This post isn’t for the faint of heart.  If you’re content with living a normal, boring life, turn back now.  If you desire a remarkable life of passion and freedom, buckle up, because you’re in for an ass kicking.

48 hours ago, some guy I’ve never met changed my life.

I’ve been following Bryan Franklin’s work for months now.  Bryan, a Hollywood film editor turned “million dollar coach,” is a freakin’ passionate guy.  I’ve never met him, I’ve never spoken to him, and he doesn’t even return my tweets (that jerk)…

The other night, though, I was watching a video that he offers freely on his website on the business of coaching.  Naturally, as a coach, it’s in my best interest to learn from the best of the best, right?  I’d watched this video before, but I was distracted and I didn’t much out of it.  Something drew me back to it on Monday, though, and I’m glad it did.

Part way through the video, Bryan said something that blew my mind.

‎”Your passion isn’t something that you ‘do.’ It’s a game of crafting an experience for another human being.”

Sit on that for a while. No, really.  Stop reading.  Stand up.  Walk around your house/apartment/bungalow, and think about that.

I’m going to tell you what I got out of that quote later, but in that instant, I was like…  WHOA.

I slept on it.  I shared it with my girlfriend.  I thought about it some more.

And then yesterday, I shared it with a super awesome group of super passionate people.

You know that Lifestyle MBA thing that I keep ranting about, right?  Well, every week, the eight people who are participating in my little “beta test” come together to chat on a weekly conference call.  Every week, we pick a tough question and force each other out of our comfort zones to overcome real challenges in our lives and our work and to propel each other forward into a remarkable life of passion and freedom.

Halfway through last night’s call, I decided that I couldn’t hold back any longer.  I was like, “I want to share with you guys a quote…”  And I hit them upside the head with 18 awesome words.

‎”Your passion isn’t something that you ‘do.’ It’s a game of crafting an experience for another human being.”

I find silly things to be totally profound–heck, I routinely derive inspiration from B-list comedy flicks–so I thought that I might have just been getting excited about something silly.  But no…  The people on the call started getting fired up, too.  I got emails from folks thanking me for sharing that specific quote.

Bryan, if you’re reading, that’s freakin’ profound.  Thank you–I owe you.

The most powerful words in the world are the words that are derived from absolute, universal truth.

There are two types of motivation in the world.

First is aspirational–a picture of what can be in the future.  Most people who try to be influential (myself included), skew toward aspiration.  We show other people what their lives can be like, or we show other people that they can do marketing differently, or we show people that they can live more healthy lives.

Aspiration comes from opinion, theories, and ideas.  It comes from believing that something is possible, but having that result just out of reach.  Aspiration can also come from experience–“this is how I’ve accomplished this goal, and maybe you can, too.”  Most coaches, authors, speakers, and bloggers fall into this category.  So do most “get rich quick” schemers, coincidentally.

But there’s a different sort of motivation: inspiration. Inspiration, I believe, comes from only one source–truth.  Not truth as in the “the sky is blue,” because that’s a matter of perspective (the astronauts on the International Space Station, the sky is a deep, dark black).  Instead, I’m talking about universal truth.  Motion.  Balance.  Creation and destruction.

While I don’t believe that any human being has even the tiniest perspective on universal truth, some are at least aware of truth and virtue, and how they relate to humanity.

I believe Bryan’s words fall into that category.

How I am redefining passion and purpose.

I’ve always struggled with passion and purpose.  I never really deceived myself and claimed to know what my passion was, but I’ve always known that I didn’t really fully understand.

In another bit of Bryan’s work, he described passion differently.  He says that, when you ask someone about passion, there are two ways that they can answer.

First, if someone is not living their passion, they speak about their passion as if it’s something in the future.  If I wanted to be a chef, I’d probably describe my passion as if I own my own restaurant five years in the future, seeing myself cooking food in a beautiful kitchen.  Those people will take steps toward making that a reality.  They’ll enroll in culinary school, for example.

But by holding that future image of themselves as their “passion,” they are setting themselves up in such a way that they are doomed to live in discontent, because something feels wrong. The life they’re living–going through culinary school–doesn’t match the image that they’re holding of their “passion.” Therefore, they doubt themselves.  They wonder if they’re really meant to be a chef.  Their discomfort leads them to explore different things, but nothing seems right, and suddenly fifty years pass and they’re looking back on their life wondering where they went wrong.

On the other hand, people who are living their passions see the world very differently.  If you ask these people what they are passionate about, they will look not to the future, but to the very recent past, and they will share an experience that they crafted together with other human beings.  The same person who would want to be a chef, if they were living their passion, would describe people coming together over fine food, bonding and joining in conversation while “breaking bread” (thanks for the metaphor, Everson).  They describe the experience that they craft for others, often leaving themselves out of the equation altogether.

And therefore, I believe that we all know what we’re passionate about.  We just don’t know that we know.  But I’ve got a down-and-dirty rubric for finding out if you’re living a life of passion.

Would you do the work that you’re doing now, even if you didn’t get paid for it?

If your answer is “no,” you’re probably not living a passionate life.

So I’d like to encourage you to stop striving for the future and choose to look back to your very recent past and to find your passion in the experiences that you create for others.  What are the simple things that you do for the benefit of others that light your fire?

Most importantly, would you do what you’re doing now even if you weren’t getting paid?  If not, what would you do, even if you weren’t getting paid?  Pursue that purpose.  Do not give up until you find it.  If you’re in an uninspiring, crap job right now, remember that it is your choice to settle for mediocrity or to seek greatness.

Personally, I am passionate about helping people live remarkable lives of freedom and purpose. I used to think “I am passionate about helping people build businesses,” but that’s simply a means to an end.  I’m not passionate about building The Lifestyle MBA course or writing this blog, because without the people that I am creating an experience for, the work would be totally unfulfilling.  Bryan is right.  It’s a game of crafting an experience for other human beings.

Through my work, though, my mission is to:

  • Ignite the fire of entrepreneurial spirit in the world.
  • Inspire every person on Earth to live remarkable lives of purpose and freedom.
  • Inspire people to do work that they want to do, not that they have to do.

And so I will do everything in my power to make those things happen.  Before I do, though, let me share another example of how I’ve lived with passion today.

Today, I brushed my teeth with passion.

I know…  Brushing your teeth isn’t really something that you would consider a “passionate” activity.

But today, rather than doing the action of brushing my teeth, I relished in the experience of brushing my teeth.  Rather than brushing my teeth as a means to an end, I brushed my teeth as part of a larger purpose, as a step to maintaining my body.

I wasn’t just brushing my teeth.  I was cleaning my teeth to maintain my health.

There’s a great difference, I’ve come to realize, between living for the sake of living and living with intent. For the first time in a long time, I was able to take myself off of autopilot and start making conscious, purposeful choices to do what I choose to do.

Lately, my martial arts training has been kind of “meh.”  Something that used to fire me up was just another activity.  I’ve been going less frequently.  Coincidentally, I’ve been getting fat, too.  But I pushed myself to go this afternoon–not because it was “the thing to do,” but because I chose to.

As you go through life, are you just going through the motions, or are you living with intent?  Are you doing things just because they need to be done, or are you doing things because you choose to.

You don’t have to settle for anything that you choose not to do.

“That’s crazy, Rob.  I have to pay rent/mortgage.”  That’s not true.  You choose to live where you live, and therefore you choose to pay for your home or apartment.

No longer am I a victim.  No longer am I drifting lazily through life, moving in response to the things that come my way.  I have chosen to live differently.

And it only took 18 words to wake me up.

‎”Your passion isn’t something that you ‘do.’ It’s a game of crafting an experience for another human being.”

Crafting the Tao of Rob experience.

So what does my newfound, mindblowing outlook on life mean for you, dear reader?

First, I hope you’ve walked away inspired to step up and take control of your life.  You are the only one who can change your condition–it’s time to make the choices that will lead you there.

But second, my experience consciousness has led me to reconsider some of the projects that I’ve been working on lately, so in the coming weeks, you’ll likely see some changes in The Lifestyle MBA program and The Tao of Rob.

Introducing the experience that I would like to craft with The Tao of Rob.

  • You arrive at a beautifully designed site, that feels warm and inviting.  The visuals excite you, so you want to stay.
  • With each post, I shatter existing paradigms of your model of life and work, opening you up to new possibilities.  Your mind starts racing as you start to think about how you can apply new and exciting ideas to your own life.
  • I bare my soul to the benefit world, sharing deep, personal experiences from my life, and encouraging others to do the same.  It hits you on an emotional level, and you feel compelled to reexamine your own experience.
  • After you read each post, you leave this blog and immediately start creating ideas of how you can change your life.  You can’t wait to take action.

Naturally, I’m not quite there yet.  But armed with a new outlook–thinking in terms of crafting a full experience for other human beings rather than “writing a blog,” I’ve found that the steps that I need to take in order to achieve results are crystal clear.

But I can’t do it without you. So here’s my commitment.  No more mediocrity.  I’m tired of going through the motions.  If I write a post and it doesn’t create the experience that I’ve crafted above, I refuse to settle.

I need your help finding people who are looking for “something more,” but don’t know where to find it.  They know that there’s something out there, and they just need a little nudge in the right direction.  As you come across people on your journey in life, don’t be bashful–share our message.

You can help by letting me know that I’m on the right track.  Do my words ignite a spark in your mind and in your heart?  Are you achieving tiny victories by taking action as a result?  Leave a comment.  Shoot me an email.  They say that only 2-3% of your readers will ever comment, but my readers are different.  You’re passionate, inspired people.  Embrace that passion.  Shout it from the rooftops.

Today’s comment prompt: “What experience can you craft for another human being today?”

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