Finding your Passion


Joy Anderson for Stodzy Marketing



I’ve been ruminating a lot about purpose and passion.  Is there a difference?  There’s all this talk about a purpose driven life, finding your passion and all that.  I thought that with more sobriety would come more clarity, but for this woman in recovery my raison d’etre escapes me.  At least I think it does.  Then again, I might be exactly where I’m supposed to be doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.  I talk to people and  I write about interesting things and with any luck what I write connects people together.  So as I sit here writing this I sort of answer my own question.  There’s really no space for doubt.


I have always been a writer.  I think the first thing I ever wrote in earnest was a poem.  I had been left at home alone as a kid - under 10 for sure - and not really knowing what to do with myself I remember I organized all the pots and pans in the kitchen.  It was an especially noisy event and I recall experiencing possible my first brush with instant gratification. I had put order to chaos and then sat down and wrote a letter to my parents about what I had done in poetic form.  It was funny, clever, it rhymed and everybody thought it was great.  I also remember a very distinct “good” feeling I got when I was writing it.



From then on I was a “writer.” I pursued journalism and creative writing in high school and college. Afterward, I did a variety of different things but I was always writing along the way.  People would say things like, “oh you’re such a great writer - you should get published.” and stuff like that but it just seemed so unattainable to me I never did anything with it.  Now I look back to the realization I had while at an inpatient treatment program - and to me, it’s like having a really beautiful sailboat and never taking it out on the water.  Why would I keep myself in drydock like that? Not only is it a self denial but a denial of my gift intended to be shared with the world.  Why would anyone be so afraid of that - find it so unattainable??


So - this writing, is this my calling, my purpose?  How do I know for sure?  I have followed this writing thing my whole life only because it seemed to come naturally and it felt good.  Those are two pretty good reasons.  Am I on the right track? Was it that easy for me?!  Really,  I think that if I’m living my passion I really know who I am and what matters to me, I’m in touch of what interests and inspires me, and I know my values in life. I am an authentic ME. I question  my SELF with these notions in hopes of confirming my passion, my purpose.  Passion is what my natural talents and inclinations are. We tend to hide our light under a bush - why?  Because we are afraid of being judged or rejected? I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this a lot and the more I do the more I come to the conclusion that it boils down to responsibility.  For me, I was afraid for so long  to take responsibility for my gift, my passion, my purpose.  It was actually pretty selfish and lazy of me.  Here I was with this gift of words, an ability to grab people’s attention and create feeling and possibly even action.  WOW. Because I was afraid of judgment I kept this gift inside.


We hear the saying  a lot , “We can only keep what we have by giving it away.” I think we are given gifts but they’re not ours to keep.  We are just assigned managers so to speak.  I like how Rick Warren explains it. “God smiles when you be you.” We are simply hardwired  to do certain things.  We all spend so much time in this pit of self doubt based on what everybody else thinks we should be doing or from parents who are attempting to live vicariously through their children. All the while our purpose is right there in front of us.  It’s what we’re good at.  PERIOD.  Real simple. Do what you are good at.  Do it like you mean it.  Do everything like you mean it - your treatment and recovery for instance - keep at it and sooner or later it will become your second nature and you won’t have to try so hard.





My name is Olivia and I am the founder of Mental Rhythms.


This application was conceived during a time in which I could not track my self-imposed complicated life. It was suggested by a good friend, after hearing all that was going on, all the different components, people, and emotions involved, that I map all these things. So I did. The first maps were done on trace paper, using markers. The first of which mapped all the relationships and how I felt about them on a weekly basis.



It was late May when I began and by late July something happened in the graph. The way I felt about all of my relationships took a dive. It became so clear that certainly something was the matter with me, for these people did not know each other, the situations where not related, impossible that they were all at fault. Back then, this is what it took for me to see my part in things, today I am grateful to have many other tools to help me.


The second series of maps were done on quality paper and strips of tape, instead of markers on trace. One of which mapped my business endeavors, which seemed just as complex as my relationships. Each vertical strip representing one month. In just over one year I had started nine companies with over seventeen different business partners. In less than a year six of these companies had been dissolved and today none of those partnerships remain.


Only after this map did I learn something very crucial and not too different from the first graph. There was a white piece of tape horizontally across the paper which marked cash flow. Any company that made any cash would fall above the line. Only two companies experienced any income at all, the company in which I was the only partner and the company that lasted the least amount of time. It became more or less obvious that I was not a good team player.


When I got sober everything changed, I began to map that change, and realized that mapping the present and learning from the recent past helped me grow and change. My objective was to provide this tool for everyone and in that gesture be of service. I designed and funded the Mental Rhythms application before realizing how many individuals and industries would benefit. Today I am responsible for letting everyone possible know that personal inventories is invaluable data to progress and growth.