to every Monday? Those workout clothes you insisted on buying this summer? With New Years Eve right around the corner, partaking in a few sweat sessions this week will help you feel confident and beautiful when it's time to put on that little black dress.

08. Budget. If checking your bank statement and credit card bills are making you cringe, it's time for a post-holiday-spending budget. It's easy to fall into bad spending habits- a morning latte from Starbucks every weekday, manicures twice a month, umpteen pairs of shoes that you just MUST have, and lunches out with coworkers. Small changes equals big results. Simply cutting those splurges out for a few months can save you a boatload; and after a while you won't even miss them!

07. Eats. The holiday's are a prime time for over consumption of processed sugars, fats, and carbohydrates. Plus, portion control is at an all time minimum. The easiest way to get back on track is to cleanse your house of all the holiday candies and baked goods. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Once you make room on your kitchen counters and shelves, hit the grocery store and fill your cart with lots of fresh produce, dairy, and lean protein. Healthy isn't hard once you get the hang of it.

06. Holiday Libations. A glass of wine here, some champagne there. A rum and egg nog, and of course, your favorite heavy beer. Take a vow to detox until New Years Eve, but don't go overboard with your celebration. Remember you can still have fun without downing numerous alcoholic beverages- plus, how great would it feel to wake up on the first day of 2012 without a nasty hangover?

05. Skin and Body. If you can't afford to treat yourself to a professional facial, check your local drugstore for a cleansing mask and skin scrub. Take a bath and rescue your nutrient and moisture hungry outer layer with some moisturizer. Set up daily/weekly appointments- even if it's just an at-home personal pampering session. Save your cash by doing an at home manicure/pedicure with your girlfriends prior to the upcoming celebratory weekend. Rest, relax, and rejuvenate.

04. You Time. Take some time for yourself this week. Write in a journal, make a phone call to an old friend, go for a walk, try a new craft project, or listen to your favorite album. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday's drawing to a close, reconnect with yourself and what's important.

03. New Years Resolutions Future Goals. Cliche, of course. This year make your goals detailed and achievable. Instead of "lose 10 pounds," include a weekly gym schedule and grocery list. Instead of "get a new job," make a point to apply to 5 new postings a week. Set timelines, create checkpoints, and break it down into bite sized pieces. The more thorough you are with your list, the easier it will be for you to visualize actually reaching your dreams.

02. Pick an inspiration. Find a quote, poem, or song that you wish to live your life by for the upcoming year. Every time you feel like you are falling off track during 2012, go back to it. It will be the perfect reminder of what you stand for, and will serve as that push to get back on track. My favorite? "Once you've flown past the summit of your fears, nothing will seem impossible."

01. Dream Big. You, yes you, can do anything in life. If you can dream it, you can do it.

12.23.2011

happy christmas.

2 comments

Have a holly jolly Christmas.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday weekend!

staring down fear.

2 comments

Heights. Spiders. Flying. Elevators. Snakes. Public Speaking. Traffic. Death.

Fear. It stops us in our tracks. Creates a pit in our stomach. Makes us cringe. We dodge it when we can, but there are times it's unavoidable. We have no choice but to face it head on, guns blazing.

Sometimes we grow out of our fears. Throughout childhood and well into adolescence, I was terrified of elevators. My poor parents would have no choice but to take the stairs when we went into tall buildings- didn't matter if we had to visit the 3rd floor or the 40th. It didn't help that during one family trip during my youth, my brother was tricked by his little friends into getting into an elevator by himself. I watched in horror as the door slid shut, thinking of course, I would never see him again. I cried and carried on for what seemed like hours. My brother was gone forever! The truth was that my mom realized what had occurred, and she spent more time trying to calm me down than she did worrying about my little brother. She knew her 7 year old son was smart enough to stay on the elevator and that someone would "return him." And sure enough, she was right. Within 3 minutes, up came the elevator and the door opened to reveal my little brother with the biggest smile on his face. A nice couple had called the elevator a few floors down from us, and when the door opened to a cute little blonde boy all by his lonesome, they promptly returned him to where he belonged. We were in a family oriented hotel for gosh sake- it made no difference to me though. I thought nothing but the worst, and why? Because elevators scared the living hell out of me.

 I don't recall what specifically allowed me to overcome my fear; although I'm sure at some point I grew embarrassed of what my peers and friends thought of the girl that would climb the stairs for several minutes because she refused to take a 30-second elevator ride. I didn't grow out of my fear overnight, I can tell you that much. It took years. But I tried and tried, and as much as I may not love elevator trips now, at least I make them without going into hysterics. It may seem silly to some, but I think the word proud is an understatement- especially when I am standing in the lobby of a building knowing I have to go to the 16th floor...and I won't be walking up.

Of course, not all my fears disappeared as easily as that one. And I've picked up several more fears as I've traveled through life based on exposure and experiences; movies, media, education.

One of the most honorable traits in a person is their willingness to face their darkest fears and attempt to overcome them once and for all. The person who is terrified of speaking in public, but decides to take a class in public speaking...where weekly speeches are required. The person who is scared of death, but agrees to visit their local graveyard on a field trip. The person who is scared of flying, but books a plane ticket home to visit their sick grandmother. The person who is terrified of being alone, but ends an abusive relationship. The person who is terrified of the unknown, but starts trying new things. It takes immense courage to even stand up in the face of fear, let alone truly succeed in overcoming it. It's about taking small steps in the right direction. Proving to ourselves that we can do anything we set our minds to. Refusing to let that fear run our lives any longer.

It may be painful. It may be embarrassing. It may result in sweat and tears. An upset stomach. Passing out. But what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. Trying and failing is a hell of a lot better than never trying at all. It's commendable to witness someone staring fear in the eye. We all have them, and we can all relate. So go, today, and do something about one of your fears. Attempt. Try. Push. Challenge. And at least if we're still scared after, we can't say we didn't try.

12.22.2011

songs to live by.

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The World's Greatest- R. Kelly.

time away.

4 comments
Why is it that distance makes the heart grow fonder? Why does it take having a void where something once was to recognize the importance of what filled it before? Why do we struggle to appreciate people while they are actually present?

On Tuesday, I returned from spending 6 days in Virginia; away from my job, my home, and my relationships. It was an opportunity to be near my mother, a new exciting location, and the freedom from my usual responsibilities. I very much enjoyed my time away, but I was ready to board my flight home when the time came. Was I ready because I wanted to go back to working 50+ hours a week? Was I ready because I wanted to get back to cleaning my house, doing laundry, and my other usual household tasks? Was I ready to get back to my jam packed schedule? Could it be that I was actually missing my typical and crazy daily routine? Actually...it was.

When it all comes down to it, it was the most basic of things I was ready to get back to. My usual diet. My running routine. My great big comfy bed. My kitchen. My bedtime. My significant relationships. The craziest part about having temporary space is recognizing that it's the simple things that tend to fill us up.

Time away teaches us to (re)appreciate our daily routine. When we are stuck in my same old rhythm for days on end, we grow bored and annoyed with the trials and tribulations of everyday life. But when our routine is broken, it is then we become acquainted with what's really valuable to us. We have that sense of "missing" and "void."

Don't let it take time away to appreciate the life you have. Don't require separation to realize what wonderful relationships and friendships you hold. We are all guilty of falling into routines and habits that blind us to how good we have it. Make it a habit to ponder what life would be like without all the things that fill our lives today. Force yourself to express gratitude towards both the good and the bad in life. The good is what makes our lives rewarding. The bad is what makes us stronger. And it's the people that stick by us through both that are what make our lives meaningful. Say thank you, appreciate the little things, and go through your day with the knowledge that it doesn't have to take time away to recognize how blessed we truly are.

12.09.2011

quotes to live by.

4 comments

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
-Andre Gide.

12.08.2011

first world pains.

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I woke up this morning at my usual 5:45am, rolled over, and felt annoyed at the thought of dragging myself out of my toasty king sized bed. I should just skip my run, I thought to myself knowing full well what the weather was supposed to be like. No, I can't do that; I have to just stick to my training plan. So I rolled my eyes, lifted the blankets, and sighed heavily at the current situation. As I do every Thursday morning, I walked over to the window. I held my breath as I drew back a tiny corner of the curtain and peered outside. Much to my dismay, it was exactly as I predicted it would be; 29 degrees, dark, and a ground covered in snow and ice. I wanted so badly to gear up and do my usual Thursday morning run outside, headlamp on, and adrenaline pumping. Sidewalks weren't plowed, and with it being so dark in the mornings lately, I was worried I'd slip on some ice and injure myself. So all in a tizzy, I grabbed my sneakers and trekked on over to the gym, sporting my winter boots and jacket cursing the whole way. I had a case of the "First World Pains."

Recently, I stumbled upon a Twitter feed (@firstworldpains) that has now made me reconsider how I treated my first 15 minutes of being awake this morning. This feed is centered around mocking how ridiculous the people of the "First World" sound when they complain about their daily trials and tribulations. In reality, the "issues" that those of us residing in the First World face are bleak in comparison to what most of the population has to fight for every day. The ongoing quest for basic needs; a place to sleep, access to heat and air conditioning, food on the table, employment, a place to live, an income, access to healthcare and clean drinking water, the ability to communicate regularly with loved ones via phone and internet, access to transportation, and just feeling safe and secure. These are all things we, in the First World, too often take for granted. And when we take a minute to slow down and consider just how blessed we truly are, our daily problems seem miniscule...And laughable, according to the folks behind this Twitter feed:

I have to clean the kitchen instead of watching Netflix all day. #firstworldpains
There's too much syrup in my Starbucks latte. #firstworldpains
There are no good shows on television. #firstworldpains
After a nice facial yesterday, I woke up with a huge zit. #firstworldpains
My online order is going to take 7-10 days to ship. #firstworldpains
I'm really hungry, but nothing sounds good. #firstworldpains
I have "nothing" to wear. #firstworldpains
For my birthday, my parents got me a Droid instead of an Iphone. #firstworldpains
I have to go to work in the morning. #firstworldpains
My mom just bought groceries and there still isn't anything good to eat. #firstworldpains
My steak at the restaurant was totally overcooked. #firstworldpains
My sister is calling during my favorite TV show. #firstworldpains
I forgot where I parked my car in this mall's parking lot. #firstworldpains
My mom packed me a vanilla pudding, when I wanted chocolate. #firstworldpains
My backpack is too heavy from all my textbooks. #firstworldpains
Champagne gives me a headache. #firstworldpains
Having the heater on makes my throat so dry. #firstworldpains
I can't print my paper because my printer is out of ink. #firstworldpains
My satellite radio subscription expired while I was driving. #firstworldpains
I ordered Coke, but they brought me Pepsi. #firstworldpains
I had to go out in the cold to vote. #firstworldpains
I just memorized my debit card number and the bank sent me a new one. #firstworldpains
I forgot to put on deodorant today. #firstworldpains 
We're out of milk for my cereal. #firstworldpains
My web browser won't offer to remember my password. #firstworldpains
My dishwasher doesn't clean things perfectly. #firstworldpains
A foot-long Subway sub is too big for me, but the 6" leaves me hungry. #firstworldpains
The vending machine gave me Starburst when I asked for Skittles. #firstworldpains
My favorite show is a rerun tonight. #firstworldpains
My CC sticks to my my Iphone when I have them in the same pocket. #firstworldpains
All the food in my fridge spoiled because I bought way too much. #firstworldpains
My landscapers woke me up again this morning. #firstworldpains
My gum flavor runs out too fast. #firstworldpains
I always finish my shampoo before my conditioner. #firstworldpains
My radar detector only works on certain cop cars. #firstworldpains
I'm starving, but the kitchen is all the way downstairs. #firstworldpains
My arm is sore from playing Wii baseball. #firstworldpains
My parents are threatening to take my car away because of bad grades. #firstworldpains
I have to go to the Dentist. #firstworldpains
I can't think of anything I want for Christmas. #firstworldpains 
I had to wait 5 minutes for my car window to defrost. #firstworldpains
I have more shirts than hangers. #firstworldpains 
I dropped 17 cents, but refuse to pick it up. #firstworldpains
There is a dead bee in the swimming pool. #firstworldpains
Both bathrooms in my house are occupied and I have to go. #firstworldpains
All the groceries won't fit in the fridge. #firstworldpains
I don't have enough cheese for my crackers. #firstworldpains
The escalator at the mall is broken. #firstworldpains
I got a speeding ticket. #firstworldpains
I only have 10 minutes to shower. #firstworldpains
One of my headphone speakers doesn't work. #firstworldpains
I had to sit next to a stranger in the movie theater. #firstworldpains
This glass of water is unfiltered. #firstworldpains
Our new apartment is so big that we don't have enough furniture to fill it. #firstworldpains
The automatic toilet flushed before I was done. #firstworldpains
My car broke down, so I have to ride the bus to work. #firstworldpains 
The last sip of my cup of coffee had coffee grounds in it. #firstworldpains
A good song just came on the radio, but I have reached my destination. #firstworldpains
My school uniform doesn't look good with my new hair color. #firstworldpains
My parents made me hand write thank-you notes after my party. #firstworldpains
I finally have a day off of work and the cable is out. #firstworldpains
They didn't have my brand of peanut butter at the supermarket. #firstworldpains
I have to do laundry, but we ran out of dryer sheets. #firstworldpains 

Are you guilty? As much as we may get a good laugh about how pathetic we sound, the guys behind this idea were not so far off from some pretty serious food-for-thought. Don't lose sight of what's really important in life. We spend so much of our time complaining about the silliest and smallest things, when instead we should be remembering how lucky we are to have access to the things we have. When put this way, my morning seems like nothing. A king sized bed? Warm blankets? A gym membership? Running shoes? Winter boots? A jacket? My health? My ability to run? A lucky girl I truly am.

12.06.2011

it's the little things.

2 comments
As much as the holiday season can be full of cheer, the change in seasons can take a serious toll on your emotional well being and outlook on life. The excerpt below gives you a little insight into what life in Vermont is like for me during the winter and early spring- those average low's are no joke. Just looking at what's coming down the pipeline for me come January is giving me the blues- as it seems to every year!
Regardless of where you are currently calling "home", it's easy to let things like the weather conditions or boring routines get the best of us. Whether it feels like the same old workout, same old 9-to-5, same old dark-when-I-go-to-work-and-dark-when-I-get-out-of-work, same old dreary rainy day, same old hairstyle, same old clothes in your closet, same old Friday night, and same old weeknight meals, it's easy to lose sight of all those little things that make life exciting and meaningful. We get frustrated with the sameness that every day or week brings, and slip into the habit of under-appreciating all we have. Let us all take a moment to reflect on all those little things that help power us through our weekly blues. Maybe it's that warm fuzzy fleece blanket that is always waiting for you when you get home from a long day at the office. Maybe it's your weekly trip to Starbucks. Maybe it's one of those emails or letters from someone unexpected. Maybe it's a phone call to a long distance friend. Eating Leftovers. A lunch date at a new restaurant. A weekend away. A 10-hour slumber. A early morning run...in the rain. The little boy in the park taking his first steps. Baking cookies for your coworkers. A new book from the library. Praise for your hard work. Donating to a good cause. An answered prayer from God. Laying in bed with your work clothes still on. A text from a friend. Playing Monopoly...and losing, miserably. A big juicy cheeseburger. A kiss goodnight.

Whatever life throws at you, remember there is always something to be grateful for. Do not wish these days away hoping for something newer or better. Remember that the things that end up meaning the most in the long run are those little things we fail to appreciate each and everyday. So do yourself a favor, and start pointing them out to yourself. Living life in that manner will teach you to appreciate those "same olds." Yes, even those boring workouts, long days at the office, daylight deprivation, the hours on end of rain, the bad hair days, the same wardrobe you've had since the 9th grade, another Friday night on the couch, and yes, even when it's chicken for dinner again.
 (For more "little things," check out this website)

12.02.2011

quotes to live by.

2 comments
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. 
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
-Sir Winston Churchill.



12.01.2011

how to live your passion.

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To me, life is about living with passion. It's about discovering the things that we derive the most happiness, pleasure, and fulfillment from; and then trying to focus our lives around those things. Some of us have discovered our passions, and make it our priority to work those things into our day to day lives Others, don't have a clue- and that's not something to be ashamed of. I'm the first to admit, I'm still on my journey to discovering what truly fills me up inside. It's important to consider that, too often, we don't have the means of getting out and exploring all the world has to offer. And without stepping outside of our confort zone and the "familiar," we are hindering ourselves from making these discoveries. A few weeks ago, my aunt emailed me this quote: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." And how true it is.

Did you know that a recent study reported that as many as 80% of the people in the workforce don’t enjoy their job. And nearly 75% don’t know their true passion? How insane! We are on this planet for less than 100 years, and a whopping 80% of us work at a job we dislike? Something has got to give. As a young woman fairly new to the "real world," I am constantly fighting this same battle. I long to discover what my passion is. And once I figure it out, I want commit myself to living it every single day. I don't want to spend my precious time working at a job I'm not excited about, or a job I'm not motivated to perform to my highest ability. And unfortunately, I'm sure this same notion is a dream everyone has had at one point or another; yet it seems as though 80% of us give up and settle for the daily grind to make ends meet. We have to ask ourselves why. Is it because we don't know our passions? Because we're scared to take risks? Because it's too much of an investment? Because it's easier? Because it's what everyone else does?

I recently came across this article by Scott Dinsmore. Scott is the founder of Live Your Legend, and the author of Live Off Your Passion: An Unconventional Guide to Finding Passion and Getting Paid to Do Work You Love. As lengthy as it is, I think it's well worth the read; especially if you feel like you are part of the 80%.

(Scott Dinsmore) Is it possible to have your passion also be your core source of income? We seem to hear more and more stories of people reaching the promised land, but is it really possible for the everyday person? Or are those ‘lucky few’ just that— lucky? After years of research I have good news for you: I bet you there’s something you love doing that someone else would be happy to pay you for right this second. I might go as far as saying I’m sure of it. But let’s start with a question.

Why is it that the people who succeed once, seem to have similar successes on future endeavors? Whether it’s fitness, entrepreneurship, career, relationships, you name it. Success begets success. What are the things that consistently allow certain people to build a business and living around the things they love most, but allow the other 80% of the world to continue to drag themselves, day in and day out, to a job they can’t stand? Why can some people charge seamlessly from one creative endeavor and passion project to the next, experiencing all sorts of success along the way, while many others can’t take the first step to finding their passion, let alone building a career around it? The steps aren’t foreign, they aren’t cryptic, or hidden behind some secret handshake. They aren’t complicated and in many cases not even that difficult. But yet they are still massively underused. Why is that? These questions have kept me up at night for years. As it turns out, the answer is pretty simple. The passionate people simply know what’s actually possible. They are crystal clear about the steps that work, so they don’t think twice in applying them to whatever the excitement of the day is. The rest of the world doesn’t know the first move to distinguish up from down. It doesn’t have to be that way. Living Off Your Passion Is a Right – For Everyone. Living off your passion is more possible than most realize. We just have to condition it. I wanted to share some of the most profound lessons with you all. If you follow the steps below, I’m sure you can monetize your passion in record time if you want it badly enough.

The 3 Sacred Steps to Converting Passion to Income
1. Separate passion from reality. We must start with brainstorming your passion projects in a way that encourages success. Unfortunately most people do the opposite. As humans, our immediate reaction to someone’s new idea (or our own) often is to figure out why it won’t work. I know, sad but true. The problem is that when you get critical of something the moment the idea comes up, it gets stomped out immediately. It might not even make it more than a sentence or two before someone else yells out the reasons it ‘obviously’ won’t work. Then you feel stupid and move on. But if that idea were given say five or ten minutes of brainstorming whiteboard action, along with a solid dose of open, creative and non-critical discussion, it’s very possible that the idea would turn out to have some merit. Imagine how many brilliant ideas get killed too soon due to premature criticism. This happens with passion every day—even if we’re just doing it in our own head (which is the most likely and most dangerous case). A lot of times when we task ourselves to think of our passions we only allow ourselves to play in part of the sandbox. Since the end goal is to find something we can make a living from, we subconsciously discard the ideas that are totally off the wall. We stifle our creativity without even knowing it. In order to have a fighting chance at developing world-changing business ideas or personal passion pursuits, you absolutely must separate the creative and the critical stages. Brainstorm your most far-out dreams of passion careers you can think of. Then wait for at least a few days if not a week or more before you start to get practical and critical. Mark my words, for every wild idea you come up with, I’m sure there’s already someone out there making a great living off it (and that’s a good thing).

2. Be the expert you already are. One of the most common barriers keeping people from making money from their passion is the belief that you don’t know something well enough to get paid to teach it to someone else.That’s just flat wrong – You know more than you think. Being an expert is purely relative and based largely on perception. The crazy thing is once you find something you’re passionate about, you’ll likely realize it’s something you’ve been learning and improving upon for years and maybe even decades. You have more experience with your passion than likely 99% of those around you, simply because you love doing it. If you’ve been on this earth for at least a couple decades, I guarantee you’re an expert at something. Give yourself some credit. Find what it is and find the people who desperately need your help. Combine the two and living off your passion starts to become a reality.

3. Do the impossible. For decades, breaking the four-minute mile was believed to be scientifically impossible. Right up until Roger Banister did it in 1954. Then you know what happened? 16 more people ran sub four-minutes in the three years to follow. We’ve been largely conditioned that it’s not possible to build a career around passion. So many people hate their jobs and many of us have decided to accept that as a fact of life. I did too, right up until I started meeting people who showed me another way. Listen carefully. The most crucial ingredient to loving your work and living off passion is to surround yourself with people already doing it. You must reverse the brainwashing. Spend time around enough people living squarely in their dreams, and living off passion not only becomes possible, it becomes probable. That shift in psychology will change your world.

Who can you help right now?
Often the first step to living off passion, and the most realistic for those scared of the threatening income gap, is to start working with people one-on-one. Remember, there are things you are better at (and enjoy more) than the great majority of those around you. There are also people actively looking for the expertise you have. Find the right connection and you could begin making money from a passion tomorrow if you wanted to. It’s that powerful. And it’s that fast. Need reassurance? Go do some research on some of the people charging folks and making a living from the skill and passion you enjoy. Are they all the next Steve Jobs? I doubt it. They just decided to focus their energy where they could help the most.The great majority of people who have not been able to monetize a passion does not come down to lack of skill. It does not come down to lack of credentials. It does not come from lack of experience. It comes from lack of creativity and courage. Combine those two with something that makes you come alive, and the world will be beating your door down to give you their money.

Crossing the Chasm—From 80% to 20%
A recent study reported that as many as 80% of the people in the workforce don’t enjoy their job. And nearly 75% don’t know their true passion. This is not a coincidence. You don’t have to be one of them. What would happen if we could reverse that statistic? Think about it for a second. If we can begin building an income around the things that excite us, our work will no longer be something we loathe. It will be something we can’t get enough of. Which quickly becomes something the world can’t get enough of. If we can do that, we can literally change the world.

The All-Important First Dollar
The first hurdle in living off your passion is realizing it’s possible to get paid to do what you enjoy—to show yourself that you’re capable of helping people and they are willing to pay you for it. Whether it’s $1, $15, $100 or $1,000, the point is to make the massively huge leap from earning exactly ZERO from what you enjoy doing, to earning something. Anything. People will find value in what you have to offer, but you’ll never know unless you start offering it. In my years of passion research around the world, one belief has become a part of my core more than any other: If you can find something you’re passionate about, you can find a way to turn that passion into profit. I’ve seen too many examples of people living their dreams to believe anything else.

You just have to be willing to get a little creative.
So when are you going to join the 20% club?
You have the tools. The rest is on you.