I have been thinking a lot about the idea of Passion. What does it mean? What can it help create? How do you gain it? Why do some people have it and others don’t have it?

My entire life I have been passionate about Basketball. From the second I can remember, basketball was just something that I loved and it put me in a place of complete control. I knew that if I worked hard and gave myself to the game that I would have success. I knew that it was something that I could control, because me being good or bad was determined by me. I was empowered! It was my passion to play and as people often called it practicing, I considered it Living! I wanted to play ball all day long, 24/7, any chance I got.

I was lucky to find my passion at an early age, because my passion for the game has shaped my life. Sometimes our passion can pay for school, it can be a job, it can be a means to grow and develop, it can be a way for us to meet new people, it can provide us opportunities to travel, it can really provide us with a variety of “Life Events." Sometimes we put so much focus on the Actual Passion that we miss out on all the amazing things that are happening to us as we move along our path. I often tell kids that “The most important lessons we can learn are not the goals we are striving to reach, but the true beauty in the process is what we learn along our path, the people we meet while chasing our dreams, the struggles we have to encounter to keep moving forward, and the determination/loyalty,discipline needed to do what is necessary for reaching the goal. Once we reach what we are striving for, it feels great for a moment. Then life keeps moving on! During my life as I have learned to embrace the journey and focus on the path, I have really started to appreciate what my PASSION can really do for my life.

Now that I am a father *9 year old son and a 5 year old daughter* I think about their passion! What will it be? Will it be basketball? Will it be Art? Will it be music? I have learned in my life, while I love basketball -IT IS MY PASSION. It is special to me and it shaped me, but this does not mean that this will be my son’s passion. He might play the sport, but will it be his love? I am not sure and honestly I really don’t care if that ends up being his passion, what I care about is that he finds his passion. As a man and an ex-athlete I always envisioned my kids following in my footsteps, “My kid is going to be a baller," would be uttered out of my mouth when my wife was first pregnant. What if I force him to play and put in the effort that I did at the sport and this isn’t his passion. He won’t have the love and drive to really be successful. He won’t have the passion for the Path that it takes to “chase his passion." To do this would be wrong and I would be squashing whatever passion is inside of him! I truly believe that we all have that passion for something, some people have never found it and some never will.

My Goal as a father is to help him find that Passion! I want to sign him up for Baseball, sign him up for guitar lessons, sign him up for swimming, for Lego classes, for computer design, For reading clubs……it can go on and on. I want him to find whatever it is that will drive him to reach his goals and develop as a person. I want him to move along his path with a purpose and live life with as much passion as possible. This can be a hard world sometimes. As Rocky would say “this world is not all sunshine and Rainbows, you get hit hard. It is not about how hard you get hit, but it is about how hard you can get hit and keep getting up, how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." this isn’t the direct quote, but it is similar and it has great meaning. How do you take these hits and keep moving forward! You need Passion. I don’t care how tough you are or how much money you have, if you don’t have passion what drives you to continue to grow and develop. I pray that my son finds this passion, no matter what it is! I want him to live this life with goals, with purpose, and with passion!

Imagine if you were doing what you loved/your passion for a living! Would it feel like work? Would you wake up everyday and just love what you do and what your goals are for the day? Would you wake up just ready to go attack the world and take names/prisoners? I have lived both sides of this! I have played professional ball for a living and coached for a living! It was an amazing feeling to wake up knowing that what you were going to do that day and how you were going to provide and take care of your responsibilities was your Passion. I have also worked jobs that were not my passion and I can tell you that the feeling when my eyes open is never the same. My mind was/is always in another place—thinking, planning, evaluating, etc.

Why don’t we all go after what we love? If we have found our Passion, what stopped us from going after this? What changed our Path? Was it a family, life in general, bills, etc. I challenge kids I meet and people I meet to find your passion and go for it! If you need to work two jobs so that you can pay bills and go after your dreams, then go for it. There are two types of Pain that I have experienced. One deals with hardship: It is hard right now - I can’t buy that awesome steak because I am saving or I am working so hard that my body feels like it wants to give up, but I am pushing through it. This pain hurts now! It is in the present, but once I get through it, the pain is gone. Once I get some money and buy that streak, the Pain is over. Once practice is over and I see the trainer/drink some water the pain is gone! The second type of Pain is Regret. This is the one where you don’t go after your dreams, you never tell the love of your life how you feel, you don’t try out for the team for whatever reason. In the future, it doesn’t always hurt and sometimes it is the easier route, but eventuallyat some point this regret creeps in and shows its face. Often the regret is there and it is to late to go back and guess what?? that Regret never goes away! It is there forever. I have seen this with kids that loved basketball and they had opportunities to play college basketball, but for reasons of not wanting to leave home, girlfriends, or other reasons they don’t take the opportunity. Then about 6 years down the road the same kids are telling stories of : I had an offer here, I could have played here, if I would have played here I would be playing still, etc etc etc. They have the regret and for them it is to late to go back to college and play ball. They will never get that opportunity and they will have that regret there forever!

Go for it! What do you have to lose? Worst case is you go for it and fail, but knowing that you tried and didn’t achieve will give you pain now, but the regret later won’t be there. Maybe you will regret not preparing better or being in better shape, but you won’t regret not trying. And if you think about never living with regret, you will prepare for success, because you don’t want that pain sitting in there forever.

If you found your Passion, awesome! Pursue it! never let go of it, because that passion can make you feel young and energized and give you hope and purpose.If you have not found your passion, find it! Try new things! meet new people!

In closing I can say that I am a very very passionate person. I am so passionate, that it can actually get me in trouble sometime because my emotions can get the best of me. With this Passion, I can, provide via experience, that your passion can change, adjust, develop, and grow. My passion was always playing basketball! This was my life and my purpose. From the second I started coaching young athletes, I found the same passion in coaching. I actually feel that I was meant to coach more than I was meant to play. My passion for basketball set me down a Journey in life and I learned through my experiences and it provided me the opportunity to coach and from this, I found one of my true Passions, which is coaching basketball. This goes even further as in the past few years, I have started to do more consulting, mentoring, and sharing of my story. What started of as basketball as my passion, moved to coaching (which is about helping others develop) and I started to get this deep passion for helping others. I have found a great joy in helping provide opportunities and seeing other people become successful. So my passion for basketball has developed into something that is not even basketball related. I will always always love basketball and it will always be one of my passions, coaching has become my passion, and now I have found a new Passion. I just hope that as I continue down my Path that I can keep uncovering new passions and adding them to my arsenal of things that keep me going, things that drive me to develop, things that make me who I am, and things that continue to provide more and more opportunistic.

Passion4Ball, Passion4Coaching, Passion4Life——

What is your Passion4???