There’s no doubt passion plays a starring role in Shivani Gupta’s life. The founder of the Passionate People Institute has spent the past 15 years mentoring individuals, groups and business leaders, helping them to find their passions and reach their goals.
For the past six years she has also been a certified “Passion Test” facilitator, having become one of only seven people worldwide to complete global master training with the co-creator of the transformational program - New York Times bestselling author Janet Bray Attwood.
Shivani uses the test to help people identify their top five passions and learn how to align their lives and their careers with their priorities.
But her own journey to living a passionate life wasn’t exactly straight forward. Born in India, Shivani moved to Australia with her family when she was 11 years of age. After studying engineering at university, she broke new ground by becoming the first female in her family to get a job.
Several career changes and much success in a number of management roles followed, however, Shivani still felt something was missing. It wasn’t until she travelled nearly 10,000 kilometres from home to the mountains of Nepal that she finally realised what was wrong.
“I’m an engineer by trade, I followed my dad’s footsteps; he is an engineer, my grandfather was an engineer,” Shivani said.
“I’m the first woman that has ever worked in my family, so my mum, my grandmas, a number of my cousins that still live in India, they’re highly qualified but don’t work.
“To be honest, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do so I followed Dad’s footsteps. I worked as an engineer for a few years, and it was ok, I was a very good engineer, I just didn’t enjoy it.
“Then I moved into sales and marketing, did lots of senior leadership roles with companies like General Motors and BHP Billiton, I got to travel a lot, got to earn a lot of money but just felt really dissatisfied.
“(In 2011) I trekked through Nepal... I just felt really lost, I just felt like ‘I work pretty hard, I earn great money, I’ve got this great job, and I really hate my life’.
“What I didn’t know at that time was that I just wasn’t very passionate about who I was, what I was doing. I was in a long term relationship that I really didn’t enjoy; I was just stuck.
“For me, I always say I had a bit of a transformation moment (in Nepal). There was supposed to be about 12 people on the trek and I was the only one left standing, everybody else cancelled the trip.
“So I had my own Sherpa, my own cook... and because I didn’t have any conversations with them except when we sat for meals because we would be walking along ridgelines for hours on end, it was the first time in my life I had time to think. No mobile phones - I just had time to reflect on life, really connect with my soul. And I went ‘my life’s not good, I think I need to quit a few things’.
“So I came back from that trip, a month away, and I quit my job much to the despair of my parents and the demise of my bank balance, and I quit my relationship.
“It seemed like it was a really stupid thing to do, but I just felt it was time to do something different – I didn’t really know exactly what I was going to do but I wanted to do something that was meaningful.
“I just started working with individuals, and then people started asking me to come and speak and run workshops… the business just started, it was really organic.”
With all this focus on passion right from the beginning, it seems only natural that Shivani felt a natural affinity with the philosophy behind The Passion Test and was keen to implement the process not only in her own life but in the lives and careers of her clients as well.
“I became certified in the Passion Test six years ago and I’ve been using the tool for quite a while and it’s just such a fabulous, simple tool in terms of getting your passions clear before you set your goals,” she said.
“For organisational leaders, when you understand your passion and the passions of others you can harness that to deliver improved performance and productivity.
“According to Gallup research in 2016, 87 percent of employees worldwide are not engaged at work, and when you look at it that’s sad, I feel really sad.
“I feel part of my mission is to turn that upside down; I want 87 percent of people to be passionate about their work.
“The Passion Test talks about setting the intention of what you want, you then give it some attention… and then once you’ve done that you just let it go, so there’s no tension. That’s the three-step process, and I try to apply that to most aspects of my life.”
Shivani’s enthusiasm for the simplicity and effectiveness of the Passion Test has seen her become one of 14 people from around the world – and the only person in Australia – to contribute to Janet Bray Attwood’s latest transformational book: Inspired By the Passion Test.
Designed to inspire and help others lead the passionate life they dream about, the book is an emotional anthology of personal stories - a testament to the power of Janet’s simple test and step-by-step program.
Janet said the authors of each chapter had used the Passion Test to help in their physical health, relationships, career, and family - finding true love, overcoming domestic abuse, and living with the loss of a loved one.
“These inspirational people will help you learn how to get unstuck, find clarity, and make passion-based choices in your life,” she said.
“Inspired by The Passion Test will uplift your spirit and give you the tools, advice, and inspiration you need to find your passion.”
Shivani shares her own personal experiences of the power of the Passion Test in her chapter of the book and hopes that by reading it, more people will be inspired to find their own passions.
“When you get really clear about who you are and what you do and you spend a bit of time realising that vision, then things happen in your life,” she said.
“In the chapter I just tried to share how I use the Passion Test, and for me, it’s brought a lot of clarity to my life, both in my work life as well as my personal life. In the last six years since I did the process, which I repeat one to two times a year, I’ve achieved over 95 percent of things year-on-year. Before it would be hit and miss, and I think that the process really helped me.
“Millions of people around the world set goals all the time, but my belief is that when goals are not set in alignment with your passions, they are very hit and miss.
“My experience is you need to get your passions clear, know what your top passions are, then set your goals and when you start to do that the alignment is there, the direction is there, and the achievement of those goals is so much faster, and you feel really good about it.”
Proceeds from the sale of Inspired By the Passion Test, which has already hit #1 on the Amazon bestseller list, will be donated to the I AM Foundation. To find out more about the book visit www.inspiredbythepassiontest.com