In Succeeding with Passion, Stephanie Walton, a coach, consultant, and longtime senior leader in corporations, shares the secret to success, and it all begins with finding and pursuing your passion. The book is a mix of Walton’s personal stories, ranging from how she overcame homelessness as a teenager to her greatest lessons learned in corporate America, as well as stories of other successful individuals. Perhaps most importantly, Walton shares her Passion Architect© system, which provides the tools readers need to find their passions and put them to use in fulfilling their dreams.
Succeeding with Passion is divided into two parts: Creating Your Toolkit and Building Your Future. In the first section, Walton shares the many tools needed not only to find your passion but to allow it to be at the forefront of your life. While other coaches might tell you to go out and find your passion, Walton also focuses on the importance of removing the obstacles.
Of course, curiosity is the key to finding your passion-you have to find out what you’re curious about to determine what you’re passionate about. Walton states, “Studies show that curiosity is a powerful link to happiness, creativity, and personal growth after traumatic experiences… The more questions you ask, the deeper you are able to dive into your motivations, obstacles, and opportunities.”
But succeeding with passion is not as simple as just finding your passion. Once you know what you’re passionate about, life will put up roadblocks that will keep you stagnant if you don’t remove them. Our human condition is to improve continuously on the knowledge we have acquired. The vehicle for this improvement is called curiosity. Your ability to be insanely curious about the world around you will help you identify your passion. Being curious is the beginning of helping you find a new way to seek opportunities for personal growth and success. Other tools you’ll need to develop include self-awareness, compassion, intention, resilience, forgiveness, and how to eliminate judgmental thinking. All of these tools can help you better learn who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are so you have a clearer sense of what you are passionate about and how you will pursue it.
For example, one key tool for helping your passion take the forefront is boundary setting. Walton reminds us that some people will want to weigh in on what we are doing, regardless of whether we ask for their advice, so we must keep the negative ones out of our inner circle. To back up this point, Walton shares some advice from Oprah Winfrey, who discovered at age forty-two that you can be a nice person while still setting boundaries and saying no to what isn’t right for you.
I also love Stephanie’s advice on how to deal with the problems that arise in your life. She asks herself, “Has the world stopped turning on its axis? Are we all going to die in the next five seconds? If not, there’s a solution to this problem; there is always a solution.”
Part of saying no and setting boundaries is also eliminating clutter. Walton defines clutter as “the things we do for others out of obligation or self-imposed guilt,” and “the day-to-day, mundane activities that drain our energy.” She shows us how to clean out the clutter so we have space in our lives for our dreams.
In the book’s second section, Walton walks us through her Passion Architect system by showing us how to craft a vision statement, build a strategy for success, and execute it. Her practical and solid advice will help you take the steps needed to get where you want to go in your life.
Walton reminds us it will not be easy. We often will fail, but we can get up again. One of her favorite sayings is “Success is reengineered failure.” Walton has proven that from experience. This is a woman who overcame homelessness, who initially had no interest in basketball but being 6’1″ learned to play very well so she could get a scholarship to college, and who cared for her mother when she was diagnosed with cancer after years of being estranged from her because of her mother’s drug addiction. This is a strong woman who knows how to handle life’s lemons and be successful regardless. Now she has found her passion in helping others find theirs, and I have no doubt her book can help you.