Social Impact Authors: How & Why Jim Panos Is Helping To Change Our World

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Discover your greatest passion as fast as possible. Life is shorter than you think. Objectives often take longer to be reached. Death is your deadline to achieve what you truly deserve: your most fulfilling career path and an extraordinary life.

As part of my series about “authors who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Panos.

Jim Panos is the author of the book Find Your Passion, a Transformational Career Coach, and founder of Passion to Career Academy. Jim empowers career-driven professionals to discover their greatest passion and turn it into a more successful and fulfilling career. He has served professionals from the U.S. and seven different countries to discover and pursue their most fulfilling career path. His personal vision is to inspire 3 billion people in 195 countries by 2060 to find their passion at work.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I believe the best way for anyone to get to know me is to know my “why” and where it comes from.

It’s June 17, 2010. I sit in the living room of my home in Athens, Greece. It’s a typical, sunny day — but not in our living room. Not today. Today, the ambiance in our living room is intense. The crucial moment has just arrived: I need to make a decision. A decision that will determine my future.

He looks me straight in the eye with a steady gaze. One gaze, a thousand words. Everything seems so clear to him . . . but not to me.

“Jim,” he says. “The time to decide for your future has come.”

My breath accelerates . . . my heart beats faster and faster . . . my palms sweat. Never before in my life have I experienced this strange, overwhelming feeling. Like a knot in my chest.

“You have three options: law, engineering, or medical school. Pick one of them,” he says and pauses for a few seconds. “You can choose anything you like, of course!”

My own home feels more like a cage now, but I find the courage to express myself. “Dad . . . I don’t think I love any of these choices. I think there must be other options too.”

“If you want financial stability, you need to pick one of these career paths. Pick one. Now!”

I feel confused, lost. At a place of fear and discomfort, I respond with hesitation, “Okay . . . I’m not good at math, so I suppose law would be nice. I always loved public speaking anyway! Plus, it sounds really cool to defend people’s rights. Human rights!”

That’s how I intentionally deceived myself, having nothing but the hope that things would be just fine.

November 10, 2014

I sit in the living room of my home; not in Athens this time, but in Komotini, the city of my studies in Northern Greece. It is close to Istanbul and borders Turkey.

I read the code of civil procedure law for my exams coming up in January:

“All parties need to comply with the regulations of articles 298 and 299.”

I pause for a few seconds, staring at the page . . .

“ENOUGH!” I finally scream. “Enough!” I scream again. I walk into my bathroom and look straight into the mirror at myself and say, “Stop trying to deceive yourself! You can’t do this anymore! You can’t do this forever! You don’t love law! Stop trying so hard to love it! It was a mistake! Admit it and move forward!

At this moment, I realize what I don’t want to do with my life.

“But what do I truly want?” I wonder. I didn’t have an answer . . .

November 15, 2015

I sit in my bedroom in my city of studies. I surf on YouTube and check out a few motivational videos. I always liked these kinds of videos. I find an inspirational speech. So absorbed am I by the words of this guy that I don’t even register his name!

But at the end of the video, he says something that I will never forget: “And I’m a coach.”

“A coach?” I wonder. “What do you mean by coach?” I think. “I know what a sports coach is — a football coach, a basketball coach. I know what a coach is as a means of transportation . . . but a personal growth and career coach? Can you actually serve people professionally by helping them go for more in their lives?”

For some reason that I can’t explain, these thoughts come into my mind right away: “Wait a minute,” I tell myself. “You always read personal development books, and you’re always passionate about helping your friends, your family, and everyone else succeed in their goals and be the best they can be!”

I start researching like crazy to learn more about personal growth and coaching. I’m not just hungry. I’m craving! I start looking into minimum professional standards and for the best training programs.

Just like that, I start my research for a few days. And days become weeks. Weeks become months. Months become years . . .

April 20, 2018

I’m standing in the coaching training room at Etc. Venues in Farringdon, London. Ronnie and Nick, my coaching trainers and leaders, tell me, “Jim. The world needs you. That’s why we would like to recommend you for the Leadership Program at the Co-Active Training Institute to train others to become coaches.”

I cannot hold my tears — tears of joy, tears of exuberance. I feel moved and blessed; I feel that my value has just been acknowledged! I feel that I can have an impact. A big, positive impact on the world. I feel like I can actually change the world!

Ronnie and Nick become the catalysts in my life.

Infinitely inspired and armed with self-confidence of steel, I take the big leap.

Now, there are no words to express the gratitude I feel when I wake up every day to support others in discovering their most fulfilling career path.

When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story about that?

It was Power vs Force, by Dr. David R. Hawkins. Besides the fact that I was inspired by his groundbreaking research on the science of emotions, I also had a life-changing insight: the acceptance of death. This realization galvanized me into a life of urgency. That is, to serve as many people as possible, as fast as possible. This is also how I perceived my personal vision.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Prioritizing my father’s approval over my career fulfillment was a mistake. It is funny to me because I had no idea about how big of an influence parents have on their children, and that feeling loved by my father was what I ultimately wanted. I believe you should show your love and respect to your parents, but never at the expense of your mental health and happiness. That is a line that you need to draw as soon as possible — and the longer you wait, the greater the consequences you might have to bear.

Can you describe how you aim to make a significant social impact with your book?

In Find Your Passion, I introduce a science-based methodology on how one can discover and pursue their #1 passion. I have field-tested this method with professionals in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s from eight different countries (US, UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Brazil, and Thailand) and I believe it will be a great asset to anyone who’s looking for a more fulfilling and successful career. Given the book’s affordability, I also believe that it’s a great opportunity for millions, and ultimately billions, of people to maximize both their earning potential and happiness levels.

Can you share with us the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

Many readers find the following narrative quite interesting:

“A Journey in Time

Before we start your passion journey, we’ll take an imaginary journey in time — in the present, past, and future. So, make sure you are in a comfortable place. Relax. Take two deep breaths . . .

Breathe in . . .

Breathe out . . .

One more time.

In . . .

And out . . .

Great job! You can also close your eyes during the journey whenever you feel like doing so.

Imagine now that you’re in your bedroom, or wherever you usually sleep. It’s midnight. You’re about to fall asleep, and you’re about to have a dream. Now, you’re dreaming. You’re standing in the room where you usually sleep, and you can see yourself sleeping . . .

Suddenly, you hear a subtle sound. It sounds like a subtle breeze. You turn back, and you realize you have a visitor! It’s a childlike spirit — don’t worry, it’s quite friendly — with a brightly glowing head.

‘Who are you?’ you ask.

‘Hello! I’m the time spirit!’ it responds.

‘What do you want?’

‘Nothing. I’ll just take you on a brief journey in time.’

And before you can even start thinking about it, the spirit grabs your hand and you’re flying out of the world . . .

In the beginning, the spirit takes you to a hospital. You’re in the present. Now, you’re in a patient’s room. There’s only one bed. There lies a first-time mother. Her husband sits next to her, holding her left hand. They are happy, truly happy, because in her right hand lies the miracle and beauty of life — the miracle and beauty of her life: her newborn baby. It’s a girl. The daughter smiles at her mom with her big, googly brown eyes shining. Pure, unconditional love reflects in her eyes. The mother smiles back and laughs. Her husband follows. Someone could say that they laugh in an innocent, silly, and babyish way, as if they were also babies. Now, both of them burst into tears. But these are tears of joy, a joy also reflected in their daughter’s googly eyes.

‘This is the miracle of life. This is life. This is love,’ the spirit comments.

As if the power of love itself were not enough to dress the room with infinite joy and bliss, something about the loving energy radiating from this particular family really touches and caresses your heart, embracing it with warmth and affection.

‘Take a few minutes to feel this love,’ the spirit instructs you. ‘Feel it throughout your body,’ it adds.

So you do. In fact, you’re feeling it right now, like a warm breeze starting slowly from the top of your head . . . gently wafting all the way down to your toenails . . . Take your time to feel this love everywhere: in your head, hair, neck, shoulders, heart, chest, gut, arms, back, legs, feet . . .

Such is the intensity of the love that you feel overwhelmed by it; such is its universality and ubiquity that it makes you remember the first time you felt loved as a baby. Although it is said that most of us have almost no memories from our very first years in this world, the very first time we feel unconditional love is a typical exception to this common perception.

‘Time to move on,’ the spirit tells you. ‘Grab my hand,’ it kindly requests. More decisively than the first time, and being more familiar with the teleportation-like process, you do so. You travel faster than the speed of light through a universal channel, like a funnel from another dimension, a wormhole full of bright colors like neon pink, turquoise, and dark blue. You’re at a beautiful and elegant playground before even catching up with your next thought.

The playground is at the center of a recreational park. It’s noon, a quite sunny day. You can clearly see the trees and bushes expanding throughout the park with their multiple green variations. At the playground, you can see a bunch of kids playing, screaming, dancing, and laughing. The sky is so clear that someone could say that the natural colors of the seesaws and slides, kids’ clothes, and the ground are exquisitely mirrored on its bright blue surface and infinity.

So real does this reflection look that it would be more accurate to say that the colors of the playground, as well as those of every human, plant, animal, and living being there, are part of the blue surface of the sky, like two perfectly symmetric parts of a greater whole. But this is just one reflection. As you look more carefully, you realize that each and every sound, thought, and feeling of the kids begins to emulate this colors-of-the-sky symmetry; thus, they start mirroring themselves, too. But not in the sky, as they ignorantly thought that the spot in the sky was ‘taken’ by the colors, but rather, in the ether — a subtle breeze. So, an equally beautiful reflection and symmetry come to life: one made of sounds, thoughts, feelings, and the very ether.

There’s something that these kids have, indeed, that you feel, like a sense of pure happiness, joy, and serenity. Again, you feel this throughout your body; again, from the top of your head to the very edge of your toenails.

‘Take a few minutes to feel this joy and happiness,’ the spirit instructs you. ‘Feel these emotions throughout your body.’

And, again, you do. In fact, you’re feeling them right now, like three different refreshing breezes starting slowly from the top of your head . . . all the way down to your toenails. . . . And the more they go down, the more they unify, and the more difficult it becomes for you to distinguish them. They end up in a single breeze that feels more like a light stream now. As it slowly and gently descends in your body, you can feel it everywhere: in your head, hair, neck, shoulders, heart, chest, gut, arms, back, legs, feet . . .

This time, strangely, you feel less overwhelmed than the previous time, although the intensity of these feelings is greater than the feeling of love you felt before. Because this time is indeed less overwhelming, but no less fulfilling. In fact, you start enjoying this realm of emotions and appreciating their uniqueness and the aliveness they make you feel.

‘Time to move on,’ the spirit tells you again. This time, growing exponentially familiar with the process, you grab the spirit’s hand without any previous request — just a fine smile of anticipation and certainty on behalf of the spirit. So off you go!

Now the spirit takes you to the recent past. Your recent past. First, it takes you to the last time you felt contempt for something or someone at work — a time when your pride and self-worth were hurt or under threat. When was it? Was it when another person took all the credit for a project when it was you who did most, if not all, of the work? Was it when you received the so-called ‘opportunity for growth’ feedback when it was nothing more than a vague, negative judgment against you? When your colleagues, team, supervisor, or boss offered to help you on a professional or personal level, only for you to tell them that ‘you’re doing fine’ and ‘don’t need any help,’ despite the fact that you clearly needed help due to the high volume of the workload — because if you had done otherwise, you would have looked less competent, more vulnerable, and needy to yourself and others? Or maybe a time when you felt exposed in another way? Or something else?

Whatever this moment was, take your time to go back to it . . . just for a little while, just for now . . .

Where are you? Are you indoors or outdoors? At work, home, or anywhere else? Take your time to fully imagine the place . . .

Are you alone or with someone else?

What do you see around you?

What do you hear?

What do you smell?

What do you feel?

What’s happening? What are you doing?

Keep on recalling this moment until you feel as if it’s actually happening again, right now.

Feel the scorn and the hurt pride. Feel them in your body.

Where do you mostly feel them in your body right now? Could it be in your chest, gut, arms, legs, neck, head, ears, back, or any other part of your body? Take your time to feel them in your body right now . . .

Now, focus on this specific body part. How does this feeling look, sound, smell, taste, or feel to you? Whatever the feeling might be, just notice it in your body.

Now, the spirit takes your hand and zips you away to the last time you felt angry, frustrated, upset, or pissed off — or all of these — because of work. Was it feeling stuck in a job that is not fulfilling and meaningful to you? Lack of recognition for your work from your supervisor or boss? An act of disrespect or unfairness against you? Too much workload? Malicious feedback? Something else?

Whatever this moment was, take your time to go back to it . . .

Where are you? Are you indoors or outdoors? At work, home, or anywhere else? Take your time to fully imagine the place . . .

Are you alone or with someone else?

What do you see around you?

What do you hear?

What do you smell?

What do you feel?

What’s happening? What are you doing?

Keep on recalling this moment until you feel as if it’s actually happening again, right now.

Feel the anger. Feel it in your body.

Where do you mostly feel it in your body right now? Could it be in your chest, gut, arms, legs, neck, head, ears, back, or any other part of your body? Take your time to feel it in your body right now…

Now, focus on this specific body part. How does it look, sound, smell, taste, or feel to you? Whatever the feeling might be, just notice it in your body.

‘Time to move on,’ the spirit tells you again, taking you to another new place. ‘Now we’ve come to the last time you were craving for something you didn’t have.’

When was this time? Was it a promotion or money you didn’t get? The resignation from your job that you never gave? A new career you’re curious about, or you always wanted to follow? Something else? Whatever your experience might have been, it’s absolutely fine.

Take your time to remember and get back to that moment . . .

Where are you? Are you indoors or outdoors? At work, home? Anywhere else? Take your time to fully imagine the place . . .

Are you alone or with someone else?

What do you see, hear, smell, and feel around you?

What’s happening? What are you doing?

Keep on recalling this moment until you feel as if it’s actually happening again, right now . . .

Feel this desire, this craving. Feel it in your body . . .

Where do you mostly feel it in your body right now? Could it be in your chest, gut, arms, legs, neck, head, ears, back, or any other part of your body? Take your time to feel it in your body . . .

Now, focus on this specific body part. How does this feeling look, sound, smell, taste, or feel to you? Whatever the feeling might be, just notice it in your body.

For the last station in the past, the spirit teleports you to the last time you were worried, stressed, or afraid of something. What was it? Was it a fear of getting fired? Work stress due to an unreasonably high workload? A sense of being ‘fed up with everything’? Something else? What happened?

Take your time to imagine this moment as precisely and vividly as you can. What did it look like? Sound like? Taste like? Smell like? Feel like? Feel this fear and stress in your body.

Whatever you feel, have a look at your body right now. Observe it. Where exactly do you feel most of what you feel? It could be in your chest, gut, arms, legs, neck, head, ears, back, or any other part of your body. Take your time to feel it in your body . . .

Focus on this specific body part. How does this feeling look, sound, smell, taste, or feel to you? Whatever the feeling might be, just notice it in your body.

Now, the spirit takes you to the future. You are in a hospital again. But this time there is no baby, no happy family. There are only aged, critically ill patients lying on their deathbeds. You are in a room. You can see two patients, a lady and a gentleman, lying opposite each other. You can’t see their faces as they lie with their backs to each other. Their beds are just six-and-a-half feet away from one another. There they lie, in their last moments of life. Cancer has been excruciating for both of them over the last few months. Next to them, between their beds, is a young and very kind, warm, and pleasant nurse full of empathy and love, listening to their last words.

‘Would you do anything differently in your life?’ the nurse asks both of them out of curiosity.

‘I wish . . . I wish that I had let myself be happier . . . in my work and life,’ says the man in a voice full of regret.

‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me,’ the woman adds to his words, full of despair.

‘I wish I had stayed in touch and spent more time with my friends and family,’ the man continues, full of guilt and blaming himself.

‘I wish I had followed what I truly loved,’ says the woman, full of shame.

Now the spirit takes you to the churchyard of a beautiful, large Gothic church. You can see graves all over the place. It’s snowing, and you feel an icy breeze. The spirit points you to the far right corner of the churchyard. There, you can see three people mourning for their departed loved one. The spouse, child, and best friend of the departed.

‘They were a great person,’ says the spouse.

‘Indeed,’ responds the best friend. ‘But something was missing . . .’

‘What do you mean?’ asks the spouse with a face dressed in curiosity.

‘Sometimes, they seemed a little bit lost in their thoughts and looked worried. Sometimes, you could feel a lack of aliveness, you might say. Most of the time it wasn’t obvious, though. They used to put a fine smile on their face to hide or suppress something — something deeply longed for . . .’

‘Indeed,’ the spouse nods in agreement. ‘I think it was because of their work. They would have been much happier and alive if — ‘

‘I wasn’t encouraging enough,’ the child interrupts, full of grief and guilt, leaving a bouquet of blue roses before the grave. They were the favorite of the departed.

As you listen to the dialogue, you truly empathize with these people as if they were your family. Somehow, you can feel their pain and grief, wishing things had turned out differently for them. You are also curious, as well as concerned about the identity of this person. And the more you think about it, the more you desire to know. The desire grows stronger and stronger. So much has it grown now that you can’t hold it in anymore, so you ask the spirit in a worried way, ‘Am I going to meet these people in the future? What about the departed?’

The spirit smiles at you. You’re annoyed because you didn’t get an immediate answer. You insist. It doesn’t tell you for some reason. Now, you are seriously concerned. You keep insisting.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ it answers in a reflective tone. ‘But if you insist,’ it adds and, finally, points you to the grave, taking you closer. It’s covered with snow, and you can see nothing of the name on the grave.

A winter breeze blows away the snow . . .

As the snow falls over the grave to uncover the first letter, there it is —

You suddenly notice a tiny, bright snowflake passing slowly and gracefully across the surface of the grave. So much does its exquisite beauty captivate your attention that it seems like it’s alive — like it’s talking to you, trying to tell you something. And as the cold breeze brings it closer and closer to your face, it feels like the anticipation of knowing the name of the departed is gone, replaced effortlessly by your sudden, even strange, interest in this snowflake. And as it gently touches the edge of your nose . . .

Immediately, you go completely blank.

Before you even realize what has just happened, you are now in a big public square. While still trying to recover from your sudden ‘blank’ moment, you realize that you’ve been here before. You take your time to check in with yourself and confirm this.

‘Yes, I’ve been here before,’ you remember.

‘Now we’re back to the present,’ the spirit tells you in a playful tone.

It takes you to the center of the square, which is quite crowded. You can see nothing but people gathering around watching something. Nevertheless, you can hear, as everyone watches silently. It’s a song. Your favorite song. A performer is singing it now. ‘What a great coincidence!’ you think. You get excited and go closer. Now you can see your favorite singer singing your favorite song. You get even more excited! As you listen to it, you feel it. You feel the song. You feel the singer too. You feel the singer’s love for this song, the love for people — the love for you.

And as you feel this love, you also start feeling the singer’s passion and a unique state of flow: the flow of the song, the flow of the singer. Exuberance is the least you can feel right now. As if time doesn’t exist, or has never existed. As if you’re in a different world, the world of flow and aliveness.

Mesmerized by the magic of the flow and this moment, you notice something strange. You feel so connected with the singer and the flow that you feel as if you’re one and the same person. Even more surprisingly, you notice that you’re not the only one mesmerized by this flow and interconnectedness. Everyone is. Everyone is connected; to the flow, the song, the singer, yourself, and themselves. All of you are fully present in this moment; a moment constantly unfolding . . .

In this moment, and as if all this were not unique enough, there it is: you start feeling nothing but peace. Absolute peace; absolute serenity and calmness coming from the current ambiance, the unique feeling of unity and wholeness. It feels like home. Although you know nobody there, you feel that each and every one of you knows each other because you feel each other, fully immersed in this moment. As if each and every one of you is part of a greater undivided whole . . .

‘Take a few minutes to feel this peace,’ the spirit tells you. ‘Feel it throughout your body.’

And, as the last time, you do. You’re feeling it right now; again, like a subtle stream that slowly and gently descends through your body. You can feel it now everywhere: in your head, hair, neck, shoulders, heart, chest, gut, arms, back, legs, feet . . .

As the song and performance come to an end, you give the spirit a quick look that means more than a thousand words; but if you could only say five, they would be ‘I want to stay, please . . . !’ You muster the courage to say these few but meaningful words to the spirit, but before you even say the first, the spirit blurts out, ‘Remember: You’re still in the present. . . .’ And . . .

POOF! The spirit is gone. Everything is gone. And you’re back in your bedroom. You just woke up. You’re wondering if it was a dream. ‘It seemed so real!’ you think. ‘What time is it?’ you wonder. And then you remember:

‘I’m still in the present.’”

What was the “aha moment” or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?

First, it was the pain and “emptiness” I felt while doing something that I wasn’t passionate about. Furthermore, I didn’t want anyone to feel that way — especially for a long period of time — so I decided to embark on this mission. Then, I noticed that the “Find Your Passion method” I created was effective and made a difference in others’ lives, and I felt the responsibility of democratizing it by making it affordable for everyone. This is how I decided to write Find Your Passion.

Without sharing specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

A client of mine is in her forties and works as a customer service representative. Before we started working together, she told me that she was feeling depressed, unmotivated, and confused about the future of her professional career. Now, she’s on her way to becoming a professional flamenco dancer. On top of that, her passion for flamenco inspired her to reach the best version of herself in her life and at work, including winning the “Employee of the Month” award, twice! She’s relentless and I’m truly grateful for having the chance to see her blossom!

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

First and foremost, all parents carry the responsibility to let their children choose and pave their own career path. Having an agenda for them can jeopardize not only their relationship with them, but most importantly the children’s mental health and well-being — for years if not a lifetime. Given the strong influence they can exercise on them, parents ought to set their own expectations on the side, be less judgmental and more supportive.

Second, schools and the educational system need to integrate career coaching and consulting in the curriculum, as well as collaborate with businesses to organize programs that will provide students with the opportunity to “test” various jobs, fields, and industries — even on a voluntary basis.

Last but not least, the federal government needs to increase the budget for education. As a result, the states and schools will be able to effectively implement career coaching programs.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

There are so many ways to define it, but I believe it comes down to two important qualities: authenticity and responsibility. Authenticity is one’s ability to express who they are and what they believe in, and then walk the talk. Society has a big impact on us, whether it’s our colleagues, friends, partners or parents, so standing up for your own values requires a lot of courage. Standing up is standing out.

On the other hand, authenticity is not enough. You need to take 100% responsibility for your actions and the results they produce. You do this by holding yourself accountable and being ready to bear the consequences of your behavior. Self-victimization, whether it’s blaming, complaining, or finding excuses, will not solve any of your problems, and it will not help others either. I stopped blaming my father and society for the wrong career choice, and I actually started doing something about it. I refocused my energy from finding excuses to finding solutions. Since the moment I took 100% responsibility, my life has been transformed. I transformed, and never looked back.

On a personal note, I believe leadership is “servant leadership”: your dedication to serving others, serving something greater than yourself; and your commitment to creating a better world, a world that will be better long after you’re gone.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

#1: Finding your greatest passion is truly worth it.

I’ve had two lives: the life before and the life after I discovered what I’m really passionate about. I went from being a depressed law school graduate to running a purpose-driven business full-time, writing Find Your Passion, and most importantly, empowering professionals from all over the world to discover their most fulfilling career path. I used to feel “empty”, lost and confused, living a life without meaning. Now, I wake up every single day to serve others by doing what I truly love. I couldn’t be more grateful!

#2: It won’t be easy.

Anything that makes a big difference in your life won’t happen in a day, including finding and following your passion. Hustling may be a part of this process. I wasn’t an exception. I was a door-to-door commission-only salesman. I did Uber deliveries on a bike at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. My hands were bleeding because of the cold, as the wind passed through my poor-quality gloves. I did anything I could to keep the business going. In retrospect, it wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it!

#3: Ask for help when you need it.

I will never forget the moment when I asked my mother, to whom I had made a promise to succeed, for $100 to pay my rent. That was rock bottom for me — and she knew it. My embarrassment was indescribable. One month later, I managed to close my first $5,000 deal, which played a big role in growing the business. Shut your ego down and do what you have to do, no matter how painful or embarrassing it might feel. Why? Because every storm runs out of rain, every hardship is temporary; and because you should focus on your goal and take the emotions out of the process. The latter was particularly challenging to me. Ask for help when you need it.

#4: Get unsupportive people out of your life.

Build your “dream team” along your passion journey. Nevertheless, before that, make sure to “fire” anyone who doesn’t want to support you in this endeavor: the toxic, the negative, and the indifferent. I included the last ones because when someone neither encourages nor discourages you, they ultimately discourage you by omission. Indifference can be as harmful as negativity. I had to do the same with friends, acquaintances, and family. In the beginning, it feels hard but in the long run, you’ll notice your energy levels significantly increase! And I believe your energy is your greatest currency, even greater than time. At the end of the day, what is the point of having time if your energy levels are completely depleted? So, protect it — no matter what.

#5: Discover your greatest passion as fast as possible.

Life is shorter than you think. Objectives often take longer to be reached. Death is your deadline to achieve what you truly deserve: your most fulfilling career path and an extraordinary life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Find and follow your greatest passion. As I already mentioned, this changed everything for me. I transformed into the very best version of myself — and you will too.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Oprah. Both of us are relentless advocates of education and the importance of finding and following your passion. She has been a true inspiration to me, given my identity as an underdog, ethnic minority member, immigrant, and neurodivergent. We also love books and are committed to serving others, so I believe we’ll have so many things to discuss and work on together!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can connect with me on LinkedIn and reach out at my personal site

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Thank you for the honor!

Social Impact Authors: How & Why Jim Panos Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.