I have come to realize that the universe is constantly sending messages and promptings that I need to pay more attention too. We all have them.. you know what I mean, that little voice that tells you to turn left instead of right, an impression that you should call an old friend that we thinking the same thing, only about calling you. Sometimes these messages come through less traditional sources, like songs, movies, books.. or you realize that you keep hearing the same damn message or line over and over until you finally “get it”..

I ran into an interesting concept this week that seems to have answered a bunch of my questions about my life.. I know what you’re thinking.. no there were no claps of thunder, an angel didn’t appear to me (unlike the one that appeared to my mother many years ago and told her she was going to have a baby.. and that his name shall be called Dain.. true story.. I swear.. Okay I made that one up, but it could’ve happened) and no it wasn’t in a movie.

Here it is…

Since the time we were little, many of us were told that “we can do anything we want”, “follow your passion/heart and you will be happy”… I have come to realize that continuing to follow your passion as a focus will eventually leave you empty. Why you ask?? Because it’s only about you! Tim Sanders touches on this in his book “Today We Are Rich”.. Think about this for a minute. When was the last time you really felt “filled” with satisfaction and pride? Maybe when you saw your kids do something big? Seeing a project you were involved in take shape??? Was it ever about you? NO.. My point is, think back to the times you did something with a purpose.. like service projects or unconditional acts of kindness.. remember the feeling you had after? Now, contrast that with your passion.. when you did something for yourself.. yes you felt accomplished and proud.. but did it last?

Don’t get me wrong, those of you that know me understand that I live my life from a center of passion and forward movement. I’m not satisfied with the status quo. I’m not suggesting you give up on your dreams.. actually the opposite. Let me explain..

If you go through life doing nothing except chasing your passions, you will reach your goal of experiencing many unbelievable things and accomplishments. BUT.. if you include the concept of ‘purpose’ in your passions imagine the possibilities! I will use my friend Kevin as an example.. Kevin is a radio guy who has been very successful as a morning DJ for many years. He is married to a very funny, creative and understanding woman (to be married to a radio personality is a very difficult job.. so I’ve heard).. anyway, Kevin was going through life with professional success. Following his dreams and passions.. but seemingly without purpose.. but successful. One day he was asked to be involved in a fundraiser for a Children’s Cancer Hospital.. as I remember the story, he met a little girl battling cancer. They bonded instantly and became fast friends. Kevin found himself so taken by this little girl’s spirit and passion for life, that he felt something deep inside that changed his point of view.. or purpose. In the next couple of weeks and months after the radiothon, Kevin could be found at the hospital with her, spending time talking about life, dreams and passions. During one of these heart-to-heart conversations, they had a conversation about her dream to get out of the hospital to be able to run again, as I recall the idea of a marathon came up. By this time Kevin had already realized what was happening.. his successful professional life needed a boost of purpose. This one little encounter with Chelsey had changed my friend Kevin forever. Chelsey didn’t win her battle with cancer, but her spirit had inspired everyone around her to find a bigger purpose in our hum-drum lives.

Kevin took that experience and has since formed a non-profit organization that focuses on a variety fundraisers to help the Cancer Hospital and provide scholarships to cancer survivors for college and other activities. His Snowdrop Foundation is a huge contributor every year to the Texas Children’s Cancer Hospital. Since the start of the foundation there have been softball tournaments, runs, yard sales and event Gala events. The biggest is the one Kevin does by himself, he runs.. a lot. A couple of years ago he made Chelsey a promise before she passed, that he would run a marathon on every continent before he turned 40. Last I checked with him.. he was almost there. Kevin has the goal to run across the US one year as well. I know Kevin.. he’ll do it, and then want to go farther.

If you ask Kevin about his purpose now, or ask why he does these amazing things.. you’ll get a very straight forward answer. Something like, “I don’t do it for me.. the pain I experience is nothing compared to cancer…” this as he’s running off to catch a plane for another marathon or off to train with gym bag in hand. I saw on his Facebook the other day that he was off to do a 30K.. “just for training”.. really?

This is a life with purpose tied to passion. Kevin is a superstar, and everyone who meets him feels his passion instantly.. and it’s contagious. Many of us met incredible kids who were faced with this same challenge that lost their fight with cancer. Mine was Austin.. My good friend ‘Doc’ Adams had a friend Tori who also lost her battle with that damn disease. Doc turned his passion into a stronger purpose, by taking a job with the Children’s Miracle Network to help hospitals and radio station raise more money during radiothons. He also created his own non-profit group to help. Instead of running, Doc used his other big love.. gaming!! He organized a group of gamers worldwide to play video games for 24 hours.. but there’s a catch. They get people to sponsor them and donate for every hour they actually stay up and play. I don’t know how Doc raised last year, but it has consistently been in the 100’s of thousands category.

I have had an amazing touch with great people my whole life, but my short time in Houston connected me to some incredible people. Some not with us anymore and some still trying to make a difference because of the lessons learned and shared by superstars like Kevin and Doc.

So I challenge myself and you to take another view of things and consider motives… Passion is a good thing, now how can we add in a meaningful purpose?!?

The basic premise is that you will start to think ‘outside’ instead of ‘inside’… all your reasons for doing the things you love take on a new perspective and deeper meaning. Now I’m not suggesting that we try to help cure cancer or change the world, simply start to look outward more. Serving others in non-traditional places. Church callings or silent auctions don’t cut it.. simple donations help of course, but go deeper. Just think about it.

I told Emi the other day to consider what she wanted to do in her life. She looked at me and said.. with a question mark in voice. “finish school and get a good job??” I said, “think deeper, what do you really want to do and how will it affect you and other positively.. not just with a huge salary, but with a purpose”. Her response was interesting, she said.. “why, are you unhappy with your decisions in life?” I said, “this isn’t about me, but about you..” But she made me realize that there were few things I need some work on.

Purpose Vs. Passion…

This week I had a ton of interviews.. again, no answers or direction yet. But I now see the incredible opportunity I have to approach this with more purpose. Almost an obligation more than ever. When I get back into radio, I plan to continue the direction I learned from my mentors in Texas.. namely Kevin, Doc and yes even Johnny Chiang.. radio without purpose has no passion and visa versa..

I saw some of this yesterday as I met some old High School friends for a quick impromptu reunion at the old Skyview High School. Scott, Roxanne, Ron, Layne, Marilyn, Troy, Andrew, David, Chris.. so cool to see them. Our class was over 600 strong.. but these nine or so taught me a few lessons. The stories of jobs, kids, person struggles, new projects, memories from the past, cancer battles won and lost… I found another connection to my past through my old friends. We had so many common past experiences and yet such different outcomes that now call a life. Each starting down a different path than where we are now… it was nice and sad to say goodbye so quickly.. it always is.

Today I definitely Feel Rich!