What are some things that come to mind when you hear the word passion? Drive, hard work, or determination? Some people know what their passion is early--in their formative years, while others hit 50 and are still clueless. Still trying to find the one thing that drives you? Chief Marketing Officer of Commvault Chris Powell may have the insight you need.

At first glance, Chris may seem like your average Joe. He didn’t know what he wanted to do early on in life, and that caused a lot of stress for his mother. The rest of his siblings had their lives all planned out: a brother in the seminary, a sister who became a nurse, and another sister who’s an accountant. He graduated from Penn State with an Economics degree, got a job selling medical supplies, and started his ‘regular’ life. But Chris had a thirst for something aside from typical success or money: he craved challenges.

Chris’ Ted Talk “Don’t Be A Spectator” is about actively participating in life and not just watching from the sidelines as so many of us do. He’s applied this philosophy to himself, by volunteering anywhere he can, whether it was to help paint schools, or cleaning up playgrounds. He also pushed himself to do extraordinary events, like triathlons or travelling to the South Pole. Throughout his talk, Chris will encourage listeners to play a more active role in their lives, rather than just watching the world go by. He points out the many benefits of pitching in and helping others, and that what you do  as an individual makes a difference in the world. There are many good causes to help and donate your time to-- it’s just a matter of getting involved.

Chris is no stranger to the alluring stories of TED Talks. When asked if he had a favorite, he “couldn’t name just one.” He also often listens to TED Talks or podcasts while exercising. “I feel incredibly geeky,” he chuckled, “but I love a story with a lesson behind the lesson.”  One thing that separates Chris from the rest is when he meets someone new, he won’t ask them ‘What do you do?’ but rather, ‘What do you enjoy?’. There’s a world of difference between those two questions.

So what drives someone like Chris to give a TEDx Talk about passion? The challenge of standing up on a stage, the opportunity to meet so many other great people, and the joy of spreading an idea to anyone who is willing to watch. “I’ll do anything for a good story” is Chris’ self-proclaimed mantra.

Be sure to catch Chris(and over 20 other guest speakers) at  TEDxAsburyPark on Saturday, May 19th at the Paramount Theatre on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, and learn how to stop being a spectator in your life.

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