Stop Searching for Your Passion w/Terri Trespicio
Nexum bi-weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in change management.
Hosted by Morten Kamp Andersen
Nexum bi-weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in change management.
Hosted by Morten Kamp Andersen
What if I told you that you don't need to find your "one and only passion" to have a meaningful life? We spend so much time trying to find our passion and make the right choices for our future. What if we just made choices based on what we would like to do in the present moment?
In this episode of What Monkeys Do, I have invited Terri Trespicio, an award-winning writer, speaker and brand advisor. She is here to talk about why passion is overrated. Maybe all you need is a little bit of excitement in the moment.
#1 Stop searching for your passion. We don't follow our passion; our passion follows us. So, when we do something meaningful, something we love, something that makes us excited, then we find our passion(s).
#2 Find your extraordinary moments. Terri defines passion as "The way you feel when you give something your energy and attention, and you feel it giving back to you".
So how do you find your passions? Identify moments in your life when you are in flow when time flies, and you're having fun. What are you doing in those moments? Can you identify a pattern? Those extraordinary moments will lead you to understand what your passion is.
#3 Find your stories and articulate them in a compelling way. Terri is a writer and helps other people find their stories. She uses a method called the Gateless Writing Method to help people unlock their 'creative geniuses' and get their stories onto a piece of paper. These stories change the way you talk about yourself and what you do.
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If you want to know more about change and how to make a change stick, you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google or Stitcher or read more on our website: www.nexum.eu
people, passion, book, stories, life, moment, write, writing, feel, idea, job, called, writer, create, page, pick, bioengineering, study, learn, thought
Morten Andersen, Terri Trespicio
Morten Andersen 00:05
Hello, and welcome to What Monkeys Do. My name is Morten Kamp Andersen. And this is a podcast about what it takes to make a change and make it stick. There are only a few things which can get my heart to skip a beat. I don't upset easily, but one of them was during a personal development program I was on, I was asked to identify my passion in life. And not only that, we were asked to stand up and share our passions with the rest of the class. And we took turns, and the first people got up and they shared their passions. And they sounded so cool that I had to change mine in my head as I listened to the other people. And then when it was my turn, I got up, I shared my passion, which frankly, I hadn't thought about before that day or after that day. Because the passion I shared was a narrative I thought sounded cool. But it really didn't connect with me emotionally. But I'm told to find my passion. Simon Sinek does these cool talks where he says you have to find your why. But I have to admit I find it hard. I can say things that I like to do, but my passion in life, no clue. So what should I do? Should I be able to articulate my passion in life? Is it important? Or is it actually even better not trying to find it? Well, let's find out in this episode of What Monkeys Do. My guest today has a lot of titles. I'm not sure any of them do her justice on their own. She's an award winning writer. She's a speaker. She's a brand advisor. She's also a stand up comedian. And I will actually encourage you to go to YouTube and check it out. It's really really funny. She's given a great TEDx talk called stop searching for your passion. It has more than 6 million views today. To me, she's the person who's full of stories and she encourages other people to get out there and share their stories. Welcome to you, Terri Trespicio.
Terri Trespicio 02:04
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, Morten.
Morten Andersen 02:06
Yeah, absolutely. I look forward to this conversation. In this episode, we'll talk about well, actually a lot of different things. But I want to start with passion. Because you have said that passion is not a plan. It's a feeling. You don't follow your passion, your passion follows you. So maybe you can start off by telling us a little bit about who you are, but also why identifying your passion may not be the best thing to start off with.
Terri Trespicio 02:33
Well, you've done a really nice job of introducing me. So I won't go back and repeat. But I'll just say that I've always been someone who likes to write and didn't know really what to do with it, and follow it around that skill to see where I might apply it. I feel like I need to preface this because people have seen the TED Talk, they tend to have an idea about me that isn't true. And they might think, Oh, she knew she must have known what she was good at. And it was like some kind of secret. And she figured it out. And that could not be further from true. nor was I always some kind of confident extrovert. I have grown up basically afraid of everything insecure as anyone could be doubting whether I'd ever have a role in the world didn't even apply to a job in college because I thought who would want me so and it didn't matter. It didn't matter that I got good grades, it doesn't matter that you get good feedback from people are, you did well on this paper and this writing contest. Just because you love to do something, it doesn't mean you know what to do with your life. And that's okay. Today I make my living. But you know, quite frankly, more than I made it up, I used to work as a magazine editor, I got laid off in the magazine as editors do, and decided I didn't want to work anywhere else, I didn't want to have to go to a job, I already wanted to be in my own little lockdown. So I wanted to stay home and work. And so I figured I had a bag of tools and I and who needed what. So I have been making things up as I go for the better part of a decade now. I've been working for myself for that long. And the way I describe what I do is exactly that. I'm a writer, a speaker, a consultant, and advisor, someone who loves to create content that is practical, and serves someone's need. So whether that means someone who wants to launch a business or do a TED talk or needs to help a team work better together. To me, it all comes back to the same thing. It's your ability to articulate story and message in a compelling way. And so it is hard to categorize. And also, I don't care. I think we live in a culture where we're supposed to have this perfect elevator pitch. And so when I'm asked when I'm pressed, I say I help people in companies change. people and companies change the way they think about talk about and communicate what they do. No matter what platform I am platform and industry agnostic. But usually people know when they hear me they go, we need to talk to her. I can pull out and tease out what someone's trying to say and articulate it in in words in ways that sometimes escape them. And so that's my skill. That's my skill and I use it wherever I can. And however I can because I bore easily. So I'd like to try different things. But I want to back up to something you said in the intro, which is that you were asked to get up and announce your passion. And I just feel so terrible that you were, maybe you found that class helpful, but I feel so terrible that you were put in that position, because that is my bone to pick with Pat, because you were put in a human situation where you Everyone was told, stand up and say something cool that they're going for. And so you can bet that anything that anyone said in the room that day was mainly to make themselves and others feel good about them. That's it. You said to yourself, you said, I want to say something cool. So I said that I have never said before, the pressure to perform in front of others in a way that look, you want people to like you to feel that you're doing meaningful work, we all want that. But calling it a passion being like quick name, your passion. Oh, God, having to define yourself by a passion is no better than having to define yourself by a major. It's like, hurry up and pick one. So I feel bad that you were put in that position, because it just isn't helpful. The only thing I was thinking about, as the other people were talking was I was trying to rehearse my own stories. I didn't actually hear what the other people were saying, Can you even tell me what anyone else is passionate about, as they were all scripting, the perfect thing to say? In fact, that's why in my workshops and things, we don't introduce ourselves at all, we meet each other on the page and in the work, and we'll talk about that later. But the idea is that whenever we do that, we're not listening to each other. And listening is part of how we make meaning. And if we're told to come up with a script real quick, that's gonna be hard.
Morten Andersen 06:34
So the thing I have about passion is it sounds like you have your life in order, you know exactly what it is that you're driving towards. And and you almost have your life figure out when you make these grand statements. And most of the time, we're making it up on the go, right. And also passion ism. I don't know it's a huge word. I mean, you, it feels like you, it's a little bit more than things like that like to do, it seems like it's something where you would really live and die for this.
Terri Trespicio 06:59
You're how I define passion, the way you feel, when you're giving something your energy and attention, and you feel it giving back to you, when you are give what feels good to be aligned with the thing when you're giving your energy and attention. And you feel the connection with the thing, right? hitting your head against a wall. No one's passionate about that, because the wall doesn't give when you're doing something that feels good. And you can tell it's appreciated, or it's earning your money or no one's doing it, no one's paying attention to you or paying you and you feel the activity feeding you. That is a good feeling. You know what else is a good feeling? Having a plate of oysters put down in front of you laughing with friends going for a walk? There's lots of things that we feel passion doing. And you don't have to pick one and have it tattooed on your face?
Morten Andersen 07:46
Yes, I like parts of what I do in my job. I like that a lot. I would I would actually even call it a passion. But then if I get another job, I'm very sure that there'll be things in that which will be different that I'll be passionate about. And then Am I lying to myself? No, it's probably just something that things are changing. You know, from from moment to moment,
Terri Trespicio 08:06
Morten, you're also probably one of the happier people on the planet. Because you told me before we started recording that you worked in finance, and that you said, You know, I know, I'm supposed to say I hated that job. But I really loved it. The people who have the most passionate lives, find passion everywhere they are. Because any job any of us has right now my job didn't exist 20 years ago, let alone 200 years ago. But if I were born 200 years ago, was that before passion existed? No, of course not, I would have been doing something else. And I would have found something I loved about it. So that's why this idea that we have to pick one who came up with that not helpful.
Morten Andersen 08:42
I have a 15 year old daughter in Denmark here. That means that she's at the end of her middle school, and she has to pick a high school and the high schools here they have different academic focus. So she has to find out which ones to pick. So one can be a business High School, one could be language focused High School, one can be more focused on biotech or technology focused, high school. So what she is asked to do is she's asked to write down what she wants to be in life. And she is asked to write down her passion, as well. And actually, this is something she's graded on. And she has to hand this in before she can she can make her application for the high school. The funny thing is that you would think that that would set her free that that would help her choose what she wants to do. But what it actually does is paralyze us. It creates a sense of Oh my god, do I need to know all of that right now. And what that has done is that she's afraid of making a choice.
Terri Trespicio 09:41
Of course, of course, this is terrible. Where do you live Copenhagen? The hell is wrong with people there? First of all, that's trading school training and for people who are going into a trade it does help if you're, if that's a different way of looking at education, right? That's a specific way and for places where Hey, you get to pick from one of these three trades, you better pick one and go with it. The fact is, if she spun a wheel and picked one, and it would be probably just as successful in the end, because it's her mentality going into what she'll learn from that. I wish I could sit down with her and a cup of hot chocolate and say, Honey, what are you willing to share her name? Yes. Louisa. Louisa, listen to me. You don't have to know what you're gonna do or be those of us who were over 40 don't know over 50 are unsure. Gosh, what a great opportunities is this is what she's dealing with, to pick one that interests her today. Because what is high school? I assume it's four years there. And that means Yeah, a lot of people have jobs for 10 years that they decide to leave and do something different. So the fact is, she does not have to choose what she has to do is choose for right now. What would think of it as what would you like to learn first? Now, I don't know too many 14 year olds who would be like, Oh my god, no, definitely bioengineering. That's where I'm going. But they might have a natural proclivity. Someone might really hate language, and they know they want to go in sciences. Maybe people know that. Weird does she feel and this is where I would judge if I were all of a sudden a 15 year old and Copenhagen in a panic, I would want myself to say to me, I would want someone to tell me, honey, what what feels exciting to you to learn right now? What could you start with that you could then build on for later? Because it'll never serve you wrong to know business and will never serve you wrong to know languages? You are not limited? It's just your first step.
Morten Andersen 11:33
Yes. But I guess her situation is not that different from let's say, if you want to go to university, again, you want to pick the right area that you want to study or even after university, you want to think about which first job should I pick? And jobs exist? How do we know? And I guess my point is that you're trying to if you're trying to think too far ahead, in terms of what is my passion, and where do I want to end up and so on, that can actually paralyze you.
Terri Trespicio 12:01
It is paralyzing. It's paralyzing to you and me, and it's absolutely stultifying for a 15 year old. This book, I don't know if you would want to read this book. But one book that I that is worth mentioning, I've been reading it is as it's not a new book, it's called Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert, right? He said, we're really notoriously bad at predicting what we will want in the future, the best thing you can do, and he doesn't say this, I'm saying this is to focus on what you'll do now. Because guess what, when I was an English major, I didn't know that content producer was a word. It was a job. It wasn't, it wasn't in the 90s. It didn't exist to later. And so you can pick a job? How limiting and inside the box, is that better to say? What do I get excited about when I sit down to do my language homework, or I sit down to study bioengineering? What do I get excited about? Where do I feel energy? Where do you feel yourself come alive, follow that study that in high school, then go on to study that in college, but rather than reverse engineer and worry about what job? There's plenty of people who studied accounting, who go on to be entrepreneurs, there's plenty people who study business who want to be novelists, it doesn't matter. The job should not be something to think about. It's where could I tap and cultivate my skills today? My skills and interest? So I know what to do later when I get there. Yes.
Morten Andersen 13:19
Okay. So and by the way, that book by Dan Gilbert is one of my all time favorites, so well written, essentially, when we're making choices, we're trying to predict what our future self would like us to choose, right? And because we're so bad at understanding what our future self would like to have, our choices that we make are actually pretty poor. What you're saying is that using passion as a long term, you know, Northstar may not actually be the right measure to make the right choice. But instead just trying to think figure out, what do you like doing now? What's your energy? What do you think is quite cool? Where's your interest? And then go with that and see where that takes you?
Terri Trespicio 13:58
Where do you feel like it would be fun, literally, affinity and gut and like, what would be cool to learn? I mean, I think at 15, you do know whether you're more drawn to bioengineering or language. And Either way, it's not the last time you touch those things. There's plenty of people who could go on to study that. But yeah, it's it's really backwards to think of it that way. More than I don't know what I'll be doing five years from now. And I'm well over 40. So the excitement should be that we continue to discover, you know, that's like, it's like going into a lamp store. I'm going to buy a lamp and telling them that you want electricity and you only want the best electricity. They'll go we don't sell electricity. We sell lamps. You think the lamp and you plug it in. I have I have selected a whole handful of lamps in my apartment. They all go on. It's a matter of what lamps I had. Do I sit there and wonder about all the lamps I could have had no I have light in my apartment. That's what matters. So we mistake lamp for electricity all the time. We bring the passion to what we do. There is no right job. There. There's no right answer, you might do what I do in bail on the whole system and make it up, I made my job up. And you can if you want, or you can be very happy inside of a wonderful organization, or work for 20 of them. So I think we have no idea. And so I really hope that anyone who feels stuck, whether they're 15, or 50, realizes that this Easter egg idea that you're gonna go hunt down the secret passion is really not the way to look at your life.
Morten Andersen 15:27
Yes, you are in the middle of writing your your first book, as I understand it is called stop searching for your passion, is that correct?
Terri Trespicio 15:36
We actually are playing with a new title and nothing is finalized. What I can tell you is the book is due out in January 2022, from Simon and Schuster, and the name that I want to call it now is Unfollow Your Passion, which is a name that I think will be snappy and fun, and also kind of counterintuitive, which is what I wanted. The idea is that I make a bit of an argument for why this isn't the way to look at it, which plenty of other authors have, and a different way of approaching a different thing. So rather than going Oh, how do I choose my passion? How do you get what you really want, which is to create a life of meaning. It's not actually about picking a passionate at all. And in the book, I walked through the different ways that would change the lens through which you see your life so that you can actually enjoy what you're doing and what you might do next.
Morten Andersen 16:23
I'm really interested in that. So I want to unfold that. But maybe just start with, why is following your passion. Why would that not be the right place to start?
Terri Trespicio 16:32
Well, to me, it's like when people say, oh, what do you wanna do with your life, I don't know why you should follow your passion just isn't helpful. I'm very critical and leery of facile advice. Advice. I hear people giving all the time that they just repeat, because it sounds good. Follow your passion, you'll never work again, really, because pretty sure that even people who love what they do look at Seth Godin says, we all have to do some emotional labor. That's the work we don't feel like doing even when we do what we love. And actually in researching the book I came across and this was a very widely publicized study out of Stanford, Carol Dweck, and a few of her cohorts who found that people who had an idea that passions are fixed, that I'm born with a set of them, like I'm born with a set DNA or something, that the they separated students into people who believe passions were fixed, and people who didn't believe that. And when we put them through a whole battery of tests, and what they found was that the people who believed passions were fixed, they believed that they once they found that passion, they would never procrastinate, they'd be endlessly motivated, and they would never give up. And that it would be easy. And that meant that the people who actually believed that passions were fixed were more likely to abandon an interest when it became hard. That does not bode well for people who want to cultivate something that is not easy. And really anything worth doing will be quote, hard writing, I love writing. It's not easy. It there's a part of it, that's hard publishing a book is hard, I can tell you that this is not the easiest thing I've ever done. But it's worthwhile. And so the idea that if you believe passions are fixed, you're going to suffer some shortcomings in your life that aren't again helpful or productive.
Morten Andersen 18:14
And it's actually interesting because what is it that that passion promise will what it promise is that that will keep you motivated that will keep your spirit high, that will make it easier you write and and what is interesting about duac obviously is the focus on on the fixed and the and and the non fixed mindset but also that that is applied to passion isn't it's a really interesting
Terri Trespicio 18:38
Yes, it built on her work around intelligence as intelligence fixer as it was building on uncertainly the foundation of her work. But you can see that the promise of Oh, I'll never it'll be easy. Who made up that lie? Because it is not true or fair to lead people to think that doesn't deliver any more than, well, if I make you the best meal of your life, meal, you'll never be hungry again. Well, part of the human condition is that we will be bored, lonely, sad, will also be passionate, excited, sleepy. A word like we're gonna go through all the feelings. But chasing one feeling is not the way to build a life of meaning. Fantastic.
Morten Andersen 19:31
I just want to unfold what you said about what you want to say in your book. So one thing is to try to start by saying, well, it's not actually the purpose. What do you suggest instead? I was I was really interested in that.
Terri Trespicio 19:43
And this is my guess my first book interview. Like the book isn't even said get off. There are two things that go together here. Because people in job interviews will often say Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you think you're going to do later, and we all know that blah, blah, blah, and I've been fine. I was resistant to that in my 20s. I'm resistant to it. Now. Two things have helped. One is for a few years I took improvisational theater classes improv, and I learned so much I am I like doing it. It's fun. It's playing right? It's a way to play I'd never good imagined I would be an improviser for a living. I mean, no. But you learn incredible skill there. And what you learn is that you actually have everything you need to make great decisions in the moment. What improv does is strip away everything else so that it's just you in the moment with no script, no expectation, and where do you go to. And it revealed to me a lot of what my go to responses reactions were. And I found that in order to make a scene interesting, I would pick a fight with someone, oh, guess what I do in my real life. So like, I learned some things there. But I also learned that it can give me so much it highlighted for me, I was already good at thinking on my feet. It showed me how I'm doing that and how to do it, in that what you bring to a moment is going to be so much more important than what you had memorized before. And that goes hand in hand with my other thing, which is abandoning the idea of plans. Do we have to plan to have some plans in place as a former financial professional, you know, we should have a plan in place in case. But the planning is a verb, we do it all the time, it's fine. But being overly attached to plans. That's trouble. because things change all the time. Things are that are out of our control, all of 2020 was unplanned. And we saw what did what were some of us able to bring to the moment and what people really were not able to cope at all and why and all of those things, a million reasons we won't go into. But being able to be tuned in to the moment and learn the skills of improvising, which I drew a lot from the book Improv Wisdom by Patricia Madson, which I love. She takes the the principles of improv and shows you how to apply them to your real life. And it was I use that a lot in the book also did quote from Dan Gilbert a lot in Stumbling on Happiness, about understanding our tendency to plan and how it can be a bit of a crutch, if you're like, but I'm passionate about training dolphins and I, I wanted to drain dolphins and now I got married and we're moving to the desert, there's no dolphins that like this idea that I was supposed to be this is trouble, too. So those are two of the things I would say would be how can we be in the moment where we are and discover what's pleasurable and exciting about giving in that moment, I find passion wherever I go, because I bring it with me is to go, it's to go, I bring it to whatever. That's why it doesn't matter. If I'm working with a financial firm on their website, or with a speaker on her TED talk. I get excited about those ideas. I like doing that with people. That's the job. That's why it's hard to sum up because it changes based on the asset. But that's the same anyone. So discovering what gives you pleasure.
Morten Andersen 22:49
So if I was to do that exercise now, and I'm probably doing it completely wrong, then I'll be thinking about what have I been doing, you know, in the past, what have I liked about it, and so on. But I probably wouldn't break the barrier of thinking outside of the box, because it would be hard for me to imagine would that be pleasurable or not? So I could imagine that I could get stuck fairly easy in in things that I have done in the past, essentially, and but fail to it. So for instance, I've never trained dolphins, I don't know if that would make you pleasure or not right? So but I have a hard time imagining that as well. So that would not be part of the idea of what could be an option for me.
Terri Trespicio 23:28
You're not trained offensively neither am I but but when you said you were in finance, you studied the market and how money behaves. And then you went and became a psychologist. That's not a path most people take. But when you look at your life, and what was interesting to you, you could have left that and become a yoga teacher if you want to. But no, you went and became a psychologist. Because why you watched money behave. You watched how people behaved around money, and then you wanted to expand it beyond money. I mean, I'm writing your bio here. It's not necessarily what you told me. But it's not a big jump to see how you would be interested in what makes people make decisions. When you just watch people make decisions around the most important asset of their lives for years. There's a very clear path but no one goes well, first, I'll be in it but you know, a financial person, then I'll be as I called, that planning would make no sense. It's Twyla Tharp says your life five years from now will change based on the people you meet and the books you read. That book changed my life the creative habit, I just love it. So I features prominently into my book. But can you look back and and even now not even look back that far? Look back like yesterday, look back five hours ago? When are you doing something when you were at your best, and you catch yourself in a moment of genius, and be like, wow, oh, that was so fun. I wonder what was it about that that I loved and look at what's working rather than I hated that job because that person was a jerk and I hated this. I hate this. If you just focus on everything you hate. Now you got a pile of stuff you hate now what? And that leads into this approach that I use to help. People access story, which goes right into what we're talking about. What is the connection there? Okay, so yeah, I lead workshops around story and ideas. And for writers for non writers, I have been trained in this particular approach to creative generation to writing that is a tool that anyone can use. And it's called the gateless method, I did not invent it. I, it's a very small community of people. It was created by a woman named Suzanne Kingsbury, who was a novelist, best selling novelist and a developmental editor. She's very much in publishing. And there's she did it, she created it to help writers get past blocks. And how she did it was studied the intersection of Zen Buddhism, neuroscience, where where are people when they're in fight or flight? How are people when they're at their creative height? What's happening with, you know, with people who are really incredibly cool score incredibly high on creativity test? What are how are they accessing that part of your brain? Because we all have the same brain. So that means if someone who's a genius can access that part of their brain, so can I. And so this method specifically uses the page, okay uses writing as opposed to sculpture or watercolor, or P knuckle, it using page so that we can practice and get thoughts out of our minds and onto the page without fear of being criticized?
Morten Andersen 26:23
And can you describe that that process? How would that would work?
Terri Trespicio 26:26
Yeah, so all good people in a room on zoom, I do it virtually, I have a virtual program where we join up twice a week live and write together, what how it works, the traditional approach is that we get everyone into their relaxed, you kind of take a minute to bring everyone into the space, get them into their bodies, not just their heads. And then you give them a prompt, we give everyone in that room a prompt as a prompt, okay? So I want you to think about a time when you kept going, could have been anything could have been you, you kind of thought you had to use the bathroom, but you kept driving anyway, it could have been the time you you kept going even though it was a rough time when you were having a rough pregnancy can be anything but what we do is we prime your imagination and your memory, we relax all of those. This is not a technical term using our synapses, I don't know, relax the parts of your brain that tend to tighten up when we're asked to say our passion in front of a room. Opposite. You are, instead of announcing anything, you sit there with the page, and I say I'm going to give you 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes. And I'm going to tell you this, and I obviously more time that we have now explained to them how this will work. I give them a prompt, and I say start writing. And for the next 10 minutes, they don't worry about anything. They just write memory, what comes up sensory details. Could be a list could be fragments, you write write, write, write, write with no thought about what people think. Then we take turns and read what we wrote, which sounds terrifying, because you just wrote a thing on the spot, and it wasn't edited and whatever. It's not an essay contest. This is the group listening to what just sprung out of your brain unbidden. Right? And so you read that to the other people, you read it to the group. And what happens is, there are rules in this room, we do not ask questions of the work, we do not criticize the work, we do not judge the work. I don't go more than that. I don't understand what you meant with your father. Was he a good guy or a bad guy? No. In fact, you read your work more than than the rest of us talk about the work. And we don't talk to you at all, you get to be relaxed. The idea is to relax and let you receive positive feedback. And we only talk about what's working. It's not flattery, we don't go more than such a great guy. What a nice story. What a great writer, we say, I love that moment where the rain is freezing on the windshield. And he doesn't know whether he should stay or leave. That was a powerful moment. I love how he used alliteration here, we only point out what's working on the page, it'll blow your mind blows our mind because we can't believe that we came up with stuff in such a short period. What that does for you more than as the writer is, it feels so good that you start to retrain your brain to no longer associate feedback with criticism. It allows you to see your work in a new way. And be like, Wow, I didn't even realize I was doing that for us. We get something out of it by training our brains to look for what's working. Because if we can see it working in your work, we will see it in our own. It's what's called training the reticular activating system, which allows us to see patterns and to see what's working and you know what that is because your psychology. This changes how people a see their work, but also each other. So at first I thought well, I lucked out with the best group of people in the room. Now, every room of people in this kind of workshop ends up being the best people in the room because no one's picking on each other. No one is making someone feel bad. And so we are left feeling you know, you go Okay, well what if there's something wrong with what they wrote? Well, no one's expected to be perfect at the first draft. The idea is if we don't shove you through the door of that person prompted free yourself to do it, you would never have come up with it. And so what this does, and by the way, I've done it with a roomful of financial advisors who did not sign up for a writing workshop. They were there to learn about their own brand of leadership. And what happened is I gave them a prompt that had to do with that, but they didn't realize that. And then they wrote, and then they read their stories. And this was, let's be honest, a group of 99% white males over 50. And they were writing about their childhoods. They had distinct, palpable tactile memories of their fathers of school of the moment, they learned to ski of the moment their house was on fire, things that happened that they hadn't thought about in a while. And let me tell you, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. And it was shocking. And they go, what was that? What was that black magic. And I said, No one's ever validated your creative work, no one's ever given you a place to say it. And what happened is, I be an expert feedback person, I saw, this is where my own consultant comes in. I said, this is the kind of leader you are because of what you just showed us, this is what you build your thing on. But they had never seen themselves that way before. So to tie this up, the point is, everyone has a story. Everyone wants to be heard, we do not give ourselves a chance to be really heard. We only give ourselves a chance to write comments on posts.
Morten Andersen 31:18
And it's there's a lot of things that's really interesting in what you're saying. One thing is, of course, the idea of stories. And you know, from TED Talks as well, that, you know, the the talks, which which connects with a personal story, and you can tell if this is a story that is made up for a speech or the if this is truly authentic story, those are the best speeches. And that's when you listen, and you also do that well in in your own presentation. A second thing that this makes me think is our conversation with Jim law. We I heard it, it was fantastic. In the end, I asked him So of all of the professionals that you have worked with over the years, and he's worked mainly with athletes, but also professional CEOs, the ones that sort of developed the most and the ones who became truly professionals. Was there any one thing that they had in common, and he said they did journaling? The wrote down about their experiences and learnings and feelings around those experiences and learnings. Those were the ones that truly changed the most Did he say what the reason for that was he was very much about getting it out learning from your own mistakes or your experiences. But it needed to come out on a piece of paper, essentially. And he's a big pen and paper person. And I just I was very inspired by that. Because we have all of these gadgets, we try to look at videos and all of the time but but writing things down actually is a is a huge creative process. And I think what you just mentioned there, creating your story, but actually doing it in that environment. using that method is a really inspiring way of doing your transformation.
Terri Trespicio 32:55
I've seen it and I've experienced it, I wouldn't have my book without that process. Because when people try to talk about something, they get blocked. It's because that critic looms so large, but it's really refreshing to hear Jim Loehr talking about that, because it has so much to do with how we integrate experience, and what we understand about what we've done, not just where we went wrong, right? That's a different thing. But there's there's also that act of expression. Two mistakes we've made in the world. Well, there's many, many, but two that come to mind are co opting massage for the spa industry. That was too bad because it made it too expensive and made it hard to get. And so Not everyone gets to experience that because it made it sound like it was a luxury thing. So there's a thing around massage. And the same with writing, we have decided that it's something that only a few people do and do well, and the people who author books and all that. And actually, it is a tool available to all of us. And we were taught early on with a lot of red ink that we were bad at it. And it's unfortunate because if you deny yourself that tool, you are denying yourself one of your most powerful tools of integration, expression, healing and growth.
Morten Andersen 34:09
It sounds like what you're saying is, don't focus so much about what your passion in life is. But try to find your stories and identify your stories and get them out
Terri Trespicio 34:18
Feel for meaning through the stories this house through memory through understanding what's been exciting for you and what moves you try and name a passion isn't going to change your life then if anything, it will make it more feel more constricted.
Morten Andersen 34:30
Yes. Is this something that would be useful for everybody? And what kind of stories should we be looking for?
Terri Trespicio 34:37
And well see, there you go. I'm gonna stop you right there because you just said, What story should we be looking for? Then again, that sets us up to be like, should we find the right one or the wrong one? The question isn't that a story is the answer either there is no one key. But understanding how you feel about things. I don't know if Ron said it, and I'll say it. We don't know what we think until we write it down. We Don't know what's all in our head till we get it out and really look at it. So making writing a practice is not to collect and curate your best stories, that's great if you're editing a collection. But that's not that's asset minded. I'm talking about making writing a practice to free yourself up and to allow stories to emerge to find the connections in your own, the skein of your own life, which is completely unique from anyone else's, all those threads, all those ways that things connect, we kind of have to understand that if we need to find the meaning in that it's never going to come from outside. So yes, I mean, one thing I will share, that is something that people can can try is that I have a very short booklet that is just like a free thing to explain how to start to see your own stories and creativity differently. You know, Bernie Brown says, There's no such thing as creative people, just people who use it, and people who don't, it is a muscle. So I put together a very little like booklet called Five Ways to unlock your creative genius. And that idea is that everyone has it. What does every company say? They want Oh, innovation. Everyone wants new ideas. No one says they just want someone to do exactly the same thing as it did five years ago. If you don't tap into that innovation and those ideas, how will you know what you want to do next?
Morten Andersen 36:14
Yes. So if one of the listeners is sold on the idea, and basically use the gateless writing method, or any kind of method really to try to come up with some stories. Now, she or he has a number of of stories. What is the next step after that?
Terri Trespicio 36:31
Well, it depends. Your next step might be to write stories so that you know what jobs to look for and what not to look for, or whether you should leave your company. There are two tracks here, if you're talking about someone who wants to write, that's one thing, I'm talking about writing as a tool for anyone. I'd say even even if you want to give a talk somewhere, every talk starts on the page, not on the stage. But for people who want to do something they want to share what they've created. The idea that you have to publish a book and that that's the only way you're a writer could not be further from true. I'm reading a book now. But I'm closing in on 50. And like, I still call myself a writer my whole life, I already was that. There's so many ways to share what you do. So much so that if someone came up with the idea of writing a book now, Hey, I know, why don't we write 300 pages, go through all of the editing, printed on dead trees and try to get stores to sell it. People would say that's a very bad idea. That only exists because we didn't have what we have now. So sure, you can do a book, you can also publish stuff yourself. You can have a blog, you could write up ideas and do videos on every and any platform, you can create courses, you can create mastermind type groups where you all get together, use the page to guide what would be fun for you. Because for a lot of people sitting in a room writing a 300 page manuscript is their idea of hell. It is a writer's idea of hell, sometimes, it might be that you just like writing with your friends, it might be that you love to come up with ideas for things and see if you can sell them or maybe you'll trust and up comedy together write jokes. My point is, even if you don't join me in a workshop, but of course, I welcome you to do that. If you have a group of people you like to create with, or shall I say, find people you like to create with who are not out to fix you? Who's your critics carefully, because people who try to help you will tell you, oh, well, that's not let me fix this. And you should do this. And you should do that. Those people are not helpful. You want people who just help you create and generate so you can finally get something on page because otherwise you'll just feel like paralyzed just like your daughter trying to pick her high school, right? So I think pick your people very carefully. If you're reading a book that starts to make you feel bad about all of it, stop reading that book, only consume the things that keep you going. My favorite books are the ones that I have to stop reading because they get me so excited. I have to go write something. Those are the books to abandon.
Morten Andersen 38:57
There might be some people who are thinking well, I my life is not it's not very interesting stuff.
Terri Trespicio 39:02
Like there's no such thing as an interesting topic or not interesting topic. everyone's life is interesting. Why do we read books about people who have jobs that might not be sound exciting? Why do we you know, love to read a tell all by a bellhop in a hotel, right? Like, the idea is, interest comes from meaning the meaning you find and the way we connect with other people. So you I don't have an exciting life like nothing major ever happened to me that is so extraordinary. You don't have to, that is not what makes content worth sharing. It's how much do other people connect with you, if you can find an audience.
Morten Andersen 39:38
So in terms of passion, you know, that's not the right place to start. It also can lock you or maybe even, you know, paralyze you Instead, try to create stories and find meaning in those through those stories. And that will tell you what it is that you enjoy life. enjoy doing a lot of what you should stay away from and That will help you create great choices in your life is that
Terri Trespicio 40:03
yes, but also don't stay away from passion. I'm just saying, don't think you have to pick out you have to wear for the rest of your life. I only will like gravitate toward things that feel good for me to do because I have the luxury of doing that I get to pick out for myself. But can you find something exciting and fun that you'd like to learn no matter what job you're in. Because people go, I want to find my passion or I have to get a job, you can find something. So in fact, I would say don't put passion in the backseat. Make sure you bring it with you. No matter what you're doing. Where can you find that you're good at something. Because when you master something passion comes invited along, enjoy it. But realize it's not the only emotion you're meant to feel.
Morten Andersen 40:40
That's a great place to end this conversation. Terri, thanks a lot for taking the time to speak with me. I really, really enjoyed that. I will look forward to your book and early next year. And until then I can just tell listeners that they can go to your website, there's actually a lot. It's a great blog there. But it's also, as you say, a free download. Please go and check out your your several TED Talks, which are really good. So thanks a lot for taking the time to speak with me.
Terri Trespicio 41:09
Morten Andersen 41:16
What a great interview, Terri is a fantastic inspiration. And I took three things away from my talk with her. One, stop searching for your passion. the working title for her upcoming book is actually unfollow your passion. But what Terri is telling us is that we should move away from how do I find my passion, because that's not helping us at all. Because we don't follow our passion. Our passion follows us. That means that when we do something meaningful, something we love, then we'll find our passion, not by sitting down in front of a piece of paper and making it up beforehand. That way is more likely to paralyze us, rather than setting us free. To find your extraordinary moments. Tara defines passion as the way you feel when you give something your energy and attention and you feel it giving it back to you. And a good way to do that is to identify moments in your life when you are in flow, when time just flies when you're having fun. What are you doing at that moment? Are there any patterns in those moments? Are there some things that you do more often in those moments, perhaps people you're with or things that you do? Those extraordinary moments will lead you to understand what your passion is. And finally, number three, find your stories and articulate them in a compelling way. Terri is a writer and she helps people find their stories. So he uses a method called gateless writing method to help people get their stories out of their head and out of their bodies and onto a piece of paper. And through that process. You will unlock your creative genius as Terry Cole said, and through those stories, you'll find your extraordinary moments. Terri is a great speaker and has made two TEDx talks that I will encourage you to see and listen to. One is called Stop Searching for your Passion which has currently more than 6 million views and with good reason. So enjoy them. Until next time, take care