When I opened my mailbox at the post office, I found a note and magazine article from Sandy Dempsey. She said she’d been going through a stack of magazines and, “When I came across this lovely interview with Bill Bryson I thought of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.”

The article made me smile, but I was genuinely pleased that Sandy had thought of me when she read it.

A few days earlier, I received an e-mail from Charles McCool, mastermind of McCool Travel, telling me that his family is planning a trip to Venice. Did I have any tips? Recommendations? Things not to miss?

Of course, I did, but it made me smile that he’d consulted me.

On Thursday evening, I had a surprise call from Vancouver resident Sally Laird. “Guess where I am,” she said. I thought a moment and guessed, “Las Vegas.”

“Yup,” she laughed, “at the Bellagio. Eating gelato.”

Sally is well aware of my fondness for both.

Then there was the inquiry from my sister Nancy wanting to know about Kiva and how to become a lender.

These sorts of things happen to me on a regular basis and I never get tired of people thinking of me when they encounter something they know I love.

My true loves are not a secret.

Anyone who spends time with me discovers my fondness for Bryson, Venice, the Bellagio, gelato, Kiva—and dozens of other things. I’ve probably posted links to articles on all those subjects on Facebook.

Anyone who visits my home can see that I live surrounded by images, books and other evidence of my true loves.

I’ve never seen the point of keeping passion to myself, although I was frequently advised to do so. “Oh, Barbara,” my mother would sigh,  “you wear your heart on your sleeve.”

She did not mean it as a compliment.

“In the moment of knowing  a love,” I once heard Ray Bradbury advise, “intensify it.” For me, sharing a passion is one way of adding intensity to it.

Passion is, after all, often contagious. Before I became friends with Georgia Makitalo, I knew nothing of the Romantic artists known as the Pre-Raphaelites. Before long, Georgia’s enthusiasm had me joining her on excursions to see their work in Toronto, Delaware and London.

I was only vaguely aware of architect Frank Lloyd Wright before my friend Jill McDermott began telling me of her passion for his work. We made a pilgrimage to his home in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Eventually, she and I made a road trip which included explorations of his buildings in Oak Park, IL and Fallingwater, his masterpiece in Pennsylvania. When Jill moved near his home, Taliesin, in Spring Green, I attended her first outing as a tour guide there.

Having passionate friends has consistently enriched my life. And passion is an essential  ingredient if you want to create a business that is worthy of your time and energy.

Quite simply, building a business with passion as the cornerstone makes the process so much easier. It’s obvious that passion pulls you forward, keeps curiosity alive, connects you with kindred spirits.

It’s the X Factor that makes you magnetic.

Best of all, you get to wear your heart on your sleeve all the time.

So how do you display your passion? Feel free to leave a comment and share.



Before I became friends with Georgia Makitalo, I had never heard of the Pre-Raphaelites or knew their intriguing story, although I was familiar with the name William Morris who founded this creative group. 

Frank Lloyd Wright was just the name of a famous architect to me until Jill McDermott and I became friends. 

Both Georgia and Jill were wildly passionate about their creative heroes and it was contagious. I wanted to know what they knew. Fortunately, they loved to share.

Georgia and I made several excursions hunting down William Morris and his tribe. We traveled to Toronto, Delaware and London looking at treasures these artists had left behind. Georgia also regaled me with stories of their romantic exploits and intrigues. 

I was especially fascinated by her stories about the weekends Morris organized at Red House, his country home, where he invited his artist friends to come spend the time together making things. 

Then there was the road trip Jill and I made from Minnesota to Washington, DC that included stops at Wright sites in the Chicago area and at the landmark Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.

We had made a shorter road trip previously to visit Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  Today, Jill and her husband Mike live down the road from this beautiful place which served as an inspiration to Wright for many years.

As Jill and Georgia taught me, friends with passion can make a powerful impact—even if their passions seem to be quite different from our own.

The late philosopher Jim Rohn frequently urged his audiences to seek out and build relationships with people who could help them grow into their best selves. It’s an undertaking that lasts a lifetime, although it requires an investment of time. 

It also needs to be done consciously. 

One of the best descriptions of this process comes from Stewart Emery in his book Actualizations. He writes, 

As I look at my own life, I notice all my friends are people who support my learning the lessons I have to learn.

In other words, their reality is more centered and more together in some aspects of life than mine is, and my reality is more evolved than some aspect of theirs.

I choose to be with people who have a reality of abundance. I won’t hang out with people who have a reality of scarcity. I won’t hang out around people who have negative energy flows.

Everything I have learned how to do in life I learned by placing myself in the company of masters. Although I read a lot and learned technical things from books, the discovery of a way of being and acting that worked for me and others came as a result of spending time with men and women who act in the world with excellence, joy and service. 

Of course, what Emery’s talking about isn’t a one-way street. Bring your own passion to relationships and everybody profits. That’s my idea of a really great investment.