Do you ever take time to stop and think about what drives you? What you are passionate about? These questions are essential no matter where you are in your career or life. Feeding your passion is about expanding your mind; it’s about creating something new. Did you know research shows that when we perform a new task or learn something new, new connections are forged in our brain? That means learning isn’t just cerebral, it’s physiological! Exercising your passion is another way to put your brain to work.
As professionals, we often feel torn between competing demands: work, family, professional advancement, etc. If only we could realize the value of taking the time to explore new and different activities. We could improve our creativity, expand our ability to connect with others, and ultimately, become more well-rounded leaders.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who only knew how to talk about his or her profession? Conversations with such one-dimensional individuals can be painful. Over the years, I’ve certainly found myself struggling to come up with new or interesting things to talk about. I recall early in my career admiring the leaders who could hold dinner or cocktail conversation about myriad topics – from the latest movies and pop culture sensations to which wines were hot that year and other interesting insights about the world around them. As a twenty-something, I longed to be that informed. Maybe that’s why I’ve devoted my life to adult learning. It’s important to me that the learners with whom I come in contact not only have a quality educational experience, but that they walk away with something that will inspire them to see things differently – or something they can bring up in dinner conversation. From food and wine to the science of how everyday things work, subject matter can be interpreted from a unique perspective.
My passion is cooking (and eating!). As a result, I read cookbooks like some people read novels – curled up in my favorite chair with a warm blanket and a roaring fire. Rarely am I standing in the kitchen while reading my cookbook. While that can sometimes be disastrous, it is mostly enlightening. To me, a good cookbook will provide context for the dish – more than the measures of ingredients. I will learn about the origin of the recipe or the people who consumed it. I may learn about the culture or historical context that made the food popular, which gives me new insight and inspiration. That knowledge is something that I can share with others and together, we can build conversational bridges that connect our unique experiences and extend our collective knowledge about the world around us.
I invite you to join us in our quest to feed your passion. Maya Angelou may have said it best: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
In the weeks and months to come, I hope you will join us in exploring your passion, exercising your humor, and learning in your unique style.
Let’s dig in!