Yesterday I had one of those conversations that change you.
I see three primary pillars in life – physical, emotional, spiritual. One that’s always created tension for my dad and me is around the spiritual. I’m an atheist, he’s a Christian. The ability to really discuss this in an open way has always been limited – emotions can flare up easily, there’s tension, it typically ends very quickly.
It took some time to find the forum for an open and honest conversation and it wasn’t easy but I’m glad we got there….because there’s far more similarities than differences. Being spiritual is important to both of us – we both credit a strong spirit to our successes and happiness in life. We both find our spirituality in sunsets, in the ocean waves, in the sky, the clouds, in our family, our friends, our colleagues, those random aspects in life that inspire us. We both believe that our spirituality is really important.
He channels his spirituality through the Christian faith -- the trinity – God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. He finds comfort in having a book, a God to talk to, a tangible.
I channel my spirituality through something bigger that I can’t understand – the universe -- nature, energy, and my surroundings. I find comfort in nature, in obscurity, in the intangible.
I hate the notion that religion is off limits. Nothing should be off limits – especially a topic that’s a fundamental component of a happy and healthy life. Something that’s really important to father and son but off limits to discuss – makes no sense. It was nice to finally get to a point of understanding despite the differences.
The conversation evolved into something more insightful for me – it focused in on passion. I’m a man of passion in all aspects of life and in this conversation I was very passionate…but it was counter productive. When I should have been coming from a place of acceptance and love I was leading with the passion I had around the topic. My dad called it 1st gear – a “mode” I get in that is fueled with passion and enthusiasm.
I lead with energy and enthusiasm. I thrive in first gear – it’s a good thing that’s helped me attract awesome friends, grow professionally, and driven Stay Positive. All in all, I see my passion contributing to my life in a very productive way.
But this was different – it was if my passion drowned out the similarities that were waiting to be discovered. My 1st gear “mode” prevented me from coming from a place of compassion – with my dad. In an instant, I was able to make a connection that I hope will change my life for the better. Seeing the importance of taking a step back, relieving control, putting that passion in the back seat, making an honest effort to bridge the gap – focusing on compassion. In that moment I saw applications all over my life – with Julia, at work, with my family and friends. Not having that need to win, approaching the conversation with love, listening to find common ground.
The key take away here for me is best described by this (thing I just made in powerpoint):
If I can find the right mix of passion and compassion - where they compliment each other - I will be a better person. Knowing when and how to switch gears will create massive opportunity for growth both personally and professionally.
Game changer? I hope so.
Thanks for the conversation dad.