Create Your Passion Project

As some of you may know, I have been leading Candlelight Yoga and Self-Development Sessions at Branded HQ over the past few months. I created a 3-step series with the goal of inspiring personal growth and creating more leaders. I named this project, The Mind-Body Movement. 

The Mind-Body Movement is part of my overarching Passion Project dope(a)me. It is the accumulation of years of study, practice, and trial and error. It embodies the importance of movement, mindfulness, understanding the inner-workings of your mind and body, getting to know what inspires and motivates you, and then putting this into action by creating a Passion Project to share your unique gifts and talents. Whether the result is a commitment to finally creating the Baby Book you have been putting off, joining a community collective of some-kind that shares your core values, or creating your own project that unites, teaches, and shares what you have to offer, the possibilities are endless. 

Before I started my business dope(a)me, I had asked myself the same question for over 10 years before I had an answer I could run with. The question was, "If I could do anything all day, every day, and make a living doing it, what would that be?" Having this question on my mind was a beautiful instigator and reminder to explore, try new things, and investigate with an open mind and an open heart, until I had the experience and know how to find my answer.

What I discovered....I would Goal Coach and inspire others to lead the life they were meant to lead. 

From there I began dope(a)me. My platform for personal coaching and creating experiences through workshops, yoga classes, writing, and collaborations to inspire others with the knowledge and excitement I have for retraining our brains to get out of our own way. 

The first two sessions at Branded went beautifully and the responses and feedback have been outstanding. However, the third session had too low of registration to run and I don't want to sit on this information without sharing it in a big and meaningful way. Because it is summertime and I know the difficulty of aligning schedules to make every workshop, event, date, and activity work in the balance of your life, I want to offer this in a simple and accessible way for anyone who is interested. Plus, I know the more I give without expectation, the more I grow and potentially extend my reach. 

I plan to run this workshop again in the Fall, most likely as an integrative process of all three steps in a bigger event than what has been offered thus far. If you are familiar with change and retraining your brain into new habits, you know it takes time and repetition. When it comes to creating a Passion Project, it may start with something small, but as you play with these concepts and continue challenging the boundaries of what you are capable of, you may generate such growth and momentum that it becomes something of a larger scale. The point is to let it evolve organically while pushing yourself outside your comfort zone little by little every single day. 

Do you want to know what you are capable of? Do you want to create a legacy and an impact that has you feeling inspired, full, and fueled as you lay your head down each night? Do you want to play a role in changing this world for the better and inspiring others to do the same? Then keep reading....

Before we jump into Passion Projects, here is a brief summary and resource links to past blog posts to help set the stage. 


1. How to Handle Set-Backs

The first part of this series is addressing the roadblocks we put in our own way. When we change our perspective to view Fear as simply a signal of uncertainty and a habitual response that does not necessarily warrant your up-most attention, we begin to understand how our mind and body can keep us stagnant with its good intentions. 

Take time to notice your thoughts and what you say to yourself in the quiet moments as well as the moments you need to step up to the plate. The way we talk to ourselves is a habit and we all have limiting beliefs that we have repeated for years, often without fully realizing what we are saying, the impact it has, and where it comes from. 

**Limiting Beliefs are tricky to uncover and work through. If this is something you struggle with, feel free to reach out to me and I would love to have a conversation**


2. How to Strengthen your Inner Motivator

The second part of this series is about doing what you say you'll do when you say you'll do it. It is the integrity and energy to show up for yourself and for others. But what is motivation really? Where does it come from? How do we strengthen this muscle? Check out this blog post on the Elephant and Rider to understand your motivation. 

We all know it is a lot easier to get things done and talk nicely to yourself when you are feeling good. So how do we get ourselves to feel good more often and in a sustainable way? Learn about your Happy chemicals by clicking below. 


Now that your foundation is set, you are comfortable with being uncomfortable, and you understand how to keep yourself healthy and motivated, let's create some MAGIC!


"It is our hypocrisy and self-focus that drains us. When we become Purpose-Centered, Internally-Directed, Other-Focused, and Externally-Open, we discover energy we didn't know we had" - Robert E. Quinn

The above quote outlines the important ingredients to create a project that will have a positive impact and bring a healthy dose of inspiration into your life. There are four pillars in this process, each one of equal importance. You could have a brilliant idea but if it doesn't serve others or align with your purpose, you won't get very far. You need a strong sense of WHY; your purpose behind your effort. A deep connection to your internal workings to stay aligned with what is most important to you. A connection and appreciation for giving back and being in the work for the sake of the impact and support it offers to others. And you need to be open to your surroundings, flowing with the rhythm of life and adapting with grace as you learn through trial and error. 


1. Other-Focused

"Finding and fulfilling your calling is about contributing to the wholeness of the world" - Lissa Rankin

If your project does not do good in your 'hood, it won't last. This doesn't mean you need hundreds or thousands of people to be effected. Perhaps it will grow and expand to that magnitude, but that doesn't have to be the goal. When you start, it could be as simple as the hope that your work will make a difference in just one person's life. As long as you are focused on learning and creating something just for your own sake, you will lose steam. Be the best version of you because it inspires others to do the same. Create something that lights you up because it will connect you with like-minded people and open you up to collaborating on something in the future. Offer up your gifts and services because you hope to bring relief and support to someone who is in need. Do your work for the sake of creating positive waves. Show up confident and excited because it may brighten the day for someone who is struggling. 

When we focus on others, we benefit everyone, including ourselves. 

To help you uncover what your unique gifts are and what you can bring into the world, consider Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey.


We are all on our own Hero's Journey. The steps below might not be in the exact order that you have encountered, but generally it will speak true to you. 

1. Ordinary World. Days flow by and you feel a sense of lack, a feeling that there is something more to life than what you are experiencing, a constant struggle as you explore what your Purpose in this world might be. 

2. Call to Adventure. You see an opportunity to take a chance, a leap of faith, a big change in direction. 

3. Refusal/Resistance to Call. You are struck with fear of the unknown, fear of making the "wrong" decision. You see this will require a huge leap outside your comfort zone. 

4. Meeting of a Magical Mentor. You get the support and encouragement you need when it matters most. That person helps you find the courage needed to say YES to your adventure. 

5. Crafting of threshold from Ordinary World to Special World. As you familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, you need to learn the "rules" of this new world. Time to adapt new habits and open your mind from the boundaries it once was contained within. 

6. Tests of Resilience through the Road of Trials. This journey is not easy. You are struck with self-doubt and fatigue easily as you learn to manage stress and change your relationship with fear. You continue to meet new allies and friends along the way. You develop an intuition that supports you in pushing through the discomfort and finding balance and hope among the darkness. 

7. Approach to the Inner-Most Cave. It is here you meet your "dragon". You hit your low point or are faced with your biggest challenge to date. It is your opportunity to break down or break open. You must allow yourself to stay in the "fire" and experience a "death and rebirth"

8. Finding of the "Holy Grail". Your 'aha moment'. Your discovery of your precious "jewel" or the answer to the question you have been seeking. 

9. Road back to Ordinary World. More trials and setbacks as you travel back to live as your best-self and share your wisdom. Your community needs time to let go of who you were and see you as who you are now. 

Where are you in your journey? What 'gifts' did you discover in your 'Road of Trials' and experience in the 'Inner-Most Cave'? Share your story with the world and allow yourself to be the Magical Mentor for someone else. 


2. Internally-Directed

The way you talk to yourself throughout this process is going to be a huge determinant of how far you go and how much fun you have along the way. Allow this to be an opportunity to retrain your self-talk patterns to focus on growth versus being the best, progress versus perfection, and improving yourself versus proving yourself. 

When you are focused on doing the best that you can in each moment, while reminding yourself you are not perfect and there will be failures and missteps along the way, you prepare yourself for the reality of putting yourself out into the world. With this Growth Mindset perspective, you will not avoid conflict, you will not hesitate to admit when you are wrong, you will be open to - and encourage - feedback. You can be open and vulnerable with your wins and losses, because this all contributes to gaining wisdom to take into the next moment. It is the journey, not the destination, that we are focused on. 

To further your ability to be internally-directed, you must align your life with your Core Values. If you say Family is a top priority to you, but you are not spending quality time with your family or making an effort to be a part of their lives, then there is discrepancy. If you say Fun is something you need every day, but you are stretched thin and rarely find time to let loose, again, something needs to shift. We are what we repeatedly do. If you want more energy, if you want to spend your days engaging in work and with people who inspire you, what are you doing to make that happen?

Not sure what your Core Values are? Respond to the questions below. 

  • What does a full, balanced, nourishing and complete day look and feel like?
  • What five words do you strive to live by?
  • What are the first five words that come to mind when you describe the world as you see it? (The way you perceive the world is the way you receive the world)
  • What are three important, positive lessons you have learned about life in the past few years?
  • How do you want to feel at the end of each day as you lay your head down?

Generally speaking, you will have 3-8 words that represent your Core Values. Start with the words that jump off the page from the questions you just answered. The "loaded" words that pack a punch and spark an emotional response within you as you say it out loud. These are the words you stand for, you want more of in your life, and that you want to create more of for others.


Now that you know your Core Values and you are mindful of the Growth Mindset, keep an open mind without judging or shaming yourself as you notice where you are a hypocrite in your own life. Self-Study and a commitment to personal growth can become quite deflating if you beat yourself up every time you notice where you act counter to what you have stated is important to you. Change takes time. Repetition. We often have to learn the same lesson several times before it lands deep enough that you have the power and foresight to access the shift in reaction in the moment at hand. It takes practice to respond differently than an ingrained habit has had you behave for years. So Observe without Judgment. Acknowledge yourself for the small-wins and the small-steps forward. Cheer yourself on. 

"You can't force a rosebud to blossom by hitting it with a hammer" Rachel Naomi Remen


3. Externally-Open

"The only gateway to true connection lies in your vulnerability, and without true connection along the hero's path, the mission is destines to fail" Lissa Rankin

It is one thing to notice your missteps and correct them yourself, it's a whole other mash-up of emotions and reactions when you hear the sound of disappointment or constructive feedback from another. When we are on this journey, it is vital to surround ourselves with people who will uplift, encourage, support, and be truthful yet compassionate in their feedback. The only way to progress and create something that lights you up and benefits the world, is to engage in a healthy and sustainable balance of trial and error. You must ask for feedback. You must stay open to the many possibilities and directions your path may take you. 

"I believe that vulnerability - the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome - is the only path to more love, belonging, and joy...You're going to stumble, fall, and get your ass kicked....Vulnerability is still uncomfortable and falling still hurts. It always will. But I'm learning that the process of struggling and navigating hurt has as much to offer us as the process of being brave and showing up " Brene Brown

So what are you curious about? What are you willing to put out into the world because the risk of keeping it to yourself is much scarier than the risk of being seen? What are the first few steps? Who can you enroll to support you along your journey? It is time to choose courage over comfort and breathe some more life into your day.

"You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged" Ed Catmull

Do it without knowing exactly where you will end up. Commit to the process versus the need to be great on Day 1. Imagine how much you will learn.

"A failed approach does not mean failure. Instead, see that each idea leads you a bit closer to finding the better option...If you seek to plot out all your moves before you make them - if you put your faith in slow, deliberative planning in the hopes it will spare you failure down the line - well, you're deluding yourself" Ed Catmull


Here is an exercise to practice vulnerability and help you figure out what you are great at. This is from Danielle LaPorte's book The Desire Map. Send these questions, or make up your own, to a few people whom you respect, admire, love, and who actively feel the same for you. The purpose of this is to help you see yourself more clearly and through the eyes of another. 

"Dear Friend, 
I'm taking a leap. Reaching out. Trolling for insights, reflections, and objectivity...from you so that I can see myself more clearly.
  1. What do you think is my greatest strength?
  2. How would you describe my style of living?
  3. What do you think I should let go of?
  4. When do you feel that I am at my best?
  5. What do you wish I were less of, for my sake?
  6. When have you seen me really shine?
  7. What do you think I could give myself more credit for or celebrate more?


Enjoy that vulnerability rush. It gets easier the more you engage in this kind of activity. This is where love, connection, passion, and joy is found. It is our avoidance and attempts to protect ourselves from the potential pain of vulnerability that truly harms us. You can armor up and delude yourself into thinking you are better off that way, or you can shed all of that and realize you are more resilient and much more alive when you allow yourself to be truly seen. 

Get your heart on your sleeve and open yourself up to heart-break. This will help you walk into situations without expectations, and receptive to each moment versus spending energy to stay guarded. Of course we don't want to blindly trust others with our life or walk into a situation naive and unprepared for our surroundings, but in general you can afford to loosen up and allow others to see more of who you are. 

You will experience heart-break, and you will have days where you feel exposed, raw, and naked, but each day that passes with vulnerability as the goal, your heart mends quicker, your resilience grows stronger, and you find more and more people who are aligned with the tune you sing in life. Everything is practice for the next moment, and only practice can make perfect practice. 


4. Purpose-Centered

"If your primary goal is to have a fully worked out, set-in-stone plan (versus being and learning in action), you are only upping your chances of being unoriginal. The more time you spend mapping out an approach, the more likely you are to get attached to it" Ed Catmull

When I think of Purpose, I think of an anchor, a light-house in the distance, a warm bubble bath waiting at the end of a full and challenging day. Your Purpose is your beacon of light in a distraction-filled existence. It is your reminder when life gets messy, when the struggles set in, when the feedback from another feels like a punch in the heart, and when you feel out of balance and in need of a serious tune-up. 

When considering what your Purpose may be, go through the below questions and write out your answers without thinking too hard about it. 

  • What lights you up? What could you do or talk about for hours on end?
  • What impact do you want to have on the world around you? What will your legacy be?
  • If FEAR did not stop you, if FAILURE was seen as a stepping stone towards SUCCESS, if CHALLENGES were perceived as OPPORTUNITIES, if you had the SUPPORT and KNOWLEDGE to make it happen, what would you create, participate in, or explore?


Your Purpose is summarized and packaged nicely in the form of a Mission Statement. William Arruda created an equation we can use to piece together our own personalized statement.

The VALUE you create and/or the ENERGY you bring to the world
WHO you are creating it for
WHY? What is the desired outcome?


Take some time to go through this equation and plug in your possibilities. It may take several tries and rough-drafts until you land on the 1-3 sentences that embodies the motivation behind your actions. And the more work you do, the more you practice leading a life that lights you up, the closer you will get to your simple version of your Mission Statement. Mine has shifted and evolved several times over the past two years, continuing to fine-tune into the edition that speaks truest to me. 

Here's mine currently,

I lead by example with vulnerability and a Growth Mindset to inspire, elevate, and motivate others to create their best life

Give it a try ;)



"Real change requires a combination of Being and Doing. Being, which represents the path of the spiritual seeker, stems from ending our inner wars, freeing ourselves from the judgments and limitations of the ego, radiating love, and being the change we wish to see in the world. It's about ending the story of separation and inviting those who participate in the system to make kind, compassionate choices, trusting that real change starts with accepting the world as it is, seeing perfection in it, and then practicing love as an invitation to others to step into their higher selves. 
But Being without Doing risks keeping love in a theoretical realm, a safe realm where it isn't tested and developed by encounters with the world. Moreover, we are not separate beings. To exist is to relate. Sooner or later, this state of peaceful Being naturally leads to Doing, stemming not from righteousness or moral outrage but from love" Lissa Rankin


1. Effort and Surrender

The ultimate practice is learning to control or let-go of your self (i.e. ego, desires, attachments, expectations, should's, etc.) by surrendering and engaging with your Self (i.e Purpose, truth, vulnerability, connection to others, etc.). It is an un-doing, an un-becoming, and an un-packaging of the small and closed-minded self that attaches and is consumed by emotions and the sense that "I am the center of the Universe". It is a softening of boundaries and judgments to step back and align with what was always there, the higher-Self that witnesses and feels, but allows life to flow without the need to control, judge, or fear uncertainty. 

This can only be done through a balance of Effort and Surrender. We need to engage in self-study, push outside our comfort zone, and be in action as we experience and reflect on how we show up. But we can't be all Effort. We also need to let go, flow with life, slow down to speed up, and surrender into savasana after practice on and off the mat. 

"Does it feel like "shackles on" or "shackles off"? A true calling will always smack of freedom" Martha Beck


2. Motion is Lotion

We are not meant to live stagnant lives. Our body was built to move. When we engage in at least 10 minutes of intentional Mindful Movement daily, we support a bodily system that is resilient, balanced, and better able to handle whatever life throws our way. We get our much needed Happy Chemicals, our body naturally detoxifies, and our natural anti-bodies and disease fighting capabilities kick-in.

The reason behind your actions are the fuel you need to create a sustainable and meaningful habit. Choose to be active because of how it makes you feel, not just because it makes you look good. Choose to try new sweaty pursuits because it boosts Happy Chemicals and melts stress from your easily stressed out mind. Choose to get your body moving each morning before you get on with your day because it clears your mind, wipes your slate clean, and gets your bodily system moving and grooving for the remainder of the day. 


3. Compound Effect

As I have repeated a few times now, change takes time. Repetition is key. Change is not sustainable when done in huge leaps and bounds with the expectation that that pace will generate momentum. It is the small, tangible, incremental steps that build up to create something that couldn't be done otherwise. This keeps the inner-workings of our mind in check (i.e. Elephant & Rider territory), as we focus on small steps, celebrate small wins, and occasionally make tweaks and turns as we carve out our own path towards the change we want to see in our lives. 

So with this is mind, commit to setting three Actions weekly that will take you step by step closer to the habits, the feelings, the projects, and the lifestyle you are creating. We are looking at the long-game and not engaging in a competition to see who can get the furthest in 24 hours or a week or a month. Focus on you versus you-yesterday. Progress not perfection. Improving versus proving. The journey....not the destination.


I would love to hear what you think of this outline and what insights have been sparked along the way. Share your story. Enroll others to support and come along on this soul-fueling ride. And let me know how it goes. I would love to cheer you on. xoxo



Book Suggestions:

(links for these can be found in the tab 'Books')

The Fear Cure by Lissa Rankin

The Anatomy of a Calling by Lissa Rankin

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Compound Effect by Darren Hadry

Switch by Dan and Chip Heath

Find your Happy by Shannon Kaiser

The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte