Newsletter: Reach for the Stars

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It must be said that I love good writing. I don’t think that comes as any surprise, as I love writing myself and I love reading the works of others. More importantly though is that I love to be moved by words. Perhaps that is why I got into the story telling business in the first place.

Some of my English-teacher friends have their favorite authors and novelists, but I don’t. It’s a weird characteristic for a writer to not possess: a loyalty to a specific author. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love Mary Higgins Clark and still love Stephen Ambrose. And I love a good fiction or non-fiction book.

I am however loyal to one writer: Aaron Sorkin. The man just knows how to get me fired up with his well-crafted prose. If you were a fan of the West Wing, I highly suggest checking out his new HBO show, News Room.

You Have to Fight for Your Passion
For Sorkin, he has had to battle his own demons to get to where he is today. I didn’t know it until a few weeks ago, but he had a problem with some pretty hard drugs early in his West Wing days, but has been clean for 11 years.

But passions are like that. We have to fight for them. We have to hold on to them even when the world is doing everything in it’s power to take them away. Otherwise we lose a piece of our collective soul. And you will lose a part of who you are as a person.

The Never-Ending Question
What is your passion? Passions are one of the things I speak about often, especially in my FOCUS workshops that I have become known for.

But what good is a passion if it don’t do something about it?

I know all too well.

You see, the only reason I have the speaking opportunities I have today are because of two very conscious choices I’ve made in the past 12 years. The first was in the year 2000.

My Pop Cultures teacher at the time suggested I join the high school speech team. It sounded like a geeky thing to join, but I also knew I had a unique skill at giving speeches. So I signed up and four months later, I had an Iowa All-State Speech medal to show for it.

Then, nearly seven years later, I wanted to get into professional speaking, but I was waiting for the phone to ring. But it never did. Finally, my friend Nathanael called me out, telling me to go chase the dream and not wait for it.

So I did. And here I am.

You Have to Live
Acting on your passions helps you come alive. It gives you something to shoot for, go after, dream about and fail for.

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
-Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch

At the end of the day, at the end of a week, a month and your life, it is going to be the things you tried to do that you’ll remember. Sure, I ran a marathon and I crossed the finish line. But i will remember the hours of training and reading and prepping more than the race itself.

Be the person you want to be. Reach for the stars. Be passionate. And never quit.

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