This is What People with Passion Do

September 29, 2011 18 Comments »


hate your job

Charlie and I welcoming commuters in NYC

Passion is a weird thing, it can take over your life, and it can make you do things you otherwise would never do. Passion is powerful. Passion is crazy. Passion is a drug. Passion is blinding. Passion wakes me up early in the morning. Passion makes me go to bed late at night.

My passion is getting people to travel more, and discover their passions.

Yes, I love travel – that’s no secret. But I love it so much and have so much passion for inspiring others to travel that sometimes I do crazy things. This week I did a crazy, passionate thing; it didn’t require a man nor did it require a passport.

It all started one day when I saw a gruff looking man standing on the corner in SOHO in NYC with a sandwich board advertising manicures for a local establishment. I thought to myself the establishment could have chosen a better spokesperson for their product. The man didn’t seem too passionate about manicures so I kept walking. Then later that day I sat in the subway going uptown looking at all of the people around me who looked like zombies with iphone,s blackberries, Kindles, ipods, and newspapers. Some of them looked haggard as if the day had won, and they were heading home in defeat. I thought to myself how I wish I could reach some of these people with the message of Meet, Plan, Go! and career breaks. The zombie people in the subway could most certainly use a career break.

The next morning in jest I put out a tweet and got this response from my good friend Charlie Grosso.

Game on.

Charlie is such a creative risk taker and believer of the unconventional that of course she was up for it. After all, she leads a double life already over at the Spy Travelogue and if you don’t follow her – you should! We decided we’d be partners in crime. She even recruited her roommate, Riegan, who adored the idea and wanted to be involved too.

I prepared to go visit my old life again; business attire, commuting, and getting up early. I was excited and nervous; this was definitely out of my comfort zone. But occasionally we need to step out of our comfort zones to accomplish great things; much like preparing for and taking a career break.

Like a good worker bee, I set my alarm for 5:30AM, got up, showered, put on my 5 year old business attire which I had to dig out of my storage unit the day before and headed out in the dark to meet Charlie, Riegan, and Michaela near the World Trade Center site.

We met at 7AM to pick our spot within a sea of commuters. I stood in middle of passing New Yorkers with our sign that read, “Sick of your job? Need a break?”, while Charlie and Regan handed out flyers about Meet, Plan, Go! and Michaela filmed it all.

hate your job

What was the reaction?

Many people took our flyers and walked away reading a little about Meet Plan Go, hopefully setting in motion an idea of travel that might sprout into an actual career break one day. Many people ignored us. New Yorkers are great at ignoring people, probably some of the best in the world at having tunnel vision when they are commuting. Many people made sure that they made no eye contact with us, but if they broke their trance and looked at our sign, I could generally see a little smile slip onto their face, and then go back to blank stare.

I nicely said hello to everyone trying hard not to appear like a Jehovah’s Witness or Bible beater – yet I was aware that what I was doing was borderline missionary.

Some people laughed, some people furrowed their brows, some people said hello. One person walked by us and came back asking, “Can I have a flyer for my friend? I think she needs this. (slight pause) Can I have another for myself too? (another pause) Actually can a take a few in for my whole office?”

One man told me I had a nice smile. A police officer walked up to me and said hello. One man asked us if we were running for office. A woman told me that she liked her job. And a homeless man told us that he was thinking about getting a job again.

We had a myriad of reactions.

But most importantly we did it. For me to go back to my old subway stop that I commuted back and forth to a job I disliked for 3 ½ yrs in a completely different mindset of someone who had escaped was a exhilarating.

Sometimes passion makes you do crazy things. I think living life on the edge, following our passions is really the definition of living. At least for me it is.

HUGE thanks to my girls….some of the coolest, fearless chicks on the planet – follow them on Twitter at @charliegrosso @careerbreakhqs @RieganCooks

What are you so passionate about that you’d consider doing things out of your comfort zone?

Do you have a dream to escape the cube like I did and take a life changing career break?  Have you got your Meet, Plan, Go! tickets yet; they are going fast!  Join us to talk about career breaks, sabbaticals, and extended travel on October 18th in 17 cities in North America!

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