“Passion is our fuel.”

Have you ever been around or seen someone who is passionate about something, and even though you yourself are not passionate about it, you became inspired? I have many times in life, sometimes I don’t even notice it until later, but when I do, I realize it helped me become more inspired than I used to be about things. This is why my new life goal is to surround myself with, spend time with, or look for stories of passionate people doing amazing things.

Allow me to explain a little. This past week I had the absolute honor of watching my daughter Bianca compete in the division 2 NCAA swimming and diving national championships in North Carolina. I have been to 500 (guessing) swim meets in the last 14 years, but this one hit me differently.

I witnessed so many great moments over the years, but walking into this facility and seeing the pool, the NCAA banners, the media, and the athletes representing their universities from all around the country absolutely brought me to tears, no joke. It was hard to fight back the tears for the first 30 minutes or so as I reminded myself of the hard work it took to get there for her, and I was just so happy for her. I know how hard she has worked, and I remember all the setbacks and sacrifices she has made over the years, and it made me feel sorry for her a little. I eventually realized that her passion was what must have kept her going, and I eventually was happy again, but my emotions were all over the place.

How did this swimming career all start, you might ask? Well, from another passionate person, his name was Michael Phelps. The year was 2008, and Michael was captivating the hearts of a nation and quite frankly the world as he made Olympic history in swimming. Bianca (7 at the time) watched every day and even learned how to use the DVR so she could rewatch and watch anything she missed the day before. It was only a matter of time before she uttered those memorable words: “Dad, I want to swim for the USA one day. Can I join a swim team?”

Swim team… what, how, when, where I thought to myself. Eventually, we figured it out, and two months later, Bianca joined her first team at the young age of 7. This Michael guy’s passion rubbed off on her, and she chose to follow his lead; it is pretty cool when I think back on the power of his passion and how it was transferred to her and, undoubtedly, so many others.

Since that day, there have been thousands of practices (sometimes twice a day), hundreds of competitions, and many sacrifices that needed to be made. She sacrificed many spring breaks, vacations, and weekends. Sometimes she was frustrated but always chose to keep going. As she progressed to higher and higher levels over the years and the commitments became even more intense, I always said to myself, “if she wants to quit, I won’t even fight it; I will understand. I braced myself, but the moment never came.

So back to the meet I just went to. As I sat there, I realized that Bianca’s passion might not have been just for swimming. Maybe she had a passion for competing, being on a team, representing her school, feeling accomplished, or maybe something else or a combination of many things.

I actually don’t know the exact answer, but I know this; her passion rubbed off on me and inspired me many times in the last 14 years. Maybe it didn’t make me want to swim, but it made me want to be better. It made me dream bigger, and that’s what passion displayed can bring to our world.

This week, I was also happy to hear that another young lady named Riley Brengman (daughter of Kenny Brengman and sister of Evan Brengman) and her team had made it to the NCAA division 1 national womens hockey tournament for Ohio State University. She later in the week scored a goal that helped her team advance to the final four teams in the tournament; I will be cheering her on as she continues! Two young ladies that I know advancing to the national level in their sport and representing their universities were inspiring to me.

Riley is another example of someone whose passion rubbed off on me. It didn’t want to make me play hockey, though; it just made me want to do better and dream bigger. The things I am working on and things I want to start working on, I want to just be better. If they can do it maybe I can too, if I can just figure out a way to be as passionate as them.

The message this week really is a reminder to us all that passion is contagious! It doesn’t always translate to someone being passionate about the same thing, but it inspires us to find that magic that can help us achieve some amazing things.

So I ask you now, what are you passionate about? Are you showing it? Are you talking about it? If yes, then you are doing your part! Keep being passionate about whatever you love and watch the people around you get passionate too!

At TLC, we believe passionate people can change the world, and this week two young ladies are a great example of that. Thank you, Bianca and Riley, for inspiring us to dream bigger and chase our passion! I have already made new goals for my life because of it, and I can’t wait to get started!

Thank you for reading, and please have an amazing week full of passion!

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