A recent Passion into Action conference in Grass Valley, CA featuring keynotes Martha Beck and Francis Moore Lappe moved me well beyond inspired, but I suppose that was the point. This third annual women’s leadership conference was a down-home combination of empowering advice and enlightening motivation, both played out fabulously. Yes it was a four hour drive from Santa Cruz, but so chock full of soul food it was worth every minute.And now duly inspired, I’m devoting 2013 as the year to turn my own passion into action. Call it a resolution super-charged, or maybe super self-identified is more accurate. Let me explain.
Hearing bestselling author and Oprah Mag columnist Martha Beck proclaim this a new era of self-definition struck a chord. As our society transitions out of the “traditional workplace” economy, titles are becoming less rigid and more creative – it sounds like we’re finally escaping the box. Beck’s own career, for example, is a true effort in title pioneering, and not just the elephant watching part. Her advice: focus on your passion, envision where you want to go and make it happen. What do you spend 75% of your time doing, voluntarily? Whatever that is, you’ve probably gotten pretty good at it. Whether or not you’re aware of it, your specific area of expertise has marketable value. And since many of the jobs of the future haven’t even been conceived of yet, the world is your oyster. Own it!
Then there was the ever-inspiring Francis Moore Lappe, sharing her positive, energetic style with a duly responsive audience. Francis is a woman who inspired a movement with Diet for a Small Planet, and I wholly relate to her particular brand of wisdom. I listened closely while she shared her vision of a new way of thinking, one not based on scarcity, but founded in abundance. This bit may sound too woo woo Santa Cruz for you, but Francis has done the research to back her thesis up. As it relates to the subject of food, for example, she sites statistics proving that we do indeed have ample supply, it’s the crazy and convoluted system devised to benefit the few at the expense of the masses we need to revisit. By shifting the way we frame the issues, from a fear-based, scarcity-centric view to a hope filled, possibility-driven model, real change can begin to happen. And it starts with each of us.
Equally inspiring and to my ears, empowering is the fact that both of these women have overcome challenging personal situations to make their passion-inspired messages available to millions worldwide. The takeaway: whatever your challenge, and we all have them, it doesn’t need to define you. Each of us has the capacity to do what we love, on our own terms. Whether it’s leading movements, helping children or baking cookies, you’re here to fulfill your dreams. So don’t wait for the perfect time, it’s here. Now rev up, get ready and take your passion into action baby, own it! Happy New Year!!