Management consultant Tom
Peters once said, "You've got to get a kick out of whatever you're doing. I'd
rather see you as a happy UPS driver enjoying your customers than a miserable
senior accountant at a Fortune 500 company making $70,000 a year. You only get
one trip around so you've got to enjoy what you do and who you do it with."
Peters was quoted in a
bestselling book called Major in Success, which was written by Patrick Combs.
Patrick started down the path of loving what he does many, many years ago. He
is a transformational leader, a success strategist, a bestselling author, and a
Hall of Fame speaker who has, for more than 15 years, helped thousands upon
thousands of individuals break through to new levels of success.
His clients include CEOs,
entrepreneurs, sales people, athletes and artists, as well as Fortune 50, 100,
and 500 companies, national associations, non-profits, Ivy League colleges, and
state universities. Every single day, more than 50 copies of his book sell
somewhere in the world, and online every week 13,000 or more people spend at
least an hour reading, for inspiration and advice, at his website, www.GoodThink.com.
Patrick's ability to inspire
and lead others to success and transformation is why he is included in the
Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame, and why he has been interviewed by Barbara
Walters, "CNN", and many, many others.
Patrick has also made a name
for himself in the world of theatre and comedy. His skills as a comic
entertainer have taken him on a rocket ride that identified him recently by HBO
as, "…one of the funniest new comedic talents in America." In the past two
years he has been discovered by the two most prestigious comedy festivals in the
world, The US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and Just for Laughs Festival in
He has performed his solo
comedy act Off Broadway. He continues today to entertain audiences in sold-out
theaters around the world with his one-man show, "Man One, Bank Zero."
Suzanne Falter-Barns is a
bestselling self-help author and former New York copywriter, marketing
consultant, and freelance writer. She has been featured in Woman's Day, New
Woman, Self, The Christian Science Monitor, iVillage, and www.MSN.com,
as well as more than 100 TV and radio programs.
Self magazine named her
self-help book, Living Your Joy, one of the nine best-of-the-best self-help
books. You can get a taste of what Suzanne is all about by visiting her website
Thank you very much. I am glad I got to do this because Patrick Combs is a
guy who I've been touching base with for some years now and feeling very blessed
to know because he's just plain old inspirational and we all need a voice like
this in our lives. Patrick, let's talk about passion.
Let's just dive right in.
What do you say? What can you tell us about how you used your passion, the stuff
that really matters the most to you, to bring you into this work you're in?
Suzanne, let me start by saying, too, it is a true, true pleasure and honor to
be on the telephone with you. I think that you really, in my life, made a
difference by giving me the ultimate word for passion. If there are two words
that really speak to me about what passion is, you provided me with one of them,
and you don't know that yet. The first word came from you and your original,
your first, book that I was aware of that you wrote, How Much Joy Can You
This word is seminal to what
passion means in my life. Passion and joy are inseparable. I found that for me,
when I am living my passion, I am in absolute lock-step with my greatest joy.
For me, when I look back over the career and the professional and personal life
that I've put together, that is passion-based and I am so truly humbled and
grateful to be able to say that. It is because I have, over the years, learned
to come into step with my joy and my passion to greater and greater degrees.
The second word, Suzanne, for
me that relates to passion is 'gifts,' that we are all born here with gifts.
Over the years, being asked, I've been on the receiving end of the question
countless times, "How do I figure out what I'm passionate about?" My answer now
as a 41-year-old man is, "You've got to ask yourself two questions. Number one,
what are your gifts? Number two, how fast can you begin giving them away to how
The answers to these
questions-and your friends can help you on those two questions-if you then have
the courage to embrace the answers and move in that direction, will bring you
into what I would call 'miraculous results.'
It is really not believable in a way, that passion and joy are the same
thing. It's like, yes, passion seems like this lofty thing that belongs to other
people, not just me. How could I rise up and be a passionate person? I am just
kind of an 'average Joe.' That is what a lot of us think, but I couldn't agree
more that it's all about what really fires you up, what really gets you excited,
and it is sort of like grieving.
That is sort of what your
trajectory through your career really demonstrates so perfectly is you've just
done what comes naturally, which happened to be what made you joyful, which
happened to be what you became really passionate about.
Yes, and I would add to that that I don't know if I developed it or if it was a
little inherent. I have a theory now that what I am about to tell you now is
inherent in all human beings. Perhaps we are genetically incapable of living
without this profound sense of joy funneling through our lives. However, many of
us do. We will let it go on for years and it's a dull ache.
It makes us sick.
PATRICK COMBS: It
does. It makes you sick, and it brings disease. I look at my life now and I say,
"Following my passions, it's simple now" because now I am almost just completely
incapable of not showing up in my office and working on something that I don't
happen to have a love for. I am the most pitiful human being in the world if you
assign me something that I don't have a joy for. I just sit at my desk, I
twiddle my thumbs, I go get something from the fridge, then I start sweeping the
floor, and I am just lame.
You're toast. I
bet you think that that's really what procrastination is. I am looking at this
list of accomplishments. You've got Jack Canfield writing your forewords, Tom
Peters praising your books, and you have a bloody Broadway show after being,
hello, work-house boy number four in "Oliver," in high school. That was your
only acting credit, which I think is great. Yet, you did an Off-Broadway show.
What do you attribute it to? Just the fact that you want to have fun?
PATRICK COMBS: If
you take today, for example, today was like any day in my life. I could come
into my office, I could work there, there is a long list of things that could be
done, and I only knew one way to spend the day. That was to sit in my chair and
look over my list, find the thing that looked the most joyful to do, the most
fun, and then I just start there. I give very little thought to, "Will it add up
to something successful?"
I know that in doing that, I
will have a massively productive and perhaps creative day. When you take
production and creativity over an extended period of time it just magnetizes
results and builds a lot of momentum. One more thing, Suzanne. I find myself
telling people more and more often these days, "Look, we just have got to get
better and better at giving ourselves permission to really live what we think is
fun and what we think is enjoyable." At the surface, we think that's easy.
It's like, "Oh, I know how to
have fun," but when you really start boiling it down, can you have fun on your
job? Can you choose more and more joy on a day-to-day basis? That's a task
worthy of a lifetime.
I want to add to that, too, by using this example of the theater because you
and I have both created one-person shows, right?
You did your one-man show. You've had great success; you've really taken it
out there. I have a one-person show that's just going up. I don't know about
you, but at the end of the day if I've rehearsed my show, I can go to bed happy.
However, there is always this terrible moment in the middle of the day where
it's like, "I've got to get that show rehearsed. I know, I've got to run my
I want to run my show, but I
feel like I should be planning this class or doing this email. There is all
this, 'I should be doing stuff,' that clutters up the direct path to the
'insta-joy,' you know?
PATRICK COMBS: I
I think that is what we do. What do you recommend about something like that?
PATRICK COMBS: San
Diego is on fire. I know everybody listening to this call is lending their
thoughts and prayers to all the families who are displaced here. In watching
these images of flames on TV over and over and thinking about coming into this
call, it really reminded me that in order to build my one-man show and success
in there, I had to let other things go.
Although I have a long list
of accomplishments at this point 15 years into my career, I've really taken much
of my career, almost every step of my career, one thing at a time. I came to a
point where I was at a height of success with my speaking career, tremendous
momentum there, but then came the dream to do a one-person show.
In order to manifest that
dream, I had to let go of speaking. I watched my income and my speaking business
just slide away for well over a year. It just scared my wife to death. She
thought that I had lost all of my bearings when it came to creating results in
life. I just moved forward letting that go in faith that wherever you pour your
best energy, you're going to soon create great results.
We have a lot of 'shoulds,'
but it's a lot easier when we are willing to let some things go, just cross them
off the list and live and think. One of my all time favorite things that I
noticed was that somebody asked me for a definition of 'fear' once; here is the
definition of fear, if you will. Fear is things we are afraid might happen but
we have no evidence for.
That is a fair definition,
right? We have no evidence it will happen, but we are afraid it might. Now, here
is the definition of 'faith': things we hope might happen but we have no
evidence for. It is a one word difference between living in fear and living in
faith because we have no evidence for either. So will you choose to presume that
bad things might happen or presume that good things will happen?
That is great. That is totally great. Again, it comes back to the passion
thing because nobody is going to give anything faith that isn't fun. How could
No. How could you? Well
Isn't it like Ernest Shackleton? It's funny because his failed mission to
cross the North Pole in a ship in the 19th Century, it failed
ultimately, but that guy had total faith and his crew came back alive, even
without their boat, which was the most extraordinary story. That's a really,
really bitter example of faith at work, and yet perfect example of no evidence.
I love that. I love all of these people doing things because they just can't
not do them. That's probably the state you want to encourage people to go
PATRICK COMBS: It
is a developed skill. You may not be there right now, but with each passing
week, you can choose more enjoyment in your life. Choosing enjoyment, when we
are talking about this, usually comes to people making enjoyment choices into
their professional life first. If you can make more choices for enjoyment in
your professional life, even one more choice this week, then it's going to give
you the courage and momentum to make more, to include a larger amount of
enjoyment next week.
Pretty soon it takes you over
and you're just one of those people who are getting an abundance of enjoyment
out of every single one of their working weeks. Let's call that a point right
there. Number one, you truly get in alignment with what you enjoy by making more
and more choices to work and focus on things that you like.
I guess the person
has to have an inner sense of deserving to line up their life to provide
enjoyment. This sounds radical, weird as it may be. What you're suggesting
By college, by the time a
student is halfway through college, at least, they are thinking that they have
got to put away the fun part of their life and get in alignment with the
practical 'shoulds' and the 'musts.' I spoke at 1,000 universities, so many,
many students-and I've heard them report this for over a decade-say that's what
college is about, "it's time to grow up."
I think you're exactly right.
It is a very unusual conversation because we are saying, "Look you have to
switch the paradigm upside down." You have got to now start to say, "Look, the
dirtiest word I know is 'practical.'" I find that to be a very, very absurd
word, and not one that belongs at all in the realm of manifesting a dream
Yes, yes, yes. All
the people who say, "You know what your problem is? You're an idealist."
Exactly, like it's a bad
I don't know about
you, but I have made a great business about happiness, joy, and motivation, and
I know you have too, a lot bigger than mine.
I have made a great
living, a great life, if you will, out of doing the crazy, unrealistic,
Let's talk about
those shaky moments. If you're doing the crazy, nonsensical thing, how did you
reassure yourself? That was a beautiful example where your wife was watching
your bank account tank.
Yes. What did you
say to yourself? What did you say to her?
Do you know what I do?
I'll give you two examples. I am so glad you asked this question because the
heart of my work, through coaching, hopefully, is the heart of what it really
takes to succeed, which is knowing how to get through the inner obstacles, the
emotional obstacles, the insecurities that I have, that other people have, that
we all share; the same fears that I have, that we all share; the obstacles that
I face, that we all face.
This is the core of success
strategy work, of strategic work really, because if you can master that inner
emotional game and get through those insecurities, obstacles, fierce hardships,
and doubts, then you are completely unstoppable. I have propped myself up in
every way imaginable, and I'm just not ashamed of what I am about to tell you.
When I started doing my
one-man show, I was so horrifically terrible at it that I once performed it in a
classroom where the teacher had let me take over the classroom and do comedy.
For college students, that should be really good news. "Hey, no schoolwork
today, we've got a comedian!" On the way out the door, one student turns to
another, and I wished I hadn't overheard it, and said, "I would rather have
taken a test than sit through that guy."
That's how bad I was. I had
my very best friend in the world, who is a talent agent, fly down after I had
been doing it for a year, struggling in classrooms, to try and piece together a
show, and I thought I was ready. I flew him down and he watched my show. I
failed so miserably that night that he came into the green room and he told me
as a person who loves me, he said, "I'm funnier than you and I'm an agent."
yourself. You have an excellent career as a speaker, and I hate to see you
embarrass yourself like this because it could hurt your speaking career, too.
This is a mistake."
Oh, man! Gosh,
this is somebody in the business telling you this.
Someone in the business
who loves me. I have heard that I was bad at comedy from the best of the best.
What I did at a point when all I was seeing was dismal results, because despite
the fact that sometimes when only you're seeing dismal results, you have to
check in. You have to ask yourself when you put your head on the pillow at
night. Really, it is more about when you wake up the next morning.
When you put your head on the
pillow at night, at the end of a bad day, you just feel bad about yourself, but
there is something about sleeping. There is something about waking up and it
being a new day. That's when you check in with yourself and you say, "How do I
feel about my dream now?" If there's still hope, if there's still that inner
elder, that inner guiding voice or feeling that says, "Yes, but despite all the
evidence I think you can do it."
An 'inner elder,'
there's a brilliant phrase. I'm making notes like crazy here, Pat. I've got to
blog about this.
Then you have to move
forward, but here is the way I would prop myself up. I would listen. I would
make a point to listen to anybody who said something positive about my show, and
I would write it in my journal. I gathered up, in a whole year I was able to
gather up, no more than 15 positive comments about my show. I clung to them like
I had fallen off the Titanic and it was a life raft. I would actually open up
I would look and say, "Here
are 15 people who saw something in my show that I see too." That was literally
my life raft until I started actually being able to perform the show well, and
then the majority opinion was, "What a great show!"
How did you make
that transition? What you're really creating here is a sense of the incredible
persistence you have to do to cling to the thing you love. Although, did it feel
like work? When people were telling you you were bad and you kept going back to
do the show again and again and again because you believed in it, did it feel
like hard work or did it feel like joy?
Any moment spent working
on my show, whether it was in my room writing the script, standing in front of a
wall performing, or being in a theater performing for seven when there is
supposed to be 100, every single second I ever worked on the show has been darn
near one of the single most joyful experiences of my life. I don't need to read
the book Flow because I know what 'flow' is. Through the joy of working
in my show, you lose all track of time.
You literally fill up with
peaceful, easy feelings. Here is the thing. I know of no greater joy than the
love for my family, my connection with the Divine and creativity. When you come
in alignment with your joy, even if you're not an artist, even if you are on the
maintenance crew around the parks in the city, you are going to come in
alignment with this force called creativity, where you are going to see your
work through creative eyes, and you are going to know the same joyful bliss.
Bringing my one-man show up
to speed, as was bringing my book up to speed, as was bringing my speaking
career up to speed, all of it was a rollercoaster ride between the joy of
creation and the hardship of persistence because it hurt to have a bad show. It
hurt to hear people tell me that I would never be any good at this. It hurt to
crawl home and say, "I thought today was going to be the day. Today was not the
SUZANNE FALTER-BARNS: Have you had this experience? I want to just ask you this
because here you are describing this so beautifully. Gosh, you are eloquent
about this. I just really want to give you like a moment of silent applause for
that. I want to ask you this. First of all, I get a feeling that the harder it
is, the greater the gain. It's really interesting to me; here is your agent
saying, "You're embarrassing yourself," your agent/friend saying you're
embarrassing yourself, and yet here is HBO saying you're the funniest new comic
That is incredible, and at
the same time is there this guidance, this sense of guidance, like you can't
stop, you have to keep going? At the same time, are there people coming in with
all kinds of conflicting opinions? Today, within one hour, I had a phone call
from somebody saying, "You should absolutely not play the guitar in your show
because you suck at it." The next minute I open the door and there was a friend
saying, "Can I give you some feedback? My favorite thing is when you played the
PATRICK COMBS: We
all face this, no matter what ambition, we're moving foreword. It is a good idea
to seek opinions but it's a bad idea to take them all.
To listen to them.
It's a bad idea.
Absolutely, I won't go into them. Mine is a story of three years of developing a
show to get it solid, and in those three years, just daily examples of this
rollercoaster ride that you're referring to. There were definitely conflicting
opinions at every single turn. Fortunately, for some reason and I think it was
because of the development of my speaking career and my writing career, that I
went in there knowing in advance that the only opinion that matters is my
At the end of the day, it's
the only one that matters. If you feel that, why would you ever solicit
anybody's advice? You only do it for one reason; so that you can see if you want
that to be your opinion. Here is the best director in the country, and I won't
name names, but after three or four years of doing my show I attracted the best
solo-show director in the country to work on my show. He went nuts for it.
Then he started registering
opinions about my show, many of them negative. Then he started registering
opinions about me, almost all of them negative. It was a really confusing
situation. "You love my show, but every thing you're telling me is that I'm bad
at it and my show is not right." Yet, I would go to rehearsals with him over and
over to hear what was my truth in what he was saying.
One out of 10 things he would
say, I would say, "You're right. I don't do that well and I want to do that
better." The other nine out of 10 things I would hear and say, "You're wrong. I
do that well, and you're just wrong." I would keep my mouth shut so that I could
learn the one out of 10 things that matched because we do have a vision.
When we're called to create
in any fashion-and again, that's a huge term-everybody needs to know that
they're creators, that they are creative. You can't just assign that to the
artist category because passion is inseparable from creativity. You want a
paycheck. If you get creativity out of your work, you have got the biggest,
fattest paycheck in the world.
Creativity and service, there
are no higher payments. I don't care what you make, my hat's off to you. I'm
humbled by you if you make tons and tons of service and creativity for a living.
I forget where I was on that.
rolling. I'm just going to stand out of the way because you are just doing
great. Let me just ask you about this DVD series you're working on, 'Awakening
and Discovery.' You've got a $1 million budget on this. How did you fall into
this one? Come on, this is all just too creative; creative in the
Here is the thing, and again, it is a universal situation for all of us. I
didn't have the million-dollar budget. Somebody came to me. My phone rang on
February 4th of this year. It was people inviting me to be the
producer and the host of this million-dollar DVD series called 'Awakening and
Discovery.' Here is the thing. People will have to take this as they will, but
it is very consistent in my life and in many, many, many people's lives who I
I got the call February 4th.
The previous November, I sat in a 'time-in.' I take 'time-ins' all the time. I
teach people in my coaching program that we put children on 'time-outs' so that
they can return to their happiness. I put myself on 'time-in' so that I can
return to my happiness, my center, and my connection with the Divine energy that
knows a heck of a lot more about what I should be doing with my life than I do.
The Divine plans for me are
always perfection, but I seem to be dancing with this source of energy. It seems
to certainly want me to lead half the time and then for it to lead half of the
time, whatever 'it' is. In order to know when it wants to lead and how it wants
to lead on a very regular basis, I get out of my office-it's so essential-I go
to a park, I grab my favorite drink on the way, which is a cup of tea, and I
take only two items, a pen and a paper.
I sit down underneath a tree
and I just say, "What is the question?" I wait and I listen. In the beginning
you may not be able to sort out the voice, but with a little practice-and you
may get it instantly-you will hear a voice, you will know. I don't know if it's
hearing or knowing, but you'll know what to write on the top of the paper, which
is the question. You don't even think up the question.
Then you say, "Great, what is
the answer?" Then just wait until you feel like writing on that tablet, and
start writing the answer. Look, my first question, my first answer, sometimes
they're awkward, they're clumsy, but if I sit underneath that tree and I am a
dedicated listener and dedicated to awareness, the tablet will fill up with
When I left my office I was
stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling a little lost in my purpose in life. When I
get up from under that tree, in less than an hour later I am reconnected with my
purpose, with my vision, and what is a great step to do next with my life. By a
great step, I always mean one that I am super-excited, without any hesitation or
doubt, to do. That's a great step. It's one when you look and say, "No
obstacles! No internal obstacles!
It just looks so darn fun. I
just want to run home and start working on that!" We're back to that 'giving
yourself permission to do that without then running it through a filter of, "But
will it make money? Will it make money?"
Yes, the practical
Will people like this
idea? Is there a market for this idea? No, you don't need to concern yourself if
there is a market for the idea. There is a Divine channel for the idea. There's
a calling for the idea. There is a service for the idea and, believe me, it will
connect you with incredibly large opportunities. Taking a 'time-in'; I took a
'time-in' in November.
In my 'time-in,' out of the
blue, nowhere on my radar before I sat underneath that tree, I thought, "I want
to make movies." The kind of movie I want to make is my original inspiration. I
have never once been inspired by a motivational speaker and never wanted to be
one, even though a lot of people call me that. I was originally inspired by Carl
Sagan when he did the series, "Cosmos."
He took me on a journey…
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