Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Embracing Change

The most significant and beneficial transitions in my life have been the result of involuntary change. During these times of upheaval my internal conversations were always the same… “Why is this happening to me?”… “This is not what I planned!”… “This loss is too painful.” The anxiety and uncertainty I felt from these disruptive events in my life drained my energy and clouded my thinking. I felt out of control and frustratingly lost.

In recalling one of these significant events of forced change, I clearly remember being 21 years old and failing to get into medical school. My entire life until that rejection letter arrived was focused on becoming a doctor. I didn’t have a backup plan and now that I was graduating from college, I had no idea what my future had in store… I had no vision.

I was so fearful of this unanticipated disruption to my new start in life that I woke each morning in a cold sweat… asking myself “what am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

Amazingly, this unplanned occupation disaster turned out to be the very best thing that happened in my professional career. Instead of becoming a doctor… or worse a shrink, I created an exciting and remarkable journey as an entrepreneur. Life is extraordinary in this way. Almost everyone experiences moments of disruptive change. We lose jobs, break up with lovers, acquire an illness, experience the death of a loved one… and we are forced to adapt.

The most disruptive, painful changes in our lives often generate the most positive, joyful, satisfying results. This is a subtle and introspective “Secret of Life”. The earlier we learn this secret and apply it to our perception of life’s challenges… the quicker we learn to seize new opportunities. Personally, it took three painful, confidence shattering, faith testing, uncontrollable life changing events to learn this important lesson. In all three extremely troubled situations, the most significant, positive life changes resulted after a relatively short, but painful time period of adaptation. In retrospect, I left behind my strong attachment to the old and moved forward with effort and desire to embrace the opportunity of new.

The important mindful realization that change is constant and that we can with energy and effort, control our attitude toward change is certainly an integral component of this subtle “Secret of Life”. I am lucky that disruptive change and unmanageable forces in my life taught me that change drives growth, it motivates action, powers transformation, and causes new ways of thinking. Change is inevitable… change is constant… change is great!

I no longer just embrace change, I pursue it. I am addicted! I find it exhilarating, challenging, motivating. I often change things just for the sake of it. For me change is an adrenalin rush. My attraction to change has turned into a lifelong quest for something new… new experiences, new learning, new business models, new adventures.

Ease of change does not come naturally to some. It can be difficult for people who deny or resist… it can be uncomfortable and feel risky. Often our minds are conditioned to feel safe where we are, and frankly many people don’t even want to change.

But here we are… completely engulfed in a world that is accelerating change economically, technically, socially, politically, scientifically. If we don’t embrace it, if we don’t leverage it, if we stay the same, that sameness will lead to inertia or even worse, we become mediocre. And mediocrity is the black hole of energy. What do you want to be? Mediocre? Or do you aspire to greatness? So, get moving and change something important today!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


This week I had the privilege of spending some quiet quality time with two extraordinarily successful people. They are about the same age, live in different worlds, are of opposite sex, grew up in dissimilar cultures, and from a glance seem very much unalike. But spend a little personal time, and you are immersed in their powerful emotion of passion. One individual is the President of the world’s largest publishing company; the other is the CEO of the world’s largest rough diamond distribution company. Immensely powerful, successful individuals who share a common “Secret of Life”… Passion.

Passion motivates. Passion drives action. Passion inspires new standards of excellence which produce outstanding results. These two apparently dissimilar individuals have risen to the pinnacle of their professional worlds by focusing their passion to make a positive difference in the world they touch. With vision they lead change; with intensity they innovate. Their true and personal desires fulfill their intrinsic needs and inspire people to achieve great results. Passion is a contagious emotion that excites activity, builds momentum, and is powerfully magical. And if you read my previous blog… passion can inexplicably place you “In the Zone”.

Okay, we all get it. Passion is a good thing! But how do I find my passion, how do I fall in love with my mission in life… with my “career”, my “family”, my “whatever”? I don’t have any simple formula for falling in love with life, but I can share with you some insights in my own transformation, from frustrated, stuck, unhappy diamond merchant, to enjoying 15 years of pure passion, building and leading the “Hearts On Fire” brand.

At 35 years old I remember clearly having an intimate conversation with a dear friend of mine. “Rosie, I just don’t feel passionate about anything”. “I feel stuck and unfulfilled”. “Is this what life is all about?”

This initial conversation, the verbalization that I recognized dissatisfaction with the state of my being, was a first step in my own passion awareness. I wanted to feel “more alive”. I wanted to experience excitement, enthusiasm for my life. I wanted most of all, to be engaged in a vision that created change that would lead to greatness. I wanted to feel all the molecules of my mind and body energized and driven by purpose to a new place. I wanted to wake up from my deep sleep of mediocrity, and look forward to each new day with a renewed, positive mindset. Not an easy task.

For me the first step toward restoring and building passion in my life was recognizing its absence. The second step was a quantum leap… my bank failed! Yes, probably the worse emotional experience of my professional life (Bank of New England, Jan 1991 failure) turned into the best motivating force of my career. I was thrown off the treadmill of life, because of an event outside of my control, forced to stop… to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. What skills would I need to build a new existence? How would I find my passion?

When in doubt, when in search… learn something new. I pushed myself outside my comfort zone at the ripe young age of 40 to re-invent myself. This required study to acquire new skills. (I went to seminars and the Harvard Business School for marketing, finance, accounting). It demanded letting go of habits that weighed me down; it forced me to face my fears and to embrace uncertainty. The more I learned, the more driven, the more passionate I became. New knowledge generated excitement and passion in my being for new and expanding experiences. The more I learned, the more I earned. I challenged all my beliefs and re-evaluated all my aspirations in life. My personal standards evolved as my being evolved. Instead of good results, I now aspire to greatness. No longer do I “try” at life… I “do”. The greater the aspirations, the more passionate I have grown. Sometimes my passion is expressed verbally, other times physically through body language, and often it is manifested as sheer will.

I am lucky, even blessed. Not only have I found my passion, it demonstrates itself every day in two wonderfully complimentary paths… my extraordinary marriage and the magic of the Hearts On Fire brand. My marriage is without question the very best thing that has happened to me. It provides balance, consistency, fun, and unconditional love in my life. Hearts On Fire has become a driving force, an intensity, an obsession to nurture and to share with the world. To me, Hearts On Fire is passion. It provides a vehicle of creative expression, an infrastructure to make a positive difference in the lives it touches. Today the magic and power of the Hearts On Fire diamond symbolizes and communicates the very best in personal values and human emotion.

Wow! Create a dream… add passion and unyielding determination and you have a movement that takes on a life of its own. It doesn’t get any better than that. Passion is and has always been a powerful “Secret of Life”.