Aligning Passion and Purpose

On October 1, 2020 I celebrated the completion of my 19th year and the beginning of my 20th year with The Mandt System. What a blessing! During those 19 years, I married my wife Jammie and we added two amazing children to our family, Tyler (14) and Austin (10). I have watched my oldest son Andrew (27) graduate high school and college, earn a master’s degree, fall in love and get engaged and move to Nashville to chase his dreams. I have traveled to all 50 states and only need Vermont to have completed that accomplishment twice. I have met numerous celebrities and politicians. I have been all around Canada. I have been to England and Australia multiple times and have twice spent time in Japan while on my way to Saipan… a Pacific island that holds my heart.  I have interacted with thousands of the most amazing people in the fields of education, mental health, developmental disabilities, health care, retail, law enforcement and juvenile justice. I also have the BEST people I get to work alongside every day. All this while being able to align my passion with my purpose.

It all started for me in the mid 1990s. Little did I know that, while sitting in an instructor course called “Mandt,” I was embarking on a path that would lead to so much joy and fulfillment. I spent that training week with my co-worker Frank, whom I had known only a few months. On our drive home from the event, Frank and I chatted about how I felt my purpose in life was to teach others to become the best they possibly could. We agreed that teaching Mandt, like our instructor James, would be the perfect job for me. Frank would go on to become my closest confidante. I view him and his family as members of my own family. Many of the early seeds of our friendship were born out of applying the relationship building skills we learned in Mandt.  

My personal mission statement since the late 1980s was and continues to be “enhance the lives of others through grace, peace, and love. First, with my family and then others.” What Mandt seemed to do that week in the mid 90ss was increase my passion to pursue my purpose. Not long after that weeklong experience I sent in my resume and cover letter to The Mandt System for the first time, expressing my desire to possibly someday make my living by teaching that course. Six years later and somewhat out of the blue, Sally Phipps called me and, as they say, “the rest is history.” 

Looking back, I could not have even dreamed about the life I would soon lead. The purpose in life, to me, is the WHY. My encouragement to those reading this who are still trying to find out their WHY is to never give up searching for it. I am convinced that once your WHY is clear, life will change for the better. If you are still searching, I highly recommend Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action or Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life.  

Passion is the FUEL that drives you to your purpose. It’s however not about just having fuel but having the right fuel. Many vehicles require high quality fuel to reach optimal performance.  Lower quality fuel causes the engine to sputter and stall.

Many people think of passion as excitement and joy but that’s not real passion.  Passion comes from the Latin word “pati” which means “to suffer.”  You see, passion is what fuels you through the hard times, those long days, weeks, months and years. Having passion recognizes that we will need to push through some very hard times in order to meet our purpose.  My first paragraph laid out all the amazing things that have happened over the past 19 years since coming to work for Mandt.  However, there were many difficult situations and circumstances that have also happened over the past 19 years.  What has gotten me through the difficult times is my passion.  I have not always been excited or filled with joy, but I have been passionate and filled with the fuel needed to continue reaching for my purpose.

First, we have got to know our purpose.  This is the vital first step… the WHY.  Many people when you ask them their purpose cannot give you an answer.  It’s why they just float along and get knocked around and sometimes knocked out by the circumstances of their lives.  

Second, we have to find or create our passion…our fuel…our motivation.  Many people who feel they have a purpose often derail during the hard times and suffer because their passion fails them. It’s not the right fuel.  They are putting low-octane fuel in a high-octane engine.  Or, they simply are running on empty.  

Finally, we must align our passion with our purpose.  When my passion is aligned with my purpose I can get through the struggles, the hard times.  I can get through my child’s diagnosis of fragile x, my father’s death, economic downturns, COVID and all the other struggles too numerous to count.  When my passion aligns with my purpose I can look back and understand there were many struggles but they are well worth it to reach my purpose.

Tim Geels – SVP of Instruction and Corporate Implementation

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