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Passion Living Out Loud

Find Your Passion and Run With It…

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June 2014

It Can Be Grinding For Your Passion…

going to workThis blog is about everything related to following your passion. Almost every post is a tip or collection of words that hopefully inspire you to start or continue following your passion. The blog has explored almost every aspect of following your passion, but today’s topic. Did you know that sometimes in order to follow your passion, you have to grind for those things that aren’t quite your passion?

If you’re like most Americans, your day-to-day work that fuels your livelihood is NOT your passion. It’s the ‘must’ in our lives. You know. The sacrifice. You must work in order to have a place to live, eat, and sleep. Every day or whatever your defined schedule is, most Americans go to a place within or outside of some walls where they are required to perform daily responsibilities that aren’t related to what they LOVE to do. I raise my hand as high as I can on this point. I am definitely one of those people.

Today as I sat at my desk, I realized that I have to continue to grind on my day job to insure I can continue grinding even harder for my passion. For now, I need my job. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, my job actually serves as a way for me to support my passion. While I’m not doing what I LOVE to do, I’m doing what I have to do, so I can do what I love to do. Case in point. I am now a novelist. To be a novelist, it required the following from me:

1) Money

2) Time

3) Connections

All three of those pieces were tied to the fact that I am employed. I was able to save money to pay for my self-publishing process, such as printing, marketing, etc. Because I am employed, the time that I’m not required to work, I am able to spend time focusing on my writing. If I didn’t have the financial resources, I would’ve been stressed over how I would fund the publication of my book. The time not spent stressing, was time I was able to actually produce my book. And believe it or not, there were co-workers that played roles in my journey to becoming a novelist. They became my connections. And when the book was published, those same co-workers and others became supporters and purchased copies.

I’ll go even further to say that in some ways I am using my passion while I work day in and day out. I am a writer. I love to write. My job requires me to do that. I find ways to be creative, suggest projects, use my writing skills to continue being an asset to my employer. No… it’s not being used solely the way I wish I could (which would be sitting at home every day and producing all types of writing pieces from screen writes, plays, short stories and novels), but the silver lining is that in some ways, I’m still following it.

Don’t become discouraged because you can’t follow your passion full-time. Just know that what you do day in and out is necessary. There may come a time when you can follow your passion full-time. Don’t be put off by the fact that you have to give so much energy to things outside of your passion. You’ve got to give 100% of yourself to it. Make the best of it. Look for ways to incorporate your passion into your daily work. You’ll be surprised how it can make a way for your happiness to continue to flow.

Passion Living: In Living Color: Angie Irons

AngiePeople. People. People. Today’s interview is such an honor for me. I’ve known today’s interviewee for all of my life. Literally. While I’ve probably never expressed the level of my admiration to her, she is undoubtedly one of the first people I looked up to. When it comes to wisdom, she has it hands down. When you think of the word passion, you almost emphatically have to think of her. When you imagine what resilience looks like, you see her face among the crowd.

Angie Irons isn’t just my big sister, she’s someone who has inspired me to do what I love. I’ve reached out to her over the years for advice in following various dreams that I’ve had and she’s always been as honest and genuine in her reply. She’s also one of the first people I ever knew to truly follow her passion. By the time I was an early adolescent, I knew her to be off on her own passionately following her love for life. With 20+ years of experience in passionately living life out loud, I welcome you all to read this great interview with my sister, Angie Irons. You WILL be inspired. You WILL be motivated and led to start today or continue following your passion. She is definitely LIVING OUT LOUD!

Passionista: What do you consider to be your passion?
Angie: I consider my passion to be music…all things music. I have been a recording artist, music producer, vocal producer, vocal coach and artist manager. I study most aspects of music constantly and even subconsciously.

Passionista: Can you recall when you first realized it was your passion? Do you feel you’ve always been in tune with it?

Angie: I realized as a teen that music was my passion. I was forced to continue piano lessons as a young kid after my mother sacrificed and bought a piano at my request. At first it was a going-through-the-motions kind of thing, but eventually it emerged as a passion. Teen years can be rough and mine were no exception. My piano and songs were friends who would never betray or misunderstand.

Passionista: Did you ever try to ignore or distance yourself from your passion?

Angie: I left the music business for a stint to raise my children, but as I think of it I was still somewhat active in my passion because my husband and I were praise and worship leaders at our church. The babies would sleep in their car seats right there on stage as he played drums and I played keys.

Passionista: What or who pushed you to follow your passion?

Angie: Well, as I made reference before, my mother was pretty much the driving force to my focus. She didn’t lead me in the actual passion, I believe that is a “God thing”, but she definitely fed it and provided for it since as an adult she was equipped with the wisdom that you can’t just want something in life, you have to prepare for it…take some kind of action. In addition to my piano lessons, I remember one of the albums (I just dated myself, right?) I listened to for fun as a small child was all about the different types of instruments. She eventually enrolled me in one of the best performing arts high schools in Memphis, TN which was a major highlight in my training. I am so thankful for her attentiveness to my heart for music.

Passionista: If you could describe the way your passion makes you feel in one word, what word would you choose?

Angie: Weightless

Passionista: Wow… That word just made my heart drop. It means so much. I take it to reflect feeling free. Just wow. Depending on if you share your passion with others, what was the defining moment when you decided you wanted others to see or feel your passion?

Angie: I think I wanted others to feel my passion…after I started writing songs professionally. I actually started working on an album before I became a real songwriter. I was just singing the songs that the producers brought to me and told me to sing. The music wasn’t coming to life for me though. We were all a little disappointed and frustrated I think. The project dragged on without much vibe to it for a while. Once again I was “going through the motions”. One day I decided to try my hand at songwriting. I had written poetry for years and figured it shouldn’t be too different. It wasn’t. I understood song structure and knew I needed to apply certain principles to the “poetry”. Once I did that, out came song after song. I had something to say. I had what I felt like was a unique way of saying it and I wanted the world to “get it”.

Passionista: This next question is very important to me. As a mother, I always wonder where or how do I continue to balance my personal life and passion. How do you balance your passion with your family life and other personal responsibilities?

Angie: It isn’t easy to balance my passion and personal responsibility. My kids are finally grown so that part is easy now. My husband understands and supports my passion and I thank God for that. I am still very active as a songwriter. My writing process can be very fragile depending upon my attention span that day. I like to get in and finish a song as much as possible so when I start, I can sit there for hours recording without stopping to eat or anything else. Hubby will sometimes fix a meal and bring it to me so that I can continue my focus. He understands I need to focus and does not challenge that whatsoever. He’s awesome. He’s not needy. He has his own passion. Having secure people around you who not only understand what you do and why you do it but support you in it is absolutely invaluable.

Passionista: What are some of your past, current, or upcoming projects that display your passion?

Angie: I have been developing a project with an artist named Aanysa whom I met when she was 11. She is turning 15 now and her talent has blossomed in an amazing way. I have been her vocal coach, producer, stylist, PR, social media specialist and manager. It has been an awesome journey and we have both put in more hard work than I have time or space to explain here but it has been rewarding – she is incredible. We will be releasing her new single entitled “Harmony” on iTunes soon. Here is a link to her most recent cover video:

Passionista: Many people view following a passion as a tough task. In reality, it can be, but it doesn’t make following the passion impossible. Tell us what have been some of your greatest challenges, if any, in following your passion? How did you overcome those challenges?

Angie: One of my greatest challenges in following my passion has been overcoming fear of rejection. In the music industry, rejection in some form (almost daily) is inevitable. I had to learn that everyone has an opinion but that as long as I am well-versed in the area of concern, mine is just as important as the next person’s. Growing thick skin is imperative. I had to decide whether I would break because of rejection and not reach my goals or get stronger behind rejection and determine to reach them no matter what. I chose the latter.

Passionista: Do you ever think you’ll stop living your passion out loud?

Angie: I won’t stop living my passion out loud even after I have gone on to meet my Maker. Hopefully I will have left some audible evidence of my passion and touched a few folks who will continue doing the same.

Passionista: I love it. That’s the longevity of your passion. How do you feel your passion inspires others?

Angie: I hope that my passion inspires others in the literal sense that people enjoy the music they hear and get something from it. I also hope that the take-away for people around me who have seen me do what I love to do is that it’s more about what’s going on inside you than what seems to be going on outside. I have dealt with ups and downs being self-employed in the music industry but I am generally happy internally because I get to do what I love whatever the external result seems to be. I answer to God. I make my choices. I succeed or fail on my own merits or lack thereof. It is sometimes scary but it is mostly incredibly thrilling and empowering. I hope that inspires the next person to just step out there and do what it is that they seem born to do.

Passionista: If you could give some advice to individuals that desire to live their passion(s) out loud, what would it be?

Angie: If I could give advice to people who want to live their passions out loud I’d say don’t think about it too long. Pray and then take some action. If it is really a passion there has probably already been some natural preparation over the years. You’re probably already as ready as you’re going to be to at least get started. Now do something. “Now” is the operative word. Also, the “out loud” part is important (metaphorically speaking of course). Be bold. One bold step empowers you to take another.

Passionista: Have you been able to expand your passion into other things?

Angie: I suppose I have expanded my passion in a couple of ways. I started with the simple desire to play piano and from playing the piano, added singing. Songwriting was yet another progression. I learned a lot along the way from some very smart people who were also kind enough to share information with me and got into music production and that sort of thing. I guess that is a kind of “expanding”. I also feel like my passion for music has been responsible for developing characteristics that have “expanded” into the other areas of my life…characteristics like patience, tenacity, and self-reliance. Those traits are leading me to another passion – inventing. Stay tuned on that one.

Passionista: What do you hope to be doing with your passion in ten years?

Angie: In ten years I hope to be reaping. Been doing a lot of sowing over the 20+ years of following this passion. 🙂


There were so many messages in her interview. It’s important to follow your passion, but it’s also important to have the proper nurturing, support, and intuitiveness from those that love you for that passion. She also mentioned the capability to be resilient and not easily deterred. I’m a bit tear jerked from this interview as it speaks so loudly to me on so many levels. I hope it left you feeling practically the same and ready to take action. I truly believe there is a little bit of Angie in all of us. JUST DO IT!

I couldn’t end this post without showing you how Angie gets down as a singer. Below is her singing one of her songs. Enjoy!

 

Passion Living: In Living Color: Lakisha Johnson

Lakisha JohnsonGrind is one word. When you add passion in front of the word, it takes on a much greater meaning. When I first met today’s Passion Living: In Living Color interviewee, Lakisha Johnson, I knew immediately her purpose was greater than the room in which we stood. The more I’ve followed her, her passion exudes from her very being. From every day inspirational Facebook posts to awesome books displaying her passion, she’s definitely passion grinding! Check out her interview below and be inspired not to do Lakisha’s passion, but to live your passion as passionately as Lakisha does…

Passionista: What do you consider to be your passion?
Lakisha: My passion is writing. I don’t limit it to one specific genre of writing because God has given me the gift of writing without a limit.

Passionista: Can you recall when you first realized it was your passion? Do you feel you’ve always been in tune with it?

Lakisha: I think I’ve always realized my passion but I never truly tapped into it until I started writing devotionals 3 years ago. I’ve always written poems for other people, occasions for church programs and things like that but it never truly manifested until I actually truly accepted the assignment God was giving me.

Passionista: Did you ever try to ignore or distance yourself from your passion?

Lakisha: YES! That’s because even though my passion is writing, it also came with a calling from God to reach out to His people and that was scary. For me to step out on faith and start a devotional blog, me! Yes, I tried for a long time to ignore it but God had other plans.

Passionista: What or who pushed you to follow your passion?

Lakisha: I can honestly say my love for God and the people who truly encourage me. I am surrounded by people who push me daily and even when I feel like I have nothing to offer, they show up. When I feel like I am simply just a person, God intensifies the anointing in me which then allows me to go on. I am only a simple person but God chose me, me of all people so I have no choice but to follow.

Passionista: If you could describe the way your passion makes you feel in one word, what word would you choose?

Lakisha: Amazing!

Passionista: Depending on if you share your passion with others, what was the defining moment that you decided you wanted others to see or feel your passion?

Lakisha: When I finally realized, it’s not about me! See, I was so caught up in what others would say, how they would feel or even how they would accept me but when I realized that it’s not about Lakisha, things started happening, stuff started changing and lives were affected, in a positive way; I had no choice but to share it.

Passionista: How do you balance your passion with your family life and other personal responsibilities?

Lakisha: I have a very strong support system in my husband which allows me the opportunity to balance everything and I don’t accept more than what I can handle.

Passionista: What are some of your past, current, or upcoming projects that display your passion?

Lakisha: My devotional blog, kishasdailydevotionals.wordpress.com; 2 self-published devotionals: Doses of Devotion and You Only Live Once and 2 published fiction novels: A Secret Worth Keeping and A Secret Worth Keeping 2 (releasing 6/10/14) – All of the books can be found on Amazon.

Passionista: What have been some of your greatest challenges, if any, in following your passion?

Lakisha: Myself because I can be my biggest obstacle especially when I over think and over analyze everything.

Passionista: How did you overcome those challenges?

Lakisha: Again, by realizing, that it’s not about me (which I have to sometimes repeat over and over in a day).

Passionista: Do you ever think you’ll stop living your passion out loud?

Lakisha: No, because there are too many places I have to go and too many people I’ve yet to meet that need to know who I am.

Passionista: How do you feel your passion inspires others?

Lakisha: By showing them that they can do whatever they allow themselves to do.

Passionista: If you could give some advice to individuals that desire to live their passion(s) out loud, what would it be?

Lakisha: Just go! My devotional on 6/2/14 was titled “Just Go” because so many times we miss out on the things that God has for us because we won’t go. Sometime God doesn’t have a reason for sending us places because all He wants to see is if we will actually go. So I will tell anyone, don’t pass on your passion by pushing it off, go! You’ll never know what you can be if you won’t go to see. You’ll never know what you can do if you won’t go to do it. Try it and even if you happen to fall a few times along the way, fall with the faith that you can get up and go again.

Passionista: Have you been able to expand your passion into other things? If so, elaborate.

Lakisha: Yes, every day when I am able to blog, share my thoughts with the many friends on Facebook and to the many who purchase my books. Attending book festivals and even sharing with others who reach out to me.

Passionista: What do you hope to be doing with your passion in ten years?

Lakisha: Sharing it with others through books, movies, magazines, plays, speaking and maybe even teaching. Where ever God sends me because I’ll go!


 

Lakisha, thank you for sharing your story with the readers. It has definitely been inspiring.

And readers, if you didn’t get the motivation to begin or continue living your passion out loud from this interview, I encourage you to read it again and again. Don’t let your own fears, denial, or doubt get in the way of your own happiness. Live out loud and live it passionately!

Passion Mentor

I LOVE THIS SONG! HECK, I LOVE WHITNEY! 😉 I can always find a relation between one of her songs and a topic I’m writing on.

Yesterday, I was posed with the opportunity to become someone’s mentor. At the age of 32, I’ve been asked a few times, yet each time I wonder what have I done that makes me even qualified to mentor someone. What is it that people see in me that make me capable of mentoring someone on their journey? I start to list all of the things that just might make me qualified. My accomplishments, my background, my struggles, my upbringing, my morals, etc. And at the end of my list, I still conclude that I don’t know why they asked me.

Yesterday it hit me though, why not me? Every one has something to offer someone else. Someone or some people have mentored or are mentoring me, so what makes me incapable of mentoring someone? Absolutely nothing. I have some skills and experiences that I have acquired over time that may be very meaningful to someone else’s development. In most cases, I’m asked to mentor someone younger than myself, which made me think of Whitney’s song. The first couple of  lines of one of the verses is: “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” That’s the key.

That’s what motivated me to respond to the inquiry with a big fat, whopping YES… I’m just as responsible to help others to the best of my ability. Heck, it should be a passion of everyone. To help others along their way. If I hadn’t had the mentors when I was coming up, how would I have become the whole person that I am today? I wouldn’t have. I look forward to taking on the challenge in sharing and providing guidance to my new mentee. Furthermore, I look forward to learning more about myself because of the experience with the mentee.

As relates to you and your passion, that’s a great start to begin mentoring someone. There is always someone out there that may look up to you in what you do with your passion. Your experiences with it may be greater than theirs therefore you’ve got some knowledge to share. If you are approached or know of someone who wants to follow a passion similar to yours, offer your guidance, insight, experience (that’s if they’re willing to listen). It’s our responsibility as humans to assist those around us that are trying to grow just the same as you did!

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