How to Avoid the 'Angsts of August'
July 10, 2018 4:45 AM
by Joe Battista
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This is the second in a series of columns related to my soon to be released book, “The Power of Pragmatic Passion” including selected excerpts. My good friend and fellow columnist, John Hook, believes I am violating the columnists’ sacred oath (is there such a thing?) by using some material I have already written for another purpose. I simply look at it as being efficient. Sorry, John. I will buy the next lunch at our usual meeting place to make up for any angst I have caused.

Summer. Ah yes, summer. It’s time for parties, vacations, picnics, outdoor fun and just relaxing in the sun. Depending on your stage of life it could be the last few months before your senior year of school, the final summer before you start a first job, your last few weeks of having the kids home before school starts, or even the final summer of work leading to the start of retirement.

It can also be, for many, the time of the year that leads to the “Angsts of August.” What are the Angsts of August? Let’s start by defining the word “angst” for the purpose of this article. It is a feeling of deep anxiety, fear, apprehension and dread about something going on in your life. Therefore, I define the “Angsts of August” the period of time right before the end of summer when you realize many of the resolutions you made back in January may not come true, when you are suddenly confronted with the fact that the transformational goals you set for yourself may have to wait yet another year. It could be the result of “kicking the can down the road” and putting off some major life or career decision after letting the summer just breeze on by. Why does this occur? Because you believe you are entitled to enjoy the summer regardless of your current circumstances that you claim you want to change.

I know what some of you must be thinking, some motivational coach I am, right? Well, being a “pragmatic passioneer” means that I believe that allowing the summer to slip away because, well, just because it’s summer, is a poor excuse. If you are serious about improving your life then you must make serious adjustments. Even if they are incremental improvements every day, they will add up quickly.

I am here to tell you there is still hope! I want to be that person that inspires you to get moving and stops you from having regrets later in life because you procrastinated. I want you to make some changes now so that when you get asked that inevitable question, “What advice would you give the younger version of yourself?” you get to confidently say, “Don’t change a thing, you are doing well!”

The end of summer and the beginning of the new school year is another one of those arbitrary times when we tell ourselves things like, “I will begin to make those improvements in my life when the school year starts.” There is still time to make something amazing happen in your life. You don’t have to wait until the New Year to start making positive changes in your life. You just have to decide to get started, be intentional in thought, develop options, and begin making informed choices.

Now that’s more like the passionate, energized Coach Battista you have come to know.  So get ready for another excerpt from the book:

So why did I write this book and why would someone as passionate as me choose to call it “Pragmatic Passion?” Because in my research, observations, and based on my own life experiences, I have come to realize that passion alone is simply not enough.

Too many dreams remain fantasy because too often you are taught to just “follow your passion,” “do what you love,” and you’ll be a success. Sorry folks, that’s just not true. Passion must partner with a pragmatic plan and the discipline and determination to reach your goals, regardless of your stage of life. It takes time and intentional effort to create, develop, and cultivate your passion and more importantly, your purpose. If your passion can’t pay the bills, then it is just a hobby.

Pragmatic Passion will help you to find your “sweet spot” at the intersection of these important factors: your values and interests; your current skills and knowledge; things you believe you do well; your curiosity to develop new interests; your ambition to acquire new skills and knowledge; your desired quality of life; and your stage of life.

I will explain what Pragmatic Passion is and why it’s needed in today’s distracted, disengaged and financially unstable world, especially for the shrinking middle class. You’ll also learn how to apply the seven common sense principles of Pragmatic Passion to help lead you on a practical path to achieve success in your personal and professional life. You will learn how to use Pragmatic Passion to live a vibrant life, have a meaningful career, enjoy interesting hobbies, be passionate every day, contribute to the greater good, and live comfortably with peace of mind.

Think about this: If “just follow your passion” were really true and as simple to implement as it sounds, perhaps we would not have a national mental health crisis going on, record levels of adult children living with their parents, 70 percent of our workers disengaged at their jobs, and a middle class on the verge of financial ruin. This is in part because we have been telling the past few generations to follow their passion and do what they love without ever telling them how to determine passions and discover what they really love to do in ways that also make economic sense.  Hence, creating their “Pragmatic Passion.”

I do believe in the goal to find a job that aligns with your passion, and to even get paid for something you love to do so much you’d actually do it for free. The good news is that there is more than one way to develop your passion so you can live a joyful, fulfilling and purposeful life.

In a study from Stanford Psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck (author of Mindset, the New Psychology of Success) and Yale researcher Dr. Paul O’Keefe released last month, they warn that the common advice to simply “Find Your Passion” is actually bad advice. O’Keefe says that developing a passion is better advice because it is an active process that depends more on your efforts to explore and grow as a person. Dweck believes that possessing a “growth mindset” will help you determine your true interests and passions and therefore have the willpower to master them.

I believe that Pragmatic Passion is for you if you fall into one or more of these categories: Looking to create, develop, or cultivate a new passion and purpose for your career or life; a high school student who is not sure what’s next: trade school, the military, college, or a gap year; a college student looking to change majors; a recent graduate trying to land a rewarding job; currently working and want to move up within your company; frustrated with your current life situation and day-to-day routine and want to break free; a retiree who is looking for your next focus in life.

Many of my own dreams have come true during my personal journey. Why? I believe that it was because mentors and coaches helped me to discover my true values and interests, recognize and apply my skills and knowledge, and to determine what I did well. Because of this exploration and self-discovery, I better understood what my passion and purpose were and I could pursue them with confidence.

So if you want to avoid the “Angsts of August” don’t let these next 6-8 weeks just breeze on by.  There is no better time than now to begin planning for the positive change you want to see in yourself.  



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