Barrie Davenport is a life passion coach, author, and founder of BarrieDavenport.com, a site devoted to helping people uncover and live their life passions. She is the author of The 52-Week Life Passion Project, to be released November 2012.
Barrie graciously accepted an interview request to help the readers of SimpleProductivityBlog.com explore life passion.
SimpleProductivityBlog: What is passion to you?
Barrie:The feeling of living your life passion is the feeling of being fully alive and engaged in something fulfilling and purposeful. These feelings often spill over into other areas of your life that aren’t directly related to your passion. So because your life passion is so enriching on so many levels, life in general is happier, less stressful, and more balanced. When you are actively involved in your passion, you often are in that “flow” state in which time disappears and you are deeply engaged in what you are doing. Often your passion reflects a larger purpose for your life — or it begins to define that purpose for you. I often think about life passion the way it feels when you are in love. You have those same feelings of excitement and joy that infect all of your life. You can’t wait to be with your passion just as you look forward to seeing your beloved. Fortunately, with a life passion, those feelings can be sustained for a long time. There are so many ways your life passion can take shape in your life, and as you become more proficient and experience, it will have a new level of joy and engagement for you.
SPB: Why is it so important to live with passion?
Barrie: Because it allows you to fully express yourself and your deepest desires and live them on a daily basis. When you are living through your passion, you have more energy, enthusiasm, and joy in every day life. It provides such a deep and profound level of life satisfaction that it transforms you and the way you perceive the world. It is the difference between eating tofu and ice cream. Once you taste life passion, you will never be happy with a tofu life again. And by making the decision to seek your life passion and make it part of your life, you exponentially increase your self-confidence and your attractiveness. People find passionate, confident, and joyful people very attractive.
SPB: What would you say to someone that says they don’t have a life passion?
Barrie: I would tell them that they do have a passion, but they just haven’t uncovered it yet. By the very nature of being human and having intelligence, creativity, and distinct personalities, we are naturally drawn towards particular interests and ideas. But if we were never exposed to those natural interests or never had the opportunity to fully explore them, then we might believe we don’t have a passion. So often we make choices as young adults that have nothing to do with our potential life passions. We choose because our parents or another adult guided us in a certain direction. Or we take a job because it pays the most money. Then the responsibilities of adult life kick in, and we are entrenched in a lifestyle that looks nothing like the life we really want. But we’re stuck with no idea how to get out of it without losing everything and starting over. But there are ways to get unstuck and begin the journey of reclaiming your passion and designing your life in a way that accommodates this passion.
SPB: Can you tell us how finding our passions can make us more productive?
Barrie: As I mentioned before, when you are living a passionate life, there is much less struggle and resistance in all areas of your life. You don’t have the time or desire to worry over problems or perceived future difficulties. You are all about the business of living your passion and focusing on the tasks that are involved. So in general you have more energy and motivation to get things done. You are highly engaged in creative thinking when working on your passionate pursuit. And the general sense of happiness that you feel makes it easier to tackle your non-passionate responsibilities. You are willing to get them done quickly so you can go back to your passion.
SPB: Big change is scary. How do you help people with the fear?
Barrie: I ask my clients to suspend disbelief and “what ifs” at the beginning of the process as they are seeking their passion. In the beginning, they don’t have to make any scary changes. It’s all about self-discovery. Then once it’s time to take action to make their passions real in their lives, we work on creating actions with a mind toward the least life disruption possible. Or if they choose a big life disruption, we figure out how to make that transition smoothly, without jeopardizing financial stability or relationships. It’s all about finding a way to make passion fit into your lifestyle in a way that feels most do-able for each individual. As time go on, they will feel more secure about making bigger changes. Once they begin to live their passion, even in a small way, their enthusiasm will eliminate much of the fear.
SPB: Outside of your work, what is your biggest passion?
Barrie: I have several passions. I love biking, hiking, and spending time in nature. I’m a voracious reader and generally have one novel and one personal development book going at all times. And I love to travel, especially to beautiful, natural settings I’ve never seen before. This summer I went to Mt. Ranier National Park and to Northern Italy. Both were incredible.
SPB: Tell us one thing about yourself most people don’t know.
Barrie: That I didn’t find my life passion until I was 48. I’d had a long career in public relations, and then spent several years focused on helping my oldest daughter with her dream of being a professional ballet dancer. Once she left home, I couldn’t get excited about my PR career anymore. I felt empty and passionless, and I had no idea what I was supposed to do with the second half of my life. Fortunately, my restlessness kept pushing me forward — I took assessments, workshops, read and researched, talked with many people. I finally discovered that my passion is helping others live happier, more fulfilling lives. I went back to school and got a coaching certification, started a new business, and created my blog. I’ve since built a business around both of my sites. I am proof that it is never too late to start over with your life passion!
SPB: What is the number one lesson you learned while finding your passion?
Barrie: To be patient and allow yourself the time to experiment and try out various interests to see if they might be your passion. It took me a couple of years before I realized that I wanted to become a coach. I started a blog to market my coaching business, and then discovered another passion for blogging and writing. You never know where your search might lead you. Uncovering your passion is a process that involves self-discovery work, dealing with roadblocks, and experimentation. In some ways it’s like being a detective, searching for clues and following leads. But the process of finding your passion can be very enjoyable and rewarding. This work alone will help you prioritize and balance your life, and you will learn so much about yourself and what motivates you. And once you find your passion and integrate it into your life, you will understand completely why the search was so worthwhile.
SPB: My readers know that I love your site Bloom. Why did you decide to launch your new site? Will Bloom be going away?
Barrie: When I began my original site, Live Bold and Bloom, I wanted a platform to support people in broad range of personal development topics, with the overall mission of helping people live boldly and stretch out of their comfort zones. As time went on, and I learned more about what my readers were struggling with and wanting for their lives, I saw a real hunger for information on how to make their lives not just OK, but really amazing and joyful. People were searching for something that would make them feel alive and connected to something larger. I began to write some about life passion on Live Bold and Bloom, but I realized I needed a site that was entirely devoted to that topic. People feel overwhelmed and confused about how to go about finding their life passions and how to make it part of their lives without disrupting everything or going broke in the process. So life passion is the sole focus of my new site, BarrieDavenport.com. Live Bold and Bloom isn’t going away. I have a thriving community there, and we will continue to cover a variety of self-improvement topics.
SBP: Where can the readers of SimpleProductivityBlog.com find you on the web?
Barrie: You can find me at BarrieDavenport.com. And you can download my free guide, The Passion Myths: 6 Lies Keeping You from Uncovering Your Life Passion.
SPB: I would like to thank Barrie for taking time to teach us about passion and how it can affect not just our productivity, but our whole lives. If you are interested in finding out more about your life passion, take some time to look at her materials!
Photo by Barrie Davenport