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The #1 Lesson in Finding Your Passion with Dan Shaikh

Nov 14, 2022

When an old university friend reached out of nowhere and invited me to her event called the Passion Search Competition. I remember feeling anxious. 

At this time of my life, I was practicing doing 5 New Experiences a Week. I wanted to break out of my sheltered shy life. I was planting the seeds of doing things for the story and the experience. This event was outside my comfort zone. I really didn't know anything about it but it was a novel concept around passion. 

As a child of immigrants, survival, and safety are the biggest cornerstones of our youth. Education is a must. A bank job was the ultimate safe haven. So the idea of passion was such a foreign concept to me. 

I immediately said YES!

I ended up having a blast and there I met the co-founder. She invited me to volunteer for them. I had been big into Meetups during that era and so I loved attending events. Volunteering would help me learn. So I SAID YES!

While I was recruiting and looking for passionate people to put on their stage. I went to an Entrepreneurial event where I met the speaker who was teaching Entrepreneurship 101. 

I had asked her to be part of the Passion Search Competition and in turn, she invited me to her Toastmasters group.

Public speaking terrified me but it was also something I knew I needed to do to get further in life. So I SAID YES! I ended up loving the group and joined. The president of the group at the time urged me to join the board.

I felt the fear and the anxiousness of stepping outside my comfort zone. I SAID YES! 

I would go on to compete for the first time ever against the newest member of the club Rina Rovinelli. An unorthodox friendship developed.

Now at this Toastmasters group, 2 people invited me to Landmark in the same week. They promised unlimited possibilities.

The skeptic in me Googled what they were talking about. The reviews said it was a CULT. 

I took a deep breath. I trusted the two people who invited me. The options in my filtering system by this point were pretty simple.

I either get the unlimited possibilities they promise or I have a very cool story of going to a cult meeting. I SAID YES!

Fast-forward I take their programs and start working on myself. Doing the deep inner work and overcoming my blocks.

In their next program the Self-Expression and Leadership Program, I had to create a project for the communities I had been involved in. Toastmasters and Standup were the only real communities I had. 

Out of all the people I asked to partner with me. Rina was the only one to say YES in the time constraints the program posed. We pulled off a debate workshop for our Toastmasters group so I could stay in "Integrity" to the program. 

What came out of it was a friendship and a desire to create something together. We ended up SAYING YES together when our late friend Maria Racelis invited us to her Share, Love, Celebrate event.

The event inspired us. 

We could create our own speaking event in Toronto.  We just needed to differentiate ourselves.

I had my "That's So Raven" moment with a flashback. 

I blurted out. "Why don't we do a competition?"

Rina's eyes lit up with excitement and she squealed, "SPEAKER SLAM!"

Everything that followed felt seamless. 

We needed a venue?  I knew a place because I had said YES to going to a Hip Hop Karaoke event earlier that year at Revival Bar.

We needed a website? I had a website already from my bucket list adventure days called BookItlist ready to repurpose.

In less than 2 months' time, we did our first event. Speaker Slam was born.

The power of saying yes to new things changed my life! 

All those experiences had a full circle moment.

Now I run Speaker Slam full-time and talk about it every day on my social media to anyone that will listen lol  

Now that's passion!

My Passion & Purpose didn't come to me overnight. It came from the doing. A journey of living outside my comfort zone and figuring out things as they came.

The #1 lesson to finding your passion is to try new things! I'm a big proponent of doing new things because each moment is a learning opportunity. 

A way to develop your opinions, make new memories, and new relationships. You create a backlog of information that on its own is minimal... But in the right circumstance make you valuable.

What could you say YES to today that could have the biggest impact?