Invite People into Your Life

When I was in middle school, I loved the dance intensive that came to my dance studio each summer. For a week, we would all spend ten hour days working as hard as we could to learn new choreography and grow in our craft. I wasn’t the best by any means, but I remember always wanting to impress and really do my best because I loved the facilitators of the workshop. I will never forget standing at the barre one of those days during the ballet portion of the morning. If you don’t know anything about ballet, let me say that barre work is a highly technical part of any class. It is calculated and specific, and you have a million things to think about. “Shoulders down, belly in, hips tucked, arm extended, toe pointed, leg stretched, etc. etc.” Focus is a pivotal element of doing good work.

In the middle of my work, one of the instructors came over to me said, “Smile! Look like you enjoy it!” I recall being surprised because I was trying so hard to have the right look. I had a soft smile on my face and the appropriate “performance posture” stance going for me. How did she not see it? I loved dance. That’s why I was working so hard at it…but I didn’t radiate any joy. Too often, we are convinced that passion will translate through our work ethic, but we forget that joy is an integral part of drawing others into our lives.

Have you ever heard someone say that a bride “glows” on her wedding day? It’s true. Every single one of my wedding photos prove it, and I felt it. I don’t think I have ever been so incredibly happy that I could not contain it, and that is contagious. When you live in a way that fully expresses joy, others are drawn to it.

When we are bogged down and working so hard to accomplish something we love, whether that be in our relationships or career, we need to sit back and think about how that translates to other people. Is our passion coming through? Are we approachable or exhausted? No one is drawn to desperation or stress, and working 24/7 on a cause will not help others feel connected to it. And, we need others to survive in this world.

Some days, you aren’t going to feel it. Just because a bride “glows” on her wedding day, it doesn’t mean every part of the relationship was easy, but it does exemplify a moment in time when the real emotion of the relationship shines through. We need to seek to create those moments as often as we can. If you are working so hard to serve someone in your life but you never stop to tell them how much you love them, how do you expect them to feel connected? Not everyone’s love language is acts of service, so we have to remember that action does not always speak louder than words when it comes to joy. Sometimes, we need to give ourselves permission to stop working and start feeling because feeling is probably why we got into the relationship, job, or organization in the first place.

To pair passion with purpose, we have to allow ourselves to express emotion and not get too wrapped up in focus and accomplishing tasks.

Photo via Jen & Chris Creed, Photographers