Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders

Find Passion to Fuel Authenticity – Amy Whipple

March 16, 2021 Connection Builders Episode 36
Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
Find Passion to Fuel Authenticity – Amy Whipple
Chapters
Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
Find Passion to Fuel Authenticity – Amy Whipple
Mar 16, 2021 Episode 36
Connection Builders

Passion fuels authenticity, and authenticity drives change for the better. Everybody can find their passion, but sometimes it just takes a little fuel to ignite this process. As the Director of Business Development for BDO and the co-founder of 503(c)s 100 Women Who Care and 100 Businesses Who Care, Amy Whipple has made caring for others as well as connecting people her passion. She joins us today to weigh in on how to find this powerful emotion, the effects it can have, and a whole lot more. We kick things off by hearing about what passion means to Amy, and she talks about how passionate her aunt was, how it drew people toward her as well as helped her fight Lou Gehrig's disease. The key takeaways here are that good energy is infectious, and that passion can be a driving force to get you through hard times. From there, we dive into the question of how to find your passion, and Amy talks about how helpful it can be to keep doing new things because our passion could be lying on the other side of those experiences. We then get into the idea that challenges drive growth and fuel passion before wrapping up our conversation with a meditation on Bob Burg's notion of the 'go-giver'. By coming into any situation with an authentic will to help others, we will spread positivity, build community, and experience a life of abundance too. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The meaning of passion for Amy and the role her aunt played in her idea of this quality.
  • How living passionately drew people to Amy's aunt and helped her fight ALS.
  • The responsibility of leaders to show passion in hard times and set an example.
  • Amy's true passion for making connections; her excitement about learning from others.
  • The contagiousness of good energy; the effects of bringing good energy to situations.
  • Passion as the core driving energy that gets people through hard times.
  • How masks are stunting connection, but technology can help open it up again.
  • Finding the silver linings in our COVID world through passion.
  • The work Amy does with her non-profits and how they help people discover their passions.
  • How looking back at past overcome hurdles can drive passion and authenticity.
  • The need for challenges because they drive growth – dig deeper if everything in your life feels easy.
  • How valuable it is to try new things because new passions could lie in those experiences.
  • The idea that 'finding your passion' is not a lightbulb moment; we can have many passions.
  • Anchoring things you don't enjoy but are good for you in things you are passionate about.
  • Rewards to be reaped by coming into every situation with a mentality of 'what can I give?'
  • Perspectives on being a 'go-giver' when you have too much on your plate already.
  • A suggestion to find time to give to others and make that a passion of yours.

Amy Whipple on LinkedIn
Amy Whipple Email
BDO
100 Women Who Care
100 Businesses Who Care
ALS Therapy Development Institute
The Go-Giver
Alex Drost LinkedIn
Branch Out Podcast LinkedIn
Connection Builders LinkedIn

Have thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. [email protected]

Show Notes Transcript

Passion fuels authenticity, and authenticity drives change for the better. Everybody can find their passion, but sometimes it just takes a little fuel to ignite this process. As the Director of Business Development for BDO and the co-founder of 503(c)s 100 Women Who Care and 100 Businesses Who Care, Amy Whipple has made caring for others as well as connecting people her passion. She joins us today to weigh in on how to find this powerful emotion, the effects it can have, and a whole lot more. We kick things off by hearing about what passion means to Amy, and she talks about how passionate her aunt was, how it drew people toward her as well as helped her fight Lou Gehrig's disease. The key takeaways here are that good energy is infectious, and that passion can be a driving force to get you through hard times. From there, we dive into the question of how to find your passion, and Amy talks about how helpful it can be to keep doing new things because our passion could be lying on the other side of those experiences. We then get into the idea that challenges drive growth and fuel passion before wrapping up our conversation with a meditation on Bob Burg's notion of the 'go-giver'. By coming into any situation with an authentic will to help others, we will spread positivity, build community, and experience a life of abundance too. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • The meaning of passion for Amy and the role her aunt played in her idea of this quality.
  • How living passionately drew people to Amy's aunt and helped her fight ALS.
  • The responsibility of leaders to show passion in hard times and set an example.
  • Amy's true passion for making connections; her excitement about learning from others.
  • The contagiousness of good energy; the effects of bringing good energy to situations.
  • Passion as the core driving energy that gets people through hard times.
  • How masks are stunting connection, but technology can help open it up again.
  • Finding the silver linings in our COVID world through passion.
  • The work Amy does with her non-profits and how they help people discover their passions.
  • How looking back at past overcome hurdles can drive passion and authenticity.
  • The need for challenges because they drive growth – dig deeper if everything in your life feels easy.
  • How valuable it is to try new things because new passions could lie in those experiences.
  • The idea that 'finding your passion' is not a lightbulb moment; we can have many passions.
  • Anchoring things you don't enjoy but are good for you in things you are passionate about.
  • Rewards to be reaped by coming into every situation with a mentality of 'what can I give?'
  • Perspectives on being a 'go-giver' when you have too much on your plate already.
  • A suggestion to find time to give to others and make that a passion of yours.

Amy Whipple on LinkedIn
Amy Whipple Email
BDO
100 Women Who Care
100 Businesses Who Care
ALS Therapy Development Institute
The Go-Giver
Alex Drost LinkedIn
Branch Out Podcast LinkedIn
Connection Builders LinkedIn

Have thoughts or comments? We want to hear from you. [email protected]

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Branch Out, a Connection Builder’s podcast. Helping middle-market professionals connect, grow and excel in their careers. Through a series of conversations with leading professionals, we share stories and insights to take your career to the next level. A successful career begins with meaningful connections.

[00:00:22] AD: Hey, everyone, welcome to the Branch Out podcast. I'm your host, Alex Drost. Today's guest is Amy Whipple, Director of Business Development for BDO out of the Detroit office. Amy is also the co-founder of 100 Women Who Care and the co-founder of 100 Businesses That Care – both 503(c)s that are making an impact on the community they serve. We have a great conversation today on how passion fuels authenticity, and so much more. I'm looking forward to sharing this with you. I hope you all enjoy.

[00:00:51] ANNOUNCER: Connect and grow your network. We are on LinkedIn. Search for Connection Builders.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:00:57] AD: Amy, welcome to the Branch Out podcast. Excited for this conversation today. 

[00:01:01] AW: Thank you so much, Alex. I'm delighted to be here. Really excited to have a conversation with you today around this topic.

[00:01:08] AD: It's going to be a lot of fun and talking to our listeners for a moment, we are in the middle of our Authenticity Series. And today, Amy and I are going to get into the topic of the power of passion, and where passion can really be a driving force to living your most authentic life.

So, Amy, maybe just start with sharing some of your thoughts around what is passion? What does it mean to you? And then we'll dive into how to really find it and chase it.

[00:01:32] AW: Yeah. So, when I think about passion, I really kind of rewind to about 15 years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. And she was somebody that I always had admired. But I didn't really know her that well as an adult, I was right out of college or you know, young in my career, young in my married life. And my aunt Mary Lou really exemplified passion. When she was diagnosed with ALS, she looked forward, because she knew that she had to be a model for others. Getting through the disease in a passionate way, would gravitate and keep people around her.

So, she was one of those people that was kind of like the nucleus. And all of the circles of people kind of surrounded her. So, she was friends with the partiers, she was friends with the church people, she was friends with kind of all the different groups. And she was the common denominator, basically. We started efforts to raise money for a nonprofit biotech out of Boston called the ALS Therapy Development Institute and we were really one of the founding families. We had an annual benefit and when we were trying to come up with the name, we came up with Passion for Life, because Mary Lou, she was 44 years old when she was diagnosed, which is my age. And passion was kind of the torch that she carried.

So, she was really kind of my role model. If I think about who do I look up to, or who kind of helped me create kind of the stage for my life and the platform for my life, it would be my aunt, Mary Lou.

[00:03:06] AD: That's such a great story there and even just hearing the part where passion is really driving that, right? The idea that for her being in such a hard place and it's something I can't relate to, and many of us can't, unfortunately. For those that can relate, I hope that they feel the same way in the idea that passion is the way you can get through that. Finding that excitement, finding that energy and recognizing that I am a believer, you can always find something to be excited, happy and passionate about life. 

And it takes time to search and look for that. But the reality in this exact example is, you're in a place where you know you have a terminal illness that's not going to treat you well, that your time left on earth is not going to be the most pleasurable. But yet she could still find time, she could still find the energy to be passionate, or maybe it's the passion that gave her the energy. It's something in that loop there but she found the passion.

[00:03:55] AW: Yeah, and I mean, she was very – I know authenticity is the hallmark of what your session is. And she was such an authentic friend, and authentic mother and authentic wife. I mean, what you see is what you got. And so, watching her through the course of her disease, which was seven years, and then watching people just want to be around her because she was such a positive person, even in the face of full paralysis, not being able to talk, not being able to breathe, hug, kiss. People wanted to be around her because she was so passionate and she brought so much joy and she thought of others.

So, I'll acknowledge, I'm not as thoughtful. I'm not the person that you're going to get a birthday card from. I'm not going to be the one that is like the best gift giver, but I try to show up and that's kind of where Mary Lou taught me.

[00:04:47] AD: I can even just see on your face as you're talking here. The excitement, the joy, the happiness that comes to your mind when you're thinking in that place. It says a lot of that power that passion can happen where it reaches far outside of you as an individual, but it impacts those people around you and, and can have that ripple effect when you are doing something or you're bringing passion, or bringing energy, or bringing excitement, and happiness and joy in everything that you do.

[00:05:12] AW: And I think in these times, Alex, we're in the middle of the pandemic, hopefully, the end is in sight. But for me, living passionately and trying to find those silver linings and trying to focus on those positive things, has really been what's kind of carried me through. I mean, it would be very easy to kind of go into a dark place. But I think that we have a responsibility to try to be a leader, and to try to – when things get tough, show our passion, show our energy, show our commitment to our work, our commitment to our family, our commitment to our neighborhood and that's where it's hard. But finding those silver linings and focusing on those and bringing that energy because people do get energized by other people's energy. I mean, in times like this super, super important.

I remember my first sales job many years ago, my first day out on the road was the day of 9/11, like, literally, I went to my first meeting on the road, got into the car and found out about 9/11. And I was newly married, my aunt had ALS, there was a ton of stuff going on. But at that time, like I just had to prove myself, I had to show that I wanted to be in my role, I needed to make connections. And so, I think, one of the things that I've just been really energized and passionate about is making connections. 

So, I love the name of your podcast, because I have in the last many, many years, between the ALS benefits, between hosting fundraisers, where we would have 600 people, between starting 100 Women Who Care, and then 100 Businesses Who Care. I've loved connecting likeminded people, and bringing together people to make an impact and bringing together people to become passionate about things. And the last many, many years, if I think about where I've gotten my most energy, it's through connections, it's through learning about what makes people tick, what people have done in their careers, you know, where people had those twists and turns and have overcome adversity, because they've been passionate, because they need to take care of their family, because they need to show up for their family because they're leading a company.

And every time I meet somebody, I get energized, because you can take away one little nugget from somebody and be like, “Wow, that person persevered or that person overcome something or that person is a great leader, I want to be more like that person.” And so, I feel like that's the opportunity that all of us have is to make connections, get to know people, and learn, and grow. Because every day we can grow, if we kind of look for those little silver linings and people.

[00:07:54] AD: What you're saying is music to my ears not only because of the connecting part of things, but just the energy, the finding something from other people. And I'm going to go on my own tangent on this just for a minute around energy. And I'm a big believer that energy is contagious and if you walk into a room and you are in a down bad, sad mood and just in a bad head place, you are going to bring that negative energy with you.

The opposite is also very true and when you walk in, and you give someone a smile, and you say, “Hey, how are you doing?” And you just bring a little bit of excitement, a little bit of energy to what you're doing. It can be such a game changer in how it impacts other people and how it impacts everyone in the room. We've all been in a meeting or in a social setting where someone's in a bad mood. And everyone around the table is just like, “Okay, when is this going to be over?” No one wants to be that. I encourage everyone listening to just, one, be cognizant of the energy that you are bringing into the situation's you're going into. And then tying that into the idea of being with people and learning from people and connecting from people.

Now, I understand you and I are very much the big room full of people, type of people. I love being around a lot of people. I know that not everyone feels the same way. That said, the idea of connecting with other humans and gaining energy and passion and excitement and just positive thoughts in general by learning about somebody, by talking to them, by building a genuine connection with them. I believe that applies to everybody.

I think it looks different for people like you and I that love the big rooms. I don't think that that's necessarily where someone that is more of an introverted like personality, you still need a human connection, you still need to go find that. And for everyone listening, I really encourage you to look at the opportunity for people that you're meeting is a way to learn, is a way to gain new insights and you talk about hearing about the challenges that people have overcome. You ask those questions and you start to hear that.  I'm also a big believer in the idea that everybody only knows the challenges they themselves have had to overcome.

So, everybody, I believe we all are facing the same level of difficulty and challenges. It looks different for people. It feels different, right? And you and I were just talking before we hit record here about how blessed we are and how fortunate we are today. But yeah, I'm sure we can both look around our lives and find challenges to point to. You start to recognize that everyone's going through it in their own ways and when you just listen and hear someone's story, and how they overcame it, what they're dealing with, it's not about what the challenge was. It's about the mindsets that the actions they took, the energy they found, the drive they found, the things they found to help them overcome those challenges. And I would argue that all of that is passion. It's passion at its core. Passion is the fuel that's driving that.

[00:10:38] AW: I would agree. And this is interesting. I was just thinking about this during this conversation. I've always been the type that like, if I'm in line at the grocery store, the people in front of me are behind me, like tell me their stuff. Even if I don't want to hear it.

[00:10:51] AD: You look friendly.

[00:10:53] AW: And I have to tell you that like with our masked society, I'm having a harder time connecting with people. I'll be in line at the grocery store, and I want to smile to the cashier, and they can't read me. And we can't read each other when we're out with our masks on. And so, I think we have to even be more intentional about asking how somebody is doing when we're masked up, because we don't realize how much we read, engage people from their face, their facial expressions. And so, I think that that's just super important in today's world where we're all struggling with this new normal, it might be a little bit harder to make those connections. But also, now's the time, we talked a little bit about this, before we hit record, technology.

I mean, I've been able to reconnect with friends that I went to college with, we've been able to see each other on video, that we would not have had a social hour to talk about how we're navigating these times, and to give each other that support, to listen, to really try to give each other energy and, challenge each other to try to find those silver linings during this time.

[00:12:05] AD: It's so important. At the end of the day, the situation is what the situation is. In this case, we're talking about COVID. You can talk about it and frankly, any situation. Once something has happened, you can sit there and say, “Well, this is stupid. I don't agree. I don't want this to happen.” Or you can accept, “Okay, this is happening. What's the silver lining? How do I find something to spin this in a positive way?” And I very much believe that the biggest battle we fight every day is in our mind, and it's overcoming those negative thoughts, and I struggle with them as much as anybody else on the planet does. It's not something where you flip a switch and you've solved it. It's a constant daily battle to look for that silver lining, because at times life is going to be great. And it'll be super easy to see the silver linings because they will be big and bright.

Other times, it's going to be really dark, and you're going to have to look really close to find that. And that's okay that you go through those dark times, but you have to be able to level yourself out and say, “Okay, what is good about this? What is exciting?” And I think that again, it ties back into where passion drives, your ability to see and to find those things. And where I would argue is just, if you find a passion, you find something you're excited about. And you really focus on that, it makes it that much easier to find that silver lining and overcome it.

[00:13:19] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, a Connection Builders Podcast.

[00:13:29] AD: Let's shift into how do you find your passion? How do you figure out what your passion even is?

[00:13:34] AW: So, I mean, I feel like things kind of happen for a reason. When you look in the rearview mirror and you think like why did that happen? What did I get from it? How did I overcome it? I've found a lot of my passions just by accident. When my aunt was diagnosed, I had never been to a fundraiser. All of a sudden, I'm leading this effort where we raised a couple million dollars for research. And then I was exhausted by fundraising quite honestly. I'd worked for that nonprofit biotech that we had started as a family and really tried to show up and change the course of the disease for people. And I'll never forget, two of my mom's friends came to me and they said, we want you to help with this nonprofit thing. I had been helping a lot of nonprofits with like end of year appeals and ideas for their events just on my own time. Quite honestly, I was just exhausted by fundraising.

When they told me about the model, which is the 100 Women Who Care model where we get women together on a quarterly basis, they donate $100. And then anybody can put their name in the hat to match a nonprofit that they're passionate about, bringing those women together and really helping other people identify and become passionate about maybe something they care about the community, or a cause that hits their family personally, it's been really amazing to kind of create a multi-generational group of women who are learning to become passionate about different things because of exposure, because they're being educated because, they're surrounding themselves by women who are teaching them about different things that they care about.

So, that kind of segued into 100 Businesses Who Care and 100 Businesses Who Care, we developed, we get business owners and leaders together twice a year, $500 donation, a business owner, President, CFO, whoever can join, and he or she needs to put her name in the hat to pitch a nonprofit.

Now, when you require someone to do the research, and to show up until on the spot, give a pitch about something that they're passionate about, it's amazing, because we've seen presidents of companies, CEOs of companies that they get choked up. They're like, I've been on the board of this nonprofit for years. I've helped raise money, but standing in front of a group of people and talking about why I care about this nonprofit, this organization that's doing great work in our community, it takes it to a whole new level, like you see their passion.

So, it's been really rewarding. And one of the things that, like we think there's a ton of opportunity to do. You hear about the millennials being, they need to know about where their company is passionate, what they're doing in the community, social and stuff like that. At the end of the day, we all care about that. It's not just the millennials, we all want to know that we're working for good people, we're working with good people, we're surrounded by good people, and we're passionate. What we're really with 100 Businesses Who Cares, I'd love to see more businesses get their employees involved. Because if people hear like, “Okay, we had one woman that grew up in a really bad situation.” You would look at her and you think that she had the perfect upbringing, the perfect life, and her mom was abused and she didn't know where she was going to be sleeping at night. We heard about her life in the organization that she was passionate about, because it was part of the fabric of who she was.

So, I think whenever you can develop things to really get to know people, and uncover their passions, whether they know that they're there, or whether you help them identify something that they maybe should be passionate about, you really get to know people at a deeper level.

[00:17:20] AD: I think that's so true. And I want to go back at a couple things that you hit on there just to make sure we're seeing this right. So first, you said look in the rearview mirror. And I very much believe that when you look at your life today, all of the great things about any of us, were some driving force from something bad that happened in the past some challenge. And I'd ask everyone listening right now to just take a minute and think about what are the bigger challenges or the biggest challenge you've overcome in life? And look back and think, well, if that didn't happen, would I be here today? Would you be who you are today without them? The answer is probably no, right? Those challenges are what morphed you, and I, with everybody else have gone through my set of life challenges that I've overcome. And when you do that, you really do grow, learn and become the person that you're really meant to be.

So, when you're in a challenge, you have to recognize that, but I think that more important aspect of this is today, if you don't find yourself in a challenge, look in the rearview mirror, take that time to slow down and look in the rearview mirror to see where you are, to really understand where you are and it will give you so much more perspective of that challenge in the past and how you overcame it. I'm a big believer in journaling and writing and getting those thoughts out, because it helps you solidify those memories so that the next time you are in a challenge, you can say, “No, I've overcome worse. This is easy. This is nothing compared to that.” And that's what gets you through it and helps you grow in that process.

[00:18:47] AW: Absolutely. So, prior to my current professional role, I was in recruiting, and I loved hearing people's stories. And we would say like, “Tell us your story.” And sometimes they would just start in the last five years. We're like, “No, no, no. Really, we want to get to know you Tell me your story.” And they would say something, and they would just kind of gloss over it oftentimes, like, “Oh, you know, I put myself through school”, or “Oh, my parents passed away and I had to do X, Y and Z.” And we would dive a little bit deeper and we were like, “That is amazing. 

What you overcame and how that helped you become who you are today, I mean, those hurdles and those twists and turns and those devastating maybe things are that's what gives you the tenacity, that's what gives you the purpose, that's what drives your passion. Maybe those are the things that make you the authentic leader that you are today. So, you have to pay tribute to some of those things that were really hard because those are what have made you who you are today and who have made you better.”

I mean, if life was easy, and we all just kind of – we would be robotic, right? I mean, if life was easy, and if there weren't any twists and turns, you would never grow, you would never learn from those things, and you would never challenge yourself to be better. Being a role model and really trying to show up and trying to lead by example, is important.

[00:20:13] AD: Hundred percent. Your growth comment, if you didn't feel the challenge, you wouldn’t be growing. I believe that growth is like pushing a boulder up a hill. And if it's easy, something is wrong, something is not going well. So, if you find yourself in a phase of life where everything feels perfectly easy, you are riding on cloud nine, and everything's great, look around. Look around seriously, because either you have become very satisfied where you're at, and you've lost some of that drive to continue to push and find that growth, or there's something you're missing, because the reality is, we all face challenges. They're always going to be there. And that doesn't mean there are seasons of life, undoubtedly, and I think the entire world has gone through one heck of a season over this last year here. But it is those tough seasons are maybe harder than other seasons. But there should always be some challenge, there should always be some discomfort, that's when you're truly getting into your growth zone is when you are pushing yourself into that challenge.

So, lean into that and embrace it. And exactly as you said, you have to look back and acknowledge the challenge, acknowledge what you've overcome, to see it and to solidify that and even to gain the full level of growth that you've had by reflecting on it. So, I think that's so powerful.

[00:21:26] AW: Absolutely. And I mean, and that topic, if everything's hunky dory, you become complacent. And really, that's the point where you should dig a little deep and say, like, “What are my talents? What do I have to give? What am I kind of leaving on the table that somebody else could benefit from? Or how do I help somebody else get to this point?” Because most likely, that's going to open your view, to other ways that you can always learn from other people. 

[00:21:56] AD: One hundred percent. You said earlier, exposure and education and in terms of finding your passion, and let's talk on that for a minute, because so the one half of understanding where some of your passions might lie and acknowledging some of the challenges you've overcome, looking in the rearview mirror is one component. But then I think there's also this other side of how do I go find other passions that exist that maybe aren’t challenge related today. But I just don't know what I'm passionate about. I don't feel that passion and that exposure and education, I think are perfect words around that. Because if you're not exposed to things, if you don't open your mind and see new things, experience new things, and if you don't educate yourself on something, how are you going to figure out where your passion is?

I'll give you just a great example for myself. And I don't know if I necessarily call this a full-on passion, but a recent thing that I'm very intrigued by is the Civil War. And frankly, it started with George Floyd and I started opening my mind to reading some books around Jim Crow laws and understanding that and then that took me back a step farther and got into studying American history from 1860 to 1890 and just understanding what really happened in the world. I'm in the middle of a handful of books right now that are all about the time of the world, it’s opened up inside of me, some really big passions on frankly, more political in nature and some thoughts that I've never had before. Feelings I've absolutely never have thought of that I've uncovered because I just started reading and learning and exposing myself too, and now, my wife and I, actually, just last weekend we're talking about once COVID is over, we're going to do a road trip through some of the Civil War sites and just something that again, if you would have asked me a year ago, I'd been like, “Well, that's nerdy. It wasn't me.”

But I've uncovered that and I found an area of excitement in my life, because I exposed myself to it and educated myself on it. So, I think that goes with finding any passion. You have to find that ability to expose yourself to new topics and educate yourself on them. And not everything's going to stick, but when you find something that does, lean into it and learn about it. And I'd also mentioned passions come and go, like everything in life. They’re are seasons of life. Things will change. Things will come and go. And you're going to find yourself, there are plenty of things that I used to be way more passionate about two, three years ago, that today I'm feeling, “It’s all right.” That happens. But the only way you continue to find that excitement that brings you the excitement and the passion in your life is to continue to look and expose yourself to that.

[00:24:25] AW: Yeah. I've been very fortunate. I lived in Spain for a semester in college, traveled quite a bit around the world and I've seen how other people live. I have a greater appreciation. If I didn't have it before of how lucky we are to live in the United States of America, an appreciation for food and cultures and music and art and so, obviously I think that whatever you can do to open your mind and open yourself to other people and cultures and all that is super important. 

But also, push yourself to do things that maybe you don't like to do. I mean, I don't love exercise and I've done a couple of half marathons. I've done one walk programs. And while I didn't like that, I needed that, because those were some times where I was going through some difficult time with family members, with cancer, and stuff like that, and the women that showed up for me, and that we passionately got through those miles, and the therapy and stuff like that. 

So, sometimes you have to kind of step outside of your comfort zone and do things that you know, you don't really want to do. But then you kind of again, look in the rearview mirror, and you're like, “Wow, I needed that for my health. I needed that for my mental wellbeing and the relationships that I developed during that time, carried me through those difficult times. So, finding those things and kind of challenging yourself to do things that maybe you don't like to do, but you might become passionate about, or you might just realize you really need it.

[00:26:00] AD: And there's the part of it that you just need to have good habits, right? Fitness, eating right, taking care of your mental health, getting sleep, those things are all habits that we all should be instilling in our lives. I don't love doing some of them myself, but what I'll challenge in thought process for people is, what do you mean, when you say, “I don't like that?” What does that really mean? Because it's so easy to lie, “It's just not me. I just I don't like that. I'm not that way.” Well, why? What's causing that? Challenge that thought process, because an example I can give is, I really enjoy going to the gym in the morning and lifting weights. 

And it was something I've done on and off in my life. And I lost the habit and I knew it was important. I really in the last year said, “Okay, I want to get back to this. I want to figure out how to build this back in.” And at first, I was like, “I hate this, what am I doing? I don't enjoy this.” But you just keep doing it. And over time you start realizing, “Actually, I do like this. I realize I'd like this. I remember why I like this.” And I think that happens because as you do it more and more, you start to look for and find that enjoyment in what you're doing. That's where, I think with passion, it's very easy to say, “Well, I haven't found my passion.” Well, what does that mean? I haven't found my passion.

Okay, so I haven't found what? So, I haven't found it. I go to find it. I find something I'm excited about, but what happens when that's not exciting anymore? Is it gone? And that's where I don't think passion is this light switch or this like defining moment of, “Oh, I found it and here it is.” But rather the act of doing things that excite you again and again, day after day, making them part of your life and being conscious of that, looking for that, thinking about that and saying, “Okay, how do I go do more and more things I like?” And that just brings the passion out of you, brings that excitement out of you, versus just telling yourself, “Well, I don't like that.” Because it’s really easy to tell yourself that and then you're stuck.

[00:27:49] AW: Right. For me, with exercise in particular, I have a workout buddy. A girl friend of mine who lives three doors down and we run in different directions all day long. We're very busy women, but I'm passionate about my friendship with her. And so, waking up and going for a 5 am walk with her. I will enjoy. Because it's not about the walk, it's about being with her. 

So, the things that I maybe I'm not so passionate about, I try to anchor something that I'm passionate to it. My friend Carrie, she pulls me along and sometimes I am an anchor that she's got a tug. But she knows that she's my person for something that I'm not that passionate about.

[00:28:34] AD: Absolutely. It's awesome to find someone to help you in that, find people and find things that you have common passions, common interests, common things that you want to do together, and it builds connection, it builds that human relationship, but it also it gives you a way to make sure you're continuing to do it and staying in those. That's where it's all too easy to get tied down in the day to day grind of life to be busy, to have too much going on where I just, “I don't have time for my passions. What are you talking about? I can barely keep up with everything else in life?”

Well, when you live like that for too long, what starts to happen? You deteriorate, right? Instead, you find ways to plug those passions and those excitements into your life. And more than anything, they energize you, they give you that extra bandwidth, that extra capacity to do other things on the other side.

[00:29:22] AW: There's the book called, The Go-Giver, and years ago, read that and basically like, coming into every scenario, not thinking what can I get from this, but what can I give, how can I show up in an authentic, passionate way and the rest just will follow. The business will follow. The impact will follow in your family, the friendships. I mean, if you just are authentic, passionate and have a kind and giving heart, I think the rest just kind of falls into place and even through the faces of adversity, through the dark times, if you can try to focus on those silver linings, show up for people, be giving, be authentic, appreciate where people are at, because they might be going through one of those dark times and they might not be able to give to you, and so you need to pour into them more. 

So, you need to recognize just that, we're all going through different things, some things you might know about, some things you don't. But if you live with passion, if you live with a spirit of giving in a spirit of kindness and a spirit of not looking what you can get, but just how you can give naturally, you'll probably reap more rewards than anything.

[00:30:40] AD: I couldn't agree more. Bob Burg and The Go-Giver is one of my favorite books. Our listeners obviously can't see this, but over my shoulder, behind me here, I have a ton of copies. I don't know if anybody can see them right now. It's one of my favorite books, I give them away quite often. It has such a good message in it. So, we'll make sure that's linked in the show notes here for anyone that haven't read that book yet, absolutely, go give it a read.

A question though, in how you talk about this idea of you have to show up, you have to be there, you want to make sure you're trying to give to other people, give that energy. What do you say to someone who is, like, “Well, I have too much on my plate, I have too much going on, I don't have the capacity to give to other people because I can barely take care of myself. I am in a rough place right now.” That's tough. But I don't believe that changes the idea of still being a go giver, still showing up for other people and still helping other people. So, how do you balance that?

[00:31:31] AW: I can tell you, two other people that are an inspiration for me, my cousin Janet, who was 29 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. And around the same time, my 29-year-old sister-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia. And those two women just showed up for people, even when they were sick. My cousin Janet, when she went to University of Michigan, she started a kindness day and that was kind of who she was. She was just super, super kind. But during the five or six months that both of them were battling cancer, I was just trying to get one foot in front of the other. I mean, I was working. I was a mom of two little ones. My husband was working. I wasn't giving anybody anything except for Janet and Nicole, and like just trying to stay afloat.

But I can tell you that my friends and my neighborhood, they poured into me, they walked with me. On Christmas morning, we had lost both Janet and Nicole that month, just right before Christmas, nine years ago. And on Christmas morning, people left their own homes, to bring our family food and seeing the generosity and the kindness of people that showed up for me when I needed it and people that drove to the funeral and stuff like that. Now, when when anybody's battling something, or if somebody passes away, like I tried to show up, because it meant so much to us. When I wasn't showing up for other people, I was just trying to get through the day. 

I mean, I think I maybe have a greater appreciation, because our family and I've been through so much. And you can’t always be the giver, sometimes you need to be the taker, and you need to take graciously and humbly and not feel bad about it, because you can’t always be the giver. It's a give and take, life as a give and take. There's going to be times when you're maybe out of high, and you have more to give and things are just going better. And that's the time when you can pour into other people, because those people will then pour into you when you need them.

[00:33:32] AD: I could not agree more. And one of the lessons out of The Go-Giver is being open to receiving, right? And that is a challenge for many people of wanting to put up a barrier and not accept that help, because this could be bad or I'm vulnerable, because I'm admitting I need help or whatever it might be. But you have to be open to receiving that and to your exact point, we're not all going to be in a place to be constantly giving. We have to wait. There is a cycle where we have to receive as well.

The one place I want to make sure for listeners to think about what that, that doesn't give you permission to have a mindset that it's all about me and I need people to give to me. Rather, you can still be in a positive mindset, a thankful mindset, a giving like mindset, you may not actually be giving because you don't have the capacity or bandwidth. But you should still be in that mindset and being open to receiving. Because when you start to shift the mindset to, “Well, someone needs to give to me”, it's a dangerous curve from there. It is all about still remaining in that mindset of being open, helping, happy, it doesn't mean you have to actually give the bandwidth because you might not be in that place, and then look for people that will pour into you. There are people out there and when you build a good community of people around you that makes that that much easier, right?

[00:34:45] AW: Yeah. I mean, I think right now, I just was reading something on Facebook about how somebody said, like, “I've never been in this position where I've needed help.” And I think that that's going to be a fallout of some of the things that we're experiencing now, right now, with COVID is there are going to be people who are just not used to asking for help. And they might not even know where to look for help. And they might not have that community built, that can support them. And so, maybe even also just trying to make sure that you kind of have your eyes open and ears open for those people that need help and be a good listener.

[00:35:22] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, bringing you candid conversations with leading middle-market professionals.

[00:35:30] AD: To our listeners here, go look for opportunities. If you're in a good place, which I would argue everyone should step back, take a moment to really assess what type of place you're in. And I don't want to discount anyone's challenges, but really assess what type of place you're in, I believe that many of us find ourselves in places much better than we realize, once we sit down and think about it. And when you realize that you are in a better place, in a good place, go find somebody to give to, go find someone to help, go reach out, go find a way to make an impact, and it will go so far. 

You can do so much and a little thing like showing up for someone, bringing a meal for someone, those tiny acts of kindness go so far, and all the way back to the beginning of this conversation around passion, that energy, that excitement, that passion that people describe and say, “Well, you have to be passionate about something.” Be passionate about giving, be passionate about helping other people, it's a pretty easy thing to be passionate about, really. I love doing it in anyone I've talked to that finds an opportunity to give, it's such a good feeling to be able to really help to make an impact on someone else.

[00:36:31] AW: Absolutely.

[00:36:31] AD: So, Amy, this has been a great conversation here. Just as a quick recap for our listeners. So, we talked about the power of energy and the energy that you bring to the room and and how you need to be conscious of what type of headspace you're in and how you approach conversations, how you approach engagements with other people. Because if you're having negative energy, you can absolutely drag people down. But at the same time, you can make such an impact by bringing that positive energy. We also talked about bringing people together and just the power of human connection and talking to other people, getting to know people, learning from people and recognizing that everyone's going through their own challenges. And if you look and listen and learn from people, you can become so inspired and find ways to both help, but also inspire yourself to find other passions and areas of excitement in your life.

Then we jumped into looking in the rearview mirror. And this is really in the context of how do you find what you're passionate about. And if you stop and reflect and really look at the challenges you've overcome and what you've accomplished in your life, you're likely to start to uncover areas that you are passionate about, and things that do get you excited when you really – but you have to slow down and you have to look in that rearview mirror to understand that. 

Then exposure and education. This is this idea that if you want to find what you're passionate about, well, expose yourself to a lot of things, educate yourself on a lot of things, find different ways to be thoughtful, and to just learn new things that can help you uncover those thoughts in your mind that really find those passions and find that area that brings energy out. And then that comes to stepping outside of your comfort zone. And this is if you want to grow, if you want to really improve, which I believe we all want to grow and better ourselves in life, you have to be outside of your comfort zone. Growth will be hard and finding your passion is likely to be very much in that growth zone, not in that comfort zone. You're going to have to lean into that. You're going to have to be uncomfortable. And if you find yourself feeling perfectly comfortable everywhere, slow down and look around. Do you need to either lean into something or there's something you're totally missing? Because you should have some level of discomfort to be in that growth zone continuously.

And then lastly, show up for people. Just simply show up for people. Be a giver. Be there for other people. Look for ways to make an impact and make a difference. And that's really going to lead us to our call to action for this week is, for our listeners, find some time in the next week to go do something good for someone else. Go make a meal for someone, send a handwritten thank you card to someone, offer to do a task for someone.

This episode will be coming out in March of 2021. So, we will hopefully be coming to a slowdown of COVID, who knows at that point. But many of us, all of us, are still going to be in some level of impact by this. So, there is undoubtedly a way that you can make an impact. Look around, find some way that you can be helpful and make an impact on others. Amy, anything to add to that?

[00:36:31] AW: Just be passionate. Just think about the word passion and what that can mean to you, what that can mean to others around you, and everybody has their passion. They just need to sometimes ignite it or add a little fuel to it and you can do great things with passion.

[00:39:41] AD: I love it. What great advice there. So, Amy, for our listeners, how can they get a hold of you?

[00:39:41] AW: Please find me on LinkedIn, Amy Whipple, or you can email me at a [email protected] or if you want to learn more about 100 Businesses Who Care, 100businesseswhocare.com.

[00:39:58] AD: Awesome. Thank you so much, Amy.

[00:40:00] AW: Thank you.

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