I was at an event recently and was asked by somebody how I could STILL be so passionate for what I do. He said, “What I mean is that you talk about what you do with the passion of child flipping through a new pack of baseball cards. I wish I was that passionate about my job. I hate my job.”
There is an old expression that states; ‘If you find something that you love to do, you will never work another day in your life.’ When you find a passion such as I have in the field of massage and bodywork or whatever your passion may be, grab hold of it and don’t let that go. I consider myself blessed to be able to wake up every day and be excited about what I do; to live a life of passion.
Now I understand that it may not be as simple as just flipping your life on its ear to follow what you are passionate about, but if life teaches us anything, it’s that it is too short, so live each day to its fullest.
In 1999, I made the decision to leave a successful practice behind in Florida so that I could be closer to my family. I was a single guy with responsibilities to only my dog and myself. This was the time (for me) to take that leap if I was going to follow my passion of doing massage and bodywork for the rest of my life.
Now we all know that nothing fuels the fire more then when someone tells us we can’t do something. I was actually told, “Massage is a nice hobby, but what are you planning on doing for a living?” That was all the fuel I needed to set out on building a life that was both financially secure and fueled with passion.
Driving home that evening with those words of doubt bouncing around my head, I started to envision everything I wanted out of The Boston Bodyworker. I imagined multiple therapists performing “clinical massages” at locations in and around Boston, providing chair massages for local businesses, as well as teaching others around the country how THEY could do this too. I was going to prove them wrong.
Always the big dreamer, I suddenly realized that I was so focused on what the end game could be that I started to doubt if I would ever achieve what I envisioned. I hadn’t given a single massage in Boston, yet I had a utopic vision of being the biggest game in town. The idea of what I was going to accomplish was so pristine in my mind, so achievable, it seemed so amazing, that if I could do this, it would be the most incredible accomplishment of my career. Suddenly this great idea seemed SO insurmountable and to be honest, scary. I became paralyzed with fear and self-doubt.
We have all heard the expression “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill”. Typically reserved for those who blow a minor situation out of proportion, this expression took on a new meaning for me. As I was starting to freak out about the enormity of the task in front of me, which I was so stubbornly determined to accomplish, that it hit me like a Mike Tyson uppercut (think Spinks in ’88). I suddenly realized that before I could ever achieve what I envisioned, I needed to accomplish so many other little things, and without them, I would NEVER be able to realize my vision. I was making a mountain out of what really only amounted to a bunch of molehills. Like I said, I had not even done a single massage yet.
My focus now shifted to what was right in front of me. I determined that in order to achieve all of the dreams I had for The Boston Bodyworker, I would only get there by focusing on what I could immediately control; what I was most passionate about – helping people feel better through clinical massage. If I did just that, the rest would come. Without starting from there, nothing else could ever be attained. As soon as I got home, I wrote down everything I imagined The Boston Bodyworker would become and prioritized the steps I needed to take to get there. My goal, the utopic vision, could still be achieved, however, now I could breathe easier as I started this exciting journey, focusing on all the necessary steps on my way to the mountain top.
Its been 15 years since that epiphany, and I am still living that dream. I am still focused on helping patients feel better through massage. Even better, the massage world has grown in so many great ways since then. There are new ways to treat people, better techniques, more information, and so many things I have learned along the way that make me and my therapists exponentially better at helping people than we were 15 years ago. And that’s something I never considered when I was envisioning the future of The Boston Bodyworker way back then.
I have experienced both the highest of highs as well as the lowest of lows. I have seen both success and failure. However, the lesson I learned 15 years ago was that if you want to follow your passion, there are no short cuts. You must be able to focus on all the small, even sometimes seemingly inconsequential steps along the way in order to build a strong foundation for a lasting vision. Failure to recognize this could have left me scrambling and perhaps even disappointed with what I was passionate about. That day has allowed me to face each and every challenge from that point on with a perspective and calmness that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I hope my experience can be of value to those of you who are seeking more passion in your lives. Whether the jobs or hobbies in your life are your passions or not, I’ve found that life’s biggest decisions often turn out better when you consider which path will bring you the most happiness, and which direction you’ll be most passionate about. And for those of you who may be holding back from going after something you’re passionate about…it’s never too late.
For those of you who are living a life of passion, what does your mountaintop look like?