When I hugged Lorelle VanFossen last week at the Chicago Social Media gathering, we hadn't seen each other for a year. She stepped back with a contemplative look on her face. "Look at you, girl! There's something different about you! It's not the weight loss-- you're positively glowing!"
Dropping a bunch of pounds off had definitely created some physical change, but the change that was commanding attention was the inner change and it was for a simple reason: I had unwrapped several passions in my life over the last year.
It began with a simple trip down to the World Barefoot Center in Winter Haven, Florida, where I met 68-year-old Judy Myers and two-time World Champion, Keith St. Onge. The mission was another simple one; I just wanted to barefoot water ski again. The moment I put my feet on the water, life did a 180.
There are two books that were pivotal in bringing about some major changes for me and they arrived at the same time in my life. My friend, Stephen Hopson, recommended The Passion Test, by Janet and Chris Attwood. That book helped me identify the passions that I had within me that were just waiting to be unwrapped. "When you feel truly passionate about something, you will always have the ability to create it in your life," Janet and Chris wrote in their book.
Kevin Hall, author of Aspire, Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words, reached out and connected with me on Facebook through some conversation about barefoot water skiing. I purchased his book and instantly fell in love with it-- it is now one of my most treasured books on my bookshelf. In his book, he shared a quote by Joseph Campbell:
"When you follow your bliss, you put yourself on the track that has been there all the while... you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open doors to you."
Kevin wrote in Aspire, "I know that when we aspire to achieve our goals, each connection that we make leads to another and another and another."
That's exactly what happened in my year of growing bolder. I set some goals, I developed a vision board and a vision list and life began changing in amazing ways. People began crossing my path and connections showed up in unexpected places. Like peeling away the layers of an onion, I discovered more and more of myself with each new experience. The first time I accomplished a goal, I grew bolder. I set another one, and accomplished that. And I grew bolder, still. It has been a rich, amazing year of transformation and learning. And it all came from the simple act of unwrapping my passions. That's the change that Lorelle VanFossen noticed last week.
Speaking of growing bolder, it lead, literally, to Growing Bolder, the media gang in Florida who blow away the stereotypes of what it means to grow older--because "it's not about age, it's about attitude." Bill Shafer, Executive Vice President and their talented cameraman, Jason Morrow, captured the story of how I met Judy Myers and Keith St. Onge on my barefooting journey: