Practice your Passion

April 26, 2014 By Tom

“Practice your Passion” is a saying that a friend, board member and trusted sounding board, Larra often says.  She won’t claim ownership to the phrase, but she owns the phrase in my heart because she so often reminds me that it’s the only way to find true happiness.

It’s been a long week—a week that involved losing a member of our Indianapolis bicycling community that I knew, who has quickly become a shining example of being a member of the community culture.  It was a week where Indy lost a guy that I casually knew in a world where our paths often crossed and somebody that I’m incredibly upset I didn’t get to know better, sooner.  A (former) Speak Easy member, a quickly aspiring cyclist who I bumped into on a ride not long ago before he got his first real bike, he had emailed me a few weeks back about volunteering at Nine13.  There’s a bunch of really good articles and pieces on his life and his story so I won’t rehash here.  It’s been amazing to see social media explode with the #RideLikeNeil hashtag Nine13 launched with Thursday night.  It’s been moving to see how total strangers have connected together through social media.  it’s been awesome to be able to honor a member of our community who died doing what he loved—riding his bike and practicing his passion.  We lost a good guy, a guy who at 23 years old had barely had a chance to make a mark on the world, but he found ways to make an impact and legacy in his short time before his life was cut short.

It’s been a long week, a week that was frustrating in numerous ways, days that left me speechless at the craziness and ridiculous of others, lots of late evenings working after long days and otherwise knowing I don’t have the luxury of a ton of work-life balance at this moment in time.  I don’t complain, I state it as fact and I signed up for it–but the regular work week felt like a lot was added to it this week with outlying stress and frustration.

But, “Practice Your Passion” has been ringing through my mind all week.  I got a verbal commitment from a major sponsor, we worked with another 600 kids, we’re at an awesome health and fitness expo this weekend that brought us in at a decent financial level, I had a meeting yesterday with one of my childhood University of Michigan football heroes who was a peer to me and wanted my help for his non-profit.  I continue to see how when you practice your passion, things do come together–not always on the timeline you want; but usually in even more impressive ways.

I always try to let the good drown out the bad, sometimes I use this blog as a sounding board for the bad so I can sort it out and enjoy the good; but damnit, I have it good and am living my dream.  It’s a dream that means I get to help kids, help Indy and grow as an individual.  It’s a dream that I am an equal peer to so many people that I look up too.  It’s a dream that I’m making a difference.  It’s a dream that my work means something and creates something and is something.  I’m part of the community, I’m a supporter of the community and I’m lucky as hell to be able to contribute to my community.  I’m practicing my passion and have the ability to do so–and I’m feeling so lucky to be able to do it.

I begged and borrowed to get here, I dreamed big and risked (and lost) a lot, I faked it till I made it (and I’ve still got a long ways to go till I make it in every sense of the word), I’ve loved, I’ve lost, I’ve been betrayed, I’ve been in a corner—but I’m not just standing, I’m fucking owning my own path, in every possible way.  Succeed, Fail, Win, Lose–it’s on me; but I know how much work it takes to win and have put in the effort.

I challenge you all, whatever your passion is, find it, own it and make it yours—you only get one chance to make an impact on this world and every single one of us has the ability to make an impact on our world; by practicing our passion and finding our path.

Quit just talking about making an impact–and make an impact.