Fashion Passion!

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] recurring theme in my advice is that it is important to follow our passions. Some of my clients struggle to discover what it is that motivates them, and then, once they realize it, contemplate how they can achieve their desire. If our passion falls outside of our day job, do we always need to give up our full time position to realize or practice our bliss? As I mentioned in previous columns, while it would be wonderful if they were both the same, this isn’t always the case. Even following our passion on the side creates challenges since time is a valuable commodity.

When I think about all the people who have expressed their dilemma and lack of time, I’m reminded of one client’s success story. Several years ago, I met Jennifer through a mutual friend (sound familiar?), and the three of us had lunch at Johnny’s Half Shell to find out if a mentor relationship would be of value. Jennifer was working as a lobbyist while getting her J.D. – not an easy task! During our discussion, she mentioned a passion for fashion and expressed her desire to write a blog targeting Capitol Hill. Although she liked her profession, the more she talked about her “side” bliss, the more her eyes lit up over the possibilities. I suggested that she get the courage to follow her dream even if it was only part time. Several months later, I received an invitation to attend the opening of her project:

As I was driving to her event on a Saturday afternoon, I envisioned a small gathering of friends in a cozy restaurant or perhaps an intimate group mulling around someone’s backyard. I passed the correct location several times and was confused because the size of the place was huge and not what I expected. That’s when I stopped scratching my head and realized two things: 1) I was at the right location and 2) Jennifer does nothing small! Before me was the home of a prominent Washington Redskin player and I felt like I was attending the opening of a Hollywood movie premiere. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed not only by the quality of the event but how someone with so much on her plate could pull this off.

Jennifer had the courage to follow her passion. She agreed to share some of her insight for my readers about how she followed and found her bliss:

Arnie: How and why did you get interested in fashion?
Jennifer: Fashion and politics are the two loves of my professional life. I came up with Fashion Delegate – a fashion meets politics site – to serve as a platform for political style in DC. We also use the site to promote and bring awareness to policy issues that affect the fashion industry on Capitol Hill. The fashion industry is often underrepresented and misunderstood on Capitol Hill.

Arnie: How were you able to fit your job, JD and the blog into your schedule?
Jennifer: Going to law school and grad school while working taught me a lot about time management – efficient but effective. Now that I’ve completed school, running a website and working full-time is a catwalk (wink).

Arnie: What was your greatest challenge?
Jennifer: My greatest challenge is going through the journey. When you are passionate about something and begin the process to accomplish it, the goal is to be successful. But success carries strain, which is often in the journey. My challenge has been enduring the journey.

Arnie: Would you recommend to our readers to follow their own passions?
Jennifer: Life is about purpose and purpose comes from passion. Everyone should pursue their passion; it’s our gift to life.

Arnie Thomas is President & CEO of A Thomas Group LLC. He mentors, consults on client services, relationship management, leadership development, strategic consulting, and professional speaking. For more information or to set up a consultation, please email him at

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