Years ago after my presentation for the National Speakers Association about how to get bookings, a very sweet woman, an aspiring speaker, shared that she was having problems getting bookings.
I asked what she spoke about and she said (I can’t make this up):
“The history of aprons.”
Yep, the history of aprons.
I asked, “What does that matter to me?”
She looked insulted.
“No,” I said seriously, “that’s your answer.”
“If you can explain how the history of aprons benefits my life, my business or my relationships you might get booked.”
This woman was totally following her heart, acting on her passion, and I love that!
And it wasn’t working.
But why not?
Haven’t we been promised by all the books, movies and fairy tales, “Follow your heart, it will never lead you astray?”
Flash News Bulletin #1: They lied. Your heart will lead you astray.
It happens all the time.
While your heart is beautiful, compassionate and powerful, it is also fickle, undiscerning and lacking in morality.
Your heart wants what it wants when it wants it.
Bankruptcies happen every day for people following their hearts.
Marriages break up every day for people following their hearts.
Countries go to war for people following their hearts.
It is a mark of immaturity to blindly follow your heart.
Please, don’t get me wrong…
Your heart is the most beautiful and important part of you.
Love, passion, desire, caring, kindness, selflessness… all come from your heart.
Your heart is where God connects with you and your heart’s condition is what most concerns God.
So, Rayburn, what are you saying?
I’m saying, don’t follow your heart… lead it.
Well, you also have a brain.
The brain is where we learn and apply wisdom, discernment and judgement.
It is no accident that you have both.
A heart untempered by wisdom is like a fire set in a dry wood… with high winds.
Living purely by heart and passion without applying wisdom and discernment creates a lonely, broken, disappointed life.
Conversely, living purely by thought and reason, denying your heart and passion creates a cold, autocratic, barren life.
Are you in one or the other of these categories? Do you tend toward one or the other?
Here’s the deal…
When someone says, “Follow your heart,” they usually mean do the thing you feel passion for, what you’ve always dreamed of, and I believe in that.
You must also apply judgement.
I have had people come to me after presentations and literally blame me for advocating the importance of passion and bold goals, saying something like, “Yeah, I heard what you said but let me tell you what happened… I had a dream, I followed my passion, I had faith, I quit my job, I started my own business, I worked hard, and it still failed… I lost everything!”
Flash News Bulletin #2: Your having a dream does not suspend the laws of business, fidelity, and supply and demand.
It’s still the same old world out there.
The key, the answer, your best strategy is to practice what I call “Practical Passion.”
Practical Passion is a dream with a plan. It’s the willingness to take your passion seriously. It’s passion with a longterm view.
Practical Passion is how you lead your heart.
The Wright Brothers. William Wilburforce. Steve Jobs. Elon Musk. Mother Teresa. Nelson Mandela, Jesus…
… all crazy dreamers with dead serious plans and practices. That’s Practical Passion.
A crazy dreamer willing to lead his or her heart rather than follow it is an unstoppable force of nature.
Indeed, these are the people who change the world.
Ah, but more importantly for you and me, this is how ordinary people live extraordinary lives… they get practical about their passion.
Lead your heart by practicing Practical Passion.
…to be continued.
Live Truly, Truly Live.
“A passion without discernment is like a Lamborghini without a steering wheel.” – Rayburn