How to find your passion

This morning I read a Christmas card in my ballet school which said: ‘best wishes, find your passion for 2010’. That immediately struck a chord with me!

What’s my passion?

Ever since I was a kid, I’d been writing short stories, poems and journals fervently. But when I reached my teens and twenties a passion killing monster reared its ugly head: fear of failure.

Now, while snow is drizzling against my windows and front porch I sense that I am happy, and that some of that happiness is being stirred up in me through my refound passion: writing. I believe that God has a plan for me and that it includes writing.

Today I want to help you discovering your passion too:

Leo Babauta wrote a very useful post about it: http://zenhabits.net/2009/11/the-short-but-powerful-guide-to-finding-your-passion/

Here are the questions he proposes with some of my answers.

1. What are you good at?

I’d like to name three of my skills: I’m good at writing: journaling (I’ve got four different journals at the same time) and blogging. I’m also a skilled speech therapist who knows how to sign and I have some flamenco prowess.

2. What excites you?

Blogging, dancing and working galvanize me most. Reading and studying English through all the blogs I read is some of my favorite pastimes too, as well as drinking coffee ūüôā

3. What do you read about?

I mostly read nonfiction and blogs about productivity, habit change, simplicity, happiness, energy management and Christian faith.

4. What have you secretly dreamed of?

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been dreaming of being a writer. I’m dreaming of inspiring thousands of people with my writing, inspire them to live a more productive and happier life. That’s why it’s such a vicarious thrill for me that Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project reached #2 on de New York Times best seller list last week.

5. Learn, ask, take notes

I do this by taking a lot of notes like: inspirational quotes, funny English words and interesting topics. I read a lot of blogs to learn from their style, voice, vocabulary, grammar and topics.

6. Experiment, try. &   7. Narrow things down.

My blog Inspiration and Productivity is my writing experiment. I aspire to author a book later on as well.
I could also have been experimenting other flamenco styles for example, but I think I already narrowed it down quite a bit.

8. Banish your fears.

That’s quintessential! Here’s Leo’s post on overcoming self-doubt: http://zenhabits.net/2010/01/conquer-self-doubt/

9. Find the time.

I’m finding time for my passion by rising early in the morning and taking the time to blog. I also started writing my drafts during my commute.

10. How to make a living doing it.

It would be neat to publish a book some day and get some proceeds from it, but that’s not my main goal; that’s to enjoy writing and sharing my ideas with as many readers as possible in order to influence them in a positive way.

I challenge you to answer these questions for yourself and get going!

Create your own happiness project

People, I have such an exciting book I want to tell you about!

It’s called: the Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.

The author decided she’d turn becoming a happier person into a practical project: a Happiness Project.
For one year she tried out all kinds of resolutions to become happier, like: keeping a one-sentence journal, reading Aristotle, having more fun, reading kidlit, starting a blog, keeping a gratitude journal, behaving more kindly, cleaning out her closets, fighting right and singing in the morning.

She focused on one area per month e.g. fun, energy, marriage, parenthood, money.
At the end of the year she wrote the account of her journey and shared what she’d learned.

It is an immensely inspiring book and I encourage you all to go pick up a copy of it at

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061583251?ie=UTF8&tag=thehappproj-20&linkCode=as2

or if you’re English or Dutch you can order via http://www.amazon.co.uk/Happiness-Project-Morning-Aristotle-Generally/dp/0061583251/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262888882&sr=1-1

If you’re in a motivational slump, stuck in a rut, need some encouragement and ideas to generally have more fun and need some information for the pursuit of more happiness in your life, it’ll bring you great joy reading it, or listening to it as an audiobook as I’m doing (you can purchase it through the Itunes store).
Along with the book she created a blog and a free happiness toolbox.

Now what can I use the happiness toolbox for?

  • To create y our own resolutions chart to check off every day. You can check mine at http://www.happinessprojecttoolbox.com/toolbox/user/E5ter.html?type=RESOLUTION You can post your chart either privately or publicly. If you go public like I did, you’ll also be able to inspire others.
  • To create an inspiration board by assembling inspirational quotes and pics
  • To create a one sentence journal about e.g. gratitude, your baby’s first year or your progress on your resolutions.

I wish you a very happy day and let me know if you’re going to start your own Happiness Project.

Here’s the link to Gretchen’s blog:

http://www.happiness-project.com/

10 Ways to define 2010

Today I read David Allen‘s Productivity Newsletter. It inspired me to look ahead into 2010.

How would you answer the following questions?

What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2010?
What advice would you like to give yourself in 2010?
What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2010?
What would you be most happy about completing in 2010?
What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2010?
What would you most like to change about yourself in 2010?
What are you looking forward to learning in 2010?
What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2010?
What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in 2010?
What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2010?
What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2010?
Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2010?
What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2010?

In this post, I’d like to answer 3 of them:

  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2010?

Instead of one word, I’d like to indulge myself in choosing two words for 2010:

  • Balance
  • Advance

First off I want this year to evolve around finding balance in my life: e.g. balance between work and home; fun and duty; time alone and time together; tranquility and energy; spirit and body.

From that place of balance, I’d like to be part of advancing the kingdom of God on earth. That sure sounds lofty :-), but in simple terms: I’d like to help making this world a better place. Ways in which I want to take part of this are: praying; caring for people, for animals and trees.

On a more practical note I’d like to advance in the art of e.g.: writing, speaking English, dancing, praying, being more productive, rising early, being kind and humble, not judging anyone and loving my enemies.

  • What would you most like to change about yourself in 2010?

I’d love to be an early riser, as I stated in one of my earlier posts. I have to admit here though, I succumbed to a gnawing sense of reality and my husband’s sneaking suspicions about me rising at 7.00 h being too utopian a dream as of yet and decided to reset my goal time to 7.30 h.

Next week I will be rising at 8.30 h. I keep you posted on my progress!

  • What advice would you like to give yourself in 2010?

First: be yourself, that is good enough. Second: listen to your own body.

I’d like to conclude by sharing with you this piece of wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen (Bread for the journey)

There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique.

Welcome to inspiration and productivity

What is your passion?

I’ve got quite a few, but one thing that excites me is mixing and applying GTD and ZTD for a zesty blend of productivity, inspiration and change in my life.

Who inspire you?

I’ve got a lot of inspirators but let me name two of them:

  • David Allen, founder of the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology and writer of Making it all Work.¬† See also http://www.davidco.com/
  • Leo Babauta, inventor of the GTD tweak Zen to Done, which is basically a tweaked version of GTD – GTD 2.0 if you like-¬† and founder of the blog Zen Habits, which is focused on (productivity, health or fitness) habit change and simplicity¬† and Write to Done, a blog on blogwriting.¬† See also http://zenhabits.net/

What can you expect in this blog?

  • my personal journey with
  1. GTD and ZTD (productivity and habit change)
  2. living a balanced life
  3. living an inspired, passionate and motivated life

When can you expect updates?

I plan to post a minimum of two times a week

Next time I will be sharing some things about my recent habit changing challenge: rising early and loving it!