Passion is Not Something We Have It’s Who We Are

By August 21, 20174 Comments

So in past blog posts, we’ve covered how combining your Visions and Goals are the recipe for feeling good on the way to living your dreams.

Now let me ask you:

Have you ever gotten something or somewhere you really, really, reallllyyyy wanted and then realized it wasn’t right for you? I sure have.

I don’t mean like the feeling you get when you order your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant and they bring out the wrong one.

I mean when you got exactly what you ordered, and then realize that it is not what you actually wanted to eat.

Maybe you weren’t ordering from the heart. Rather, you were ordering what you thought you should, based on what you think you should have.

In this post, I’m going to talk about what I call a Passion Pivot. It’s that moment when you realize you aren’t doing what you love. You feel that there’s something more aligned that’s calling you, and you take a courageous action to shift directions towards the fulfillment of your delicious destiny.

I’ve had multiple Passion Pivots. Sometimes they come like a gentle breeze, sometimes they have at me like a school bully’s kick in the nuts. Surprisingly I’ve learned to love them because they help me discover who I really am.  So sit back, relax, tear open that pack of organic gluten-free kale chips you paid way too much for, and allow me to take you on the journey of my first passion pivot.

It is November 2012, and I wake up in my California King size bed with 800 thread count Egyptian cotton that I paid way too much for and sweated in most nights for lack of breathability. I bat my eyes open and look over to my left. There’s a beautiful woman still sleeping lying next to me like an angel. I admire how amazing she is, I bask in how satisfied I am, and I think fondly about what we did last night at the club, at home, and into the morning. As usual, I am pleased with my performance.

I run my hands through my hair and notice pieces of glitter from throwing it around at our bottle service table at Voyeur nightclub in downtown San Diego last night. I laugh and feel accomplished with the results of my favorite signature party trick.

Have you ever had the pleasure of throwing glitter at shmancy nightclub before? It’s amazing how some of us (inclusive of me at a certain points in my life) dress up all slick, go out to spend thousands of dollars on bottle service and the hottest DJs, only to be left in shock when there’s glitter raining down all over their designer clothing and into their $100-per-glass drinks.

As they look at me with contempt, I continue to smirk and offer the bag to them, to take confetti life for a spin. Next thing you know, they turn into children at a birthday party.

I love the feeling of making people feel like kids again and releasing the seriousness that is “adulting.” It’s beautiful, I love disrupting and recalibrating perspectives like that.

As I come out of this morning dream back into my bed, lean up on my elbows and blink my eyes into focus, to admire the view. I’m 28 floors above the ground, watching the birds soar across the horizon and the planes landing at the airport. The view spans everything from Mexico to the Coronado Islands, to Point Loma, to La Jolla….all out there for me to see.

By all societal accounts, I had made it. So yeah, I was like: #SquadGoals #Ballin #BallIsLife #ThatJetSetLife #Rich #Blessed #Models #BottlesAndModels #Grateful #Success and lots of other cliche hashtags #alldayerryday.

You see, 2 years prior when I was 27, my business partner/best friend Jeff and I sold our internet marketing company for 7 figures. Now, I know that’s not “fuck you money” and many others have sold for much more, however, it was enough to buy a lifetime supply of glitter.

I went from really living paycheck to paycheck for the previous 10 years of building a startup, to moving into a 2,200 sq ft. penthouse with Jeff, leasing a sexy new Audi A5 coupe (Loved that car), owning the premier city guide, (which shortly after the moment described above, we also sold), and I was partying like it was my birthday every night all over the city of San Diego.

On any given night we had 10 photographers snapping photos around town at the best nightclubs and bars for We had free dinners at the best restaurants, we had free bottles at the best tables, we had after-parties in the penthouse with animal slippers for all the ladies to change out of their heels and be comfy, a disco ball hanging in the living room on multi-color lighting rotation, and all the party favors you could handle…we had really made it, right? Right?

I had gotten everything I wanted. It was goddamn glorious….and I realized a large piece was still missing. I had a massive void that was calling to me – destiny.

I get up from the comfy bed and walk out to the balcony for some air and reflection, I take a deep breath, the hangover was kicking in a bit but I’d had worse.

What’s missing suddenly entered my consciousness…I wasn’t fulfilled. This may seem obvious from your perspective, however, it was a life-changing insight for me.

I was happy and I was joyful. I loved my life and the people in it, but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled with what I was doing.

I felt I wasn’t living a life worthy of my life.

I wanted to feel passionate. I wanted to fall asleep with a smile on my face instead of partying with a longing to fill a void. I wanted to wake up with my soul on fire, ready to express itself and light up the world, instead of waiting for Happy Hour at the end of each day

Does this sound cheesy? I don’t care, it’s my truth.

Can you relate?

Passion is Not Something We Have It’s Who We Are

One of my mentors Yasuhiko Genko Kimura says: Passion is not something we have it’s who we are as a cosmic destiny. When I got this concept it changed my life forever.

I knew I wanted to make a positive impact on people on billions of people while fulfilling my artistic spirit, and after receiving ideas and feedback and reflecting on what my soul desired, I knew I was not fulfilled and was ready to make a big change even if it went against all practical logical reasoning.

This was one of my first-ever Passion Pivots.

This is a magical moment in life. When the Universe comes together to whisk us away on a magic carpet ride to find out who we really are. The question is: do we fully receive the journey?

I was ready to meet my fucking destiny.

So, I choose to leave my cushy 6-figure corporate job as Chief Lifestyle Officer at UT San Diego, I was the youngest executive of this 700 person company that had acquired

I took the vision of wanting to make an impact in the world and created Enlightened, which focuses on integrating philanthropy into everyday life. Boom, I have a passion, purpose, and fulfillment all packaged into one fully life-consuming startup!

I downsized into a spare bedroom in Beachwood Canyon Hollywood at my friend Brett’s house and invest all the money I had into this baby nugget startup. I know I’m in for a big adventure and I am afraid, although I am also excited.

I focus on the excitement, my desire to massively contribute to people’s lives and make a lot of money doing it. That vibration is much more dominant than the fear vibration.

I like to use the scientific terminology for this: I had a #FearBoner.

I realize I need $1 million in investment to make this happen. I start with investing my own money, followed by a fundraising adventure to fill out a seed round from strategic investors. I travel the world meeting people like Richard Branson on Necker Island, the chairman of Orbitz, the owners of the Wall Street Journal, and many more amazing, heart centered and high-net-worth individuals who shared my mission of integrating philanthropy into everyday life.

In addition to the money I invest, my lovely parents who have always been supportive of my crazy dreams, come in with the second tranche of cash, and my amazing and huge-hearted friend Natalie invests the third. The magic carpet now has stardust and supplies and it is time to fly!

And all to make the world a better place.

We sign up businesses and nonprofits and feel like we are going in the right direction.

Unfortunately, we aren’t, because the tech platform was not the right one. We build a shopping site that gives back, and soon realize that the 3 of us, males, unfashionable co-founders are NOT the leaders in this space and we don’t really know what we are doing. This happens sometimes with startups.

Actually, it happens all too often. In fact, according to Forbes, 90% of startups fail. Our heart was in the right place, however, our strategy wasn’t, because we didn’t find product market fit early enough.

To avoid this same fate and to find product market fit early before you burn through your cash, I highly recommend this book called The Startup Owner’s Manual.

However, there is a bright spot in what looked like the rubble of the failed product we had poured $500,000 into by that time. We created the product pages in a way that showed how much is donated towards a philanthropic goal with each purchase, and once the purchase is made, the customer is prompted to share. What we found is that this increased conversion rate (number of sales over visitors) by 30%.

You can see here what it looks like:

So we made a product pivot, where we adjust the product to the market needs

We moved away from having our own shopping site to integrating philanthropy into other company websites, it started to work great! However as it goes with some great products, we were at the end of our ability to fund the company and we ran out of runway.

It was an incredible experience, right up until the end. After a year, we were out of money, really out of money, and out of food.

It was September 2013, I get up from my desk in the den we turned into the Enlightened office in my WeHo apartment to get some food. I walk to the kitchen in my flowy pants, shirtless as usual, with a big grin on my face for no particular reason. I open the cupboard and realize all I have are condiments. Then I realize I don’t have money in my bank account to buy food, then I realize that I don’t have money to pay my rent, my employees or myself.

I invested all my cash into Enlightened. My brother had taken a mortgage on his home to invest, we had given it all we had. At this point, I am not only out of cash, I’m also $80,000 in debt.

So now I went from having “made it” and all those sweet ass hashtags to being a #Failure #Loser and #Poor, right? It was the end…however I chose to look at it as the beginning.

I could have easily slid down the shame spiral back into the hole where I came from, however instead of being scared or stressed, I make the choice to check into my body and my feelings and realize I am calm, hopeful, passionate and FULFILLED.

I realize that I have achieved what I wanted to in the area of fulfillment, even though it may have come with a monetary cost.

Why do I feel so good with this realization? Well, I’m living in my passion. Even though I hit a roadblock with this cash situation, I knew I was going in the right direction in life, and that I was going to continue living my best life, listening to my inner being, and I could tell my vibrational frequency was on point.

My positive attitude allows me to be grateful and realize that I am living in my purpose and being my passion. I am having a blast making a difference for people I care about. I’d been given so much, and I am alive, more alive than I have ever been.

Even though I lost $1 million, I created the belief that my life only gets better and I will continue to elevate.

I was feeling sorry about losing money for my investors, my parents and myself, however, I realized that this was something to acknowledge, not something to dwell upon or carry with me for one more moment. I call each one of them and let them know what had happened and they let me know they saw we had done our best and we were forgiven.

Just a couple days later I was ready to see what was next for me. I ask the universe and people in my life, “How can I contribute to something I’m passionate about?”

I share this desire with everyone! In my opinion, it is key to ask and share what you want instead of “waiting until it happens.” In addition, I am authentic with my situation and what happened with my startup instead of hiding it and trying to look good.

I share with the lovely girl at the smoothie counter, the man in line with me at the DMV, with friends, mentors and ask myself daily how I can achieve this.

Just 3 days later, I am with my dear friend Jordan Brown, who is a legend of a unicorn and is Director of Visioneering at XPRIZE Foundation. He asks me how things were going in life, I tell him about closing the startup and now being incredibly focused on contributing to something I am passionate about. He looks at me, smiles, and says with his boyish grin, “Peter is looking for someone.”

My jaw drops, Peter Diamandis is one of my heroes, and I am listening to his book Abundance on repeat, which I highly recommend to you. He is all about mindset and focusing on what we want, being positive, and showing data that the world is the best it’s ever been and continues to get better.

Diamandis is the founder of XPrize Foundation and father of privatized space travel with his $10 million space prize. He focuses on creating companies that impact the lives of a billion people as the founder of Singularity University, he’s lassoing asteroids for minerals with Planetary Resources, and the list goes on. The possibility of working with Peter Diamandis is like meeting Justin Bieber for teenage girls….or for you, it’s ok, don’t be shy in admitting that 🙂

His teaching immensely influenced my current life mission of: Everyone being aligned in themselves.

I had some insecurities about working with Peter. In the back of my mind, I heard a voice saying “I am not good enough, I am not smart enough,” and “I don’t deserve this opportunity.”

My childhood was filled with these feelings, and that’s all the voice is, past-based brain patterns looking to take me out of the present. I call that voice “Stan the Little Man,” because it helps me distinguish that little guy from who I really am.

We are Pure Positive Source Energy in a Physical Body   

Even the seemingly negative aspects of life are gifts, it’s all about our perspective and what we learn from them.

I push back my insecurities using visualizations and my mantras, reminding myself that I am worthy, I do deserve good things, that I love me and I’m a badass unicorn. Self-love is so important in life, it gives us the ability to love ourselves even when we make mistakes and love others in these moments as well!

It all came together beautifully. A week later, Peter hires me as the Director of Possibilities on his 4-person skunkworks team, and magic is in the air immediately.

Just two weeks after meeting him, on the first day of my new job, Peter asks me to meet him at the Santa Monica airport and we hop on a private plane to go to the Goldman Sachs Summit, where he was interviewing Elon Musk!

I sit in a lounge with Jimmy Iovine, founder of  Beats, Elon Musk, Drew Houston, the founder of DropBox, and many more amazing people. I am learning from this master, making $20,000 a month with my commissions, and meeting people I’d only visualized seeing in real life.

It’s all so surreal, and yet it’s my life, and I am grateful and fulfilled with what I’m doing. 9 months later, Peter asks me to join HeroX, an incentive prize platform where anyone can launch a prize, a privatized spin-off of the XPrize Foundation.

My 2-year journey at HeroX had been gratifying and beautiful, and I loved the work we do and how we’re helping the world. Every day, I get to meet who I see as some of the smartest and most inspiring people in the world and help them build a community around what they are looking to achieve.

I have been so extremely blessed in my life. The falls have always been an opportunity to learn and to get back up, maintain my positive attitude and mindset, and recognize all that I have received from life and from others, and be gracious. I had been able to give back to others on a massive scale, teach others what I’ve learned, and live my passions. I am fulfilled, satisfied, and happy every single day.  

My first Passion Pivot had been one that took me on a ride of my wildest dreams.

All of this magic showed me the following:

  1. We create the dream as we flow. What we believe and how we feel dictates the kind of dream it will be.
  2. We always have a choice in our relationship about how we feel and what we believe. It’s like a muscle, the more we work it out the easier it is to flex it when we need it.
  3. I prefer to not know how the movie is going to unfold or end. I prefer to enjoy the discovery and trust that I will be grateful for what transpires.
  4. Every moment has prepared me for my next big life-changing passion pivot moment.
  5. We deserve all the goodness and abundance that is coming our way, it’s a matter of receiving it

Here is the Lifestyle Perfected Structure:

So, let’s break it down. I’ll give you 3 steps I take when I’m doing this:

  • Step 1: Get clear on how you feel and what you believe about your current situation
  • Step 2: Decide how you want to feel and what you want to believe
  • Step 3: Write down the actions you can take to have this

Step 1: Get clear on how you feel and what you believe about your current situation

I take the time to really assess and identify my feelings, and the limiting beliefs I encountered.

Undesired Feelings:

  1. Stress
  2. Anxiety
  3. Insecurity
  4. Uncertainty
  5. Comparing ourselves to others in a way that doesn’t feel good
  6. Undeservedness

Limited Beliefs:

  1. I am doomed and bad things are bound to ruin my progress
  2. I have to work hard and grind to have what I want
  3. If I don’t achieve my goals people won’t respect me
  4. Stressing and worrying about achieving my goals  is inevitable
  5. I don’t have the courage or skill to achieve my goals
  6. I don’t deserve to have my dreams
  7. I won’t be able to make money from doing what I truly love

Step 2: Decide how you want to feel, what you want to believe and choose more empowering beliefs

Desired Feelings:

  1. Trust
  2. Alignment
  3. Delight
  4. Excitement
  5. Belief
  6. Adventure
  7. Confidence
  8. Flow
  9. Vibrational Alignment

Empowering Beliefs:

  1. I trust myself and the environment to align
  2. I shift my emotions like a ninja
  3. I am in alignment and on the right vibrational frequency
  4. Feeling good is my foundation for performance
  5. I deserve to do what I love
  6. When I’m aligned, everything I want flows easily and smoothly
  7. Passion is who I am and my cosmic destiny

Step 3: Write down the actions you can take to have this

  1. Wake up each morning and review and identify my emotions
  2. Focus on generating the feelings I want to feel each morning and throughout the day
  3. Journal my ideas and passions
  4. Create an action plan for making my passions into a business
  5. Pay attention and see how my passion can be monetized. Does a job already exist or do I need to create the business?
  6. Ensure I’m enjoying the journey, notice when I’m not and shift it
  7. Do what feels good even if it feels illogical as that’s where the magic shows up
  8. Share your vision with others that can support you and connect you with the right people

Questions for our inner being:
What is the specific vision and the goals I need to achieve?
Is my vision and goal aligned with my passion?
What are the limiting beliefs keeping me from moving forward and doing what I love?