Monthly Archives: March 2011

I Must Have Lost That Passion of Mine Between the Seats of the Couch

I recently wrote an article for the Detroit News and Free Press Working sections entitled “Turn your passion into employment. It was about uncovering what you loved to do and turning it into a life’s vocation. I didn’t realize at the time I wrote it how closely it hit home. While over the last year I had chosen to make some substantial changes in my career path, until I saw my words in print, I didn’t realize that in many ways I was talking about myself.

The wonderful thing about discovering what you’re passionate about is that you can jump in with both feet, become overcome with that passion, and all the while have little time to deal with the trivial things that used to make up your monotonous days.

As most of you know, last year after thirty years in the mortgage industry, I decided that I just didn’t want to do it anymore (I am still happy to help friends, relatives and the numerous past clients of mine who I came to love doing business with). I had headed up small companies and I led larger corporations. I tried out my entrepreneurial hat, and I was even elected by the governor to serve on Michigan’s inaugural Mortgage Industry Advisory Board.

And I got bored.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the mortgage industry; I just wasn’t passionate about it anymore. Too many changes and less for the good, than you as a consumer might suspect. We were all guilty. Lenders, Brokers, Wall Street, even the consumer played an integral part in its demise.

I was fifty three and working thirty years in an industry that no longer inspired me.

More than half of my working career was now over. While I give you that I made a good living which allowed me to sustain the quality of life that I wanted for my wife and girls (and I give you that is instrumental for me), I became selfishly unhappy.

Yea, I know “Happy wife, happy life”. But what if dad’s not happy? Are dads entitled to not be happy?

I loved everything about my life, except work. Why? Because it was work, a job I went to every day. I had gotten to the point where my career defined who I was.

I struggled with it and a tough couple of years ensued.

And then I realized, I didn’t have to be miserable. Being miserable was a choice I had made and I had what I had because, in truth, it’s what I wanted. And then, well, here’s a thought, I didn’t want it anymore.

However what was it that I wanted to do?

What was I passionate about? What did I possess the talent to do?

As a business coach I understand that there are two things you can’t coach. You can’t coach true passion (you are either passionate about something or you’re not) and you can’t coach a lack of talent (you can certainly coach up talent, you just can’t coach up a lack of talent for something).

I needed to uncover what it was that I was passionate about, because without being modest, I knew that I had the talent to do whatever I set my mind to do. What excited me? What couldn’t I wait to get involved in? What made me smile and feel fulfilled?

Whole Foods Markets were started by twenty-five year old college dropout John Mackey and twenty-one year old Rene Lawson Hardy, natural food connoisseurs who saved and borrowed money from family and friends to open their first store.

Apple computer was started by a “geek” in his garage, who prided himself on his electronic hacking ability. PCs Limited was the initial operations of Michael Dell run from his dorm room, until he decided to drop out of college to run his company full time.

In 1971, English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bowker invested $1,350 of their own money to open a store initially known as called Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice.

Talent agents once described Fred Astaire by saying “Can’t act, can’t sing, balding… Can dance a little” and Clark Gable with “What can you do with a guy with ears like that?”

So what was it for me?

If you have followed my blog from the beginning, you know where the title of the blog “Ramblings of the Bruce” came from. Well I decided, it was time for a new identity. I was going to take ownership of “The Bruce”.

Sure it was still going to be exciting in my new role as the Chief Marketing Officer at Main Street (the bank that bought my mortgage company), but I was going for branding. I wanted to accomplish something much bigger. I got hungry. I was going to fuel the fire brewing in my gut.

It was time that “The Bruce” was destined for greatness.

So who or what did I re-invent?

• I became a blogger and a Facebook philosopher who you found here (or maybe I found you).

• I became an author currently working on re-editing my first publication “It’s a Great Deal, All Three of Me Think So”.

• I became a contributing author to the Detroit News and Free Press.

• I perfected what I had learned coaching others and became a partner in Business Edge, an internationally recognized Executive Coaching Firm.

• I formed a partnership in a new and exciting entertainment firm entitled D’ City Sound.

• I got my mug in national publications.

You see my passion, aside from often talking too much, is helping others. I love to see people smiling and having a great time.

I love to help others see things that they might have never seen before.

I love the look in their eyes when they arrive at a solution or an answer and you can just see their whole lives unlocking behind their eyelids.

I love it when they smack their foreheads with the palm of their hands, as if to say “Was it really that obvious?”

For the first time in a long time I’m having the time of my life, and I am passionate about what I am doing.

Do you love what you do?

I mean are you really passionate about what it is that you do?

If you are and you do, it’s awesome, rewarding and fulfilling all at the same time. If you are not, take a step back and look at your business life. Look at it from the outside looking in and not how you have looked at it over the last ten or twenty years.

I say “Happy Dad, glad dad” too.

Or as George Burns once so eloquently said “I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate”.

Being passionate means not only discovering what you want to do more than anything, but resisting the urge to never attempt or quit because the challenge appears too great.