Passion, Focus, Belief – The keys to unlocking potential

I was asked to speak at the recent IPAV AGM in Powerscourt Hotel about the ingredients required to reach goals and I believe the key to any sort of success in life boils down to 3 key ingredients…

Passion – Focus – Belief

All 3 interlock like the arms of the triskelion (triskel), an ancient symbol.  It doesn’t matter what you wish to achieve be it work related, nurturing a talent, getting fit etc. If you are conscious of these three things and apply them you will progress in whatever your endeavors are, and progress is more important and fulfilling than any achievement but there has to be a destination for you to plan a route.

The symbol depicts a wheel with three spokes: without passion there’s no point in starting a journey, without focus there’s will be no movement and without belief there’s no route for you to follow, so it is apt that the 3 are encapsulated within the wheel.


Without passion, what’s the point in doing something, OK  we all have chores and responsibilities but there’s no point in wasting your life doing things you don’t want to do. Don’t look back and regret not doing the things you felt passionate about.  You will be happier and more fulfilled focusing on the things you love to do. If you want to see something through to the end, find the things you’re passionate about and make them a priority in your life.  Anything I’ve ever become totally passionate about has materialised.  I set up a festival in honour of Irish hero Thomas Francis Meagher because I felt his name wasn’t being remembered and felt compelled to do something about it.  I lost 7 stone of fat because when I became truly passionate about my own health, and I won an amateur kettlebell world championships after 5 years of training because I became passionate about unlocking the potential of my physical capabilities.  Currently, Don’t Eat for Winter is my passion because I genuinely want to help others who were in my situation. Without that motivation I would never have had the energy or determination to see it done.


We can be passionate about several things, this is where prioritising focus comes in.  If you want to unlock potential in a specific area it takes absolute focus.  It means decluttering your life to make time for the things you wish to achieve no matter how big or small.  The fewer passions you focus on at once means the greater level of excellence you will achieve with each so make sure you pick the things you most love and focus most of your time and effort on those. If you focus on too many things, it’s not really focus at all and you risk floundering between tasks. In computing terms this is known as thrashing as processors waste so much time switching between tasks they eventually get none of the tasks done and so the computer slows to a halt. It is the same with human beings, the process of switching between tasks becomes overwhelming so give your passions the focus they deserve. In order to write Don’t Eat for Winter I had to let other things in my life slide, like my kettlebell training for one, but that’s what it took to get a job done and done right and I don’t regret it as I achieved what I wanted to with the sport. Now that the writing and publishing is done I have to be just as passionate about promoting the concept in order to give the concept the life it deserves, but with passion and focus I will never lose the energy to take it as far as I can.


Sometimes we need a long term vision of where we wish to be.  Maybe it’s being able to play a guitar solo perfectly in front of an audience, getting a top class physique, giving a public speech like a Ted talk, winning a big competition of some sort.  Pick something you believe you can achieve one day, why not you! but do not make that the focus, and do not become so passionate about the prize that you miss what’s right in front of you.  Keep these dreams in the back of your mind believing there’s no limit to your potential but also understand that you cannot reach your dreams if you can’t focus on the immediate steps ahead.  So use the carrot to guide you, but don’t trip over yourself by always looking to the carrot, take the steps necessary.  I trained for kettlebell sport and kept my eye on the next training session working towards the next competition, and when I got on the platform to compete, I wasn’t nervous at all unlike some of my competitors and so I always got a good performance out.  I trained to win, but I didn’t make winning the be all and end all, if it was going to happen so be it, if not, it was a privilege to be and be able to compete at a high level.  My big dream with Don’t Eat for Winter is to see an avalanche of fat fall from the Earth to help people individually but also see a major change with regards to worldwide obesity, I can see it happening, but it has to happen one step at a time… it started with me, the fat melted off when I discovered the concept, then my wife Nicola, and now dozens of readers that I don’t know personally, and so the initial drip has become a snowball, which may eventually lead to an avalanche.  Now that is a big dream but I believe it can happen with applied passion and focus. I don’t ask why, I ask why not!!!

We are not defined by your achievements, unlocking our potential is more important than any conquering that we do, and there is a real sense of fulfillment in making progress towards a dream.  The key thing is being driven to do something you want to do for yourself and taking action, that to me is what life is about.  We are built to work and have a sense of purpose.  You know what it is that you want to do already, what you love doing (you’re probably already good at it), so concentrate on that over everything else and believe you can reach great heights once you give it the focus it deserves.

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Author of Don't Eat for Winter. 2 time European, pan-American and World amateur kettlebell champion. who went from an obese 115kg to a fit and healthy 78kg through his 5 year journey of discovery around nutrition and exercise. I believe that we will see an avalanche of fat fall from the Earth as people escape from the infinite autumn through The DEFoW Diet concept.