THE BLOG
08/15/2014 06:46 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2014

It's Okay to Have More Than One Passion

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How many passions do you have?

You know - the things that get you out of bed in the morning, where you put more energy and feeling into them than you have to and makes you totally happy.

Time doesn't matter because you love doing it.

How do you pull all your passions, loves and desires together?

Compare and find the relationship

One of my great passions is gardening. Working the land; creating beauty in the form of a garden is utterly satisfying!

Caring for a living plant, watching it grow and bloom into a beautiful flower fills me with tremendous joy. I can only compare it to another passion I have as a Life & Career Coach - assisting people to find their purpose in life.

Novelist and poet Vita Sackville-West expresses it well:

The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world.

In both coaching and gardening I feel I'm doing, "... something for the good of the world." Isn't that what passion is about?

There is a natural and profound relationship between life coaching and gardening. The relationship is in the history, words and process of each.

Gardening has existed for at least 4,000 years, from ancient Persia through Asia, Europe, the Americas... all over the world. Although, professional coaching and executive coaching are fairly new modalities, they are related to performance coaching, which has been around since the beginning of civilization.

"Cultivate," means to grow; to prepare the soil -- breaking it up, removing weeds to support a healthy root system or foundation for a plant.

The same is true for a person where your "mind is cultivated" -- studying, learning, training, improving, growing yourself so you can be all you want to be and were meant to be.

"Seeds" are planted in the earth to grow and produce. They may yield vegetables, fruits and flowers. In the coaching, when you "plant a seed" you are creating an opportunity for the client to prosper and develop in new ways.

Just as you build a garden with careful design and planning, a coach helps you design a plan to connect with your inner purpose and achieve your desired goals and passions.

Like a garden, coaching is a place where things sprout and grow with all kinds of possibilities and surprises. Changes and growth occur by asking the right questions; developing the client's self-awareness and self-esteem.

We either grow or die

There is a principle I teach as a coach that clearly connects coaching and gardening:

We either grow or die...Life is a continuous growing process...growing is what coaching is all about. The coach is always looking for ways to grow themselves and to help their clients grow. Death is not what happens to us at the end of our physical expression; it occurs anytime in our life when we choose stagnation.
(p. 24, iPEC Coach Training Manual -- Part 1)

Coaches are gardeners

We work with people who feel stuck or "root bound," tied up in a knot. We 'till' the rich soil of the client's mind and heart, where all their potential lives. Just as a gardener uses a hoe, or pruning shears to propagate, shape and stimulate the growth of plants so does a coach use their tools, skills and intuition to guide you to be your essential, true self.

Gandhi draws this parallel:

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.

That's passion for humanity.

Often when a person begins coaching they're like a field not tended to... lost in the process of living their lives. They're over scheduled, stressed, lack confidence, and are unable to communicate how and what they feel, like a wild, neglected garden. It is our magnificent job as coaches to help clear the way; to unearth your self and create new balance, freedom, order and harmony.

We all have an inner landscape that like a garden needs care -- watering and proper sunlight -- in order to thrive and come into full bloom, bringing what is inside the 'seed' out.

The world is a garden on a grand scale

It has dry open deserts, plush rain forests, high mountains and low valleys. The topography of gardens are symbolic of your own emotional highs and lows -- the richness of good, positive thoughts and feelings , or the parched emptiness you may experience when you're not living your own authentic life.

The world also has a natural cycle of seasons. They're metaphors for the seasons of our own lives, and the very deep relationship between life and death.

-- There is the lively activity of Spring with buds and new, green growth

-- Summer with warmth, color and abundance

-- Fall and the slowing down of energy, the dying back of growth...into the stillness and rest of Winter.

What do the seasons say about your life, moods, intentions, dreams, desires...passions?

What's the purpose

Landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy fervently describes the reason people garden:

I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order to make something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honor the earth, to leave a mark. Through gardening we feel whole as we make our personal mark of art upon our land.

These words absolutely express how I feel about gardening as well as my work coaching. Both passions are about growth and interaction with nature, life and humanity -- feeling whole and leaving a mark that has a good effect on the earth and the lives of other people.

What are the things you love doing that go beyond excitement, where you put more than your whole heart, mind and soul into?

It might be dancing, baking, accounting, house cleaning, yoga, fashion, teaching, music, writing, real estate, sales... anything you're ardent about. Whatever it is cherish it and know that your passion or passions are directly connected to your center, to your authentic self... who you really are.

It's the source of all your growth and stored potential. Like a dormant seed -- it's waiting to bloom!

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