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Desire, Choice and Drive

Every human on the planet arrives to the present from a place of desire. From the time our alarm goes off in the morning until our heads hit the pillow to sleep, and from crib to crypt, we are in relationship with someone or something and “desire” is an innate human driver. Through our youth into our teens and adulthood, everything we have done and continue to do in our personal and professional lives stems from desire, a “wanting.”

What do you desire in your life? What do you really want? Is it a new job, clients, life partner, a trip, children?

Our initial thoughts about desire gravitate to our life as husband and wife and our business partnership, which has gratefully connected us in an omnipresent way for about twenty years. Now, you may be thinking initially that we mean physical desire, that’s what often comes up first for many when hearing the word “desire”, a romantic relationship, but it goes so much deeper. We see desire as a holistic 360-degree approach to our lives. The desire we feel for each other comes from the depths of our being and creates the rhythm of our connected relationship. We share the desire to love and be loved, to collaborate, to learn and explore. This embodiment of desire is natural, passionate, raw, emotional, and drives us to make choices every day, which impact our future. Your desire to read this article is a choice!

Desire alone is not enough. In our business strategy and relational leadership work, we focus on elevating interpersonal skills beyond desire to achieve maximum individual and team results. We coach our clients that accomplishments at any age and stage of life, whether it be at home or at work, can be realized when desire and sound choices connect with D.R.I.V.E.—Declaration, Relationships, Intention, Vision, Empowerment.

Here’s how “DRIVE” works: When we recognize our desires, we Declare our desire to ourselves and enroll those we have Relationships with (colleagues, staff, family, friends) who may support bringing our desire to fruition. We then set our Intention and create our Vision. From this place we step into Empowerment ofourselves and otherstobuild and consistently follow a plan. Great examples of using DRIVE to generate accomplishments include families planning a trip, corporate leadership, Olympic athletes, and Heads of State.

Ken: I am the son of a Southern Baptist preacher and grew up in rural Kentucky. Being preacher’s kids, my younger sister and I were living into my father’s desire to be a minister and we were in a church pew whenever the doors were open. My father and mother instilled in us the desire to be close to family and be in service to others—powerful life lessons which have continued to guide me throughout my journey of life.

As a teenager, I worked as a field hand for the tobacco harvest, played basketball, and was in nine different schools before I graduated. With each new environment, I felt a desire to connect and belong. I am certain my parents wanted me to “answer the call” like my dad, but that was their desire, not mine.

I recall that my first real desire came in the form of music. I was invited to participate in a local talent contest, and I wanted to compete as a singer, and that sparked the fire of desire and drive to be a musician. While I was attending college, an unexpected opportunity landed on my doorstep. It was as though the universe was enrolled in my desire. I chose to leave home, school, and family to travel as a student with the global youth leadership organization, Up with People. The opportunity to perform music all over the world that was inclusive of all cultures and ethnicities perfectly matched my vision of using my musical and vocal talents for the greater good.

I took a leap of faith, jumped headfirst, and little did I know that this was the first major step in fulfilling my desire, and it changed my life in so many magnificent ways. As our cast traveled, music became my expression, and I began writing songs about almost everything I encountered, a host family, a fellow cast member, or a town in which we were performing. This desire resulted in hundreds of original song collaborations, which were, in time, performed live around the world for millions of people from heads of households to Heads of State. That fire of desire from my youth continues to carry into our global work today and music is a part of our team building programs.

Maris: I am the youngest of three girls and grew up in New Jersey and Florida. My youth was spent in a fairly traditional Jewish upbringing. My paternal grandmother lived nearby, so our holidays were joyfully spent at her home at the Jersey Shore with aunts, uncles, and cousins. My parents’ desire to instill the beauty, roots, and traditions of our faith led my sisters and me to a truly rich experience during our thirteen years in Hebrew school. Sharing our culture and learning from others was a constant desire that kept me curious and exploring.

While money issues always seemed to be a topic, my parents’ professional lives still afforded us great opportunities to meet people from all walks of life. My dad, an avid athlete, had been a fighter pilot early in their marriage, and then, he lived his life as an entrepreneur whose desires took him across the globe and back home to share stories with our family. My mom’s desire to heal people began with her job as a parole officer. Then, after earning her master’s in clinical social work, her career as a therapist and mental health activist took flight.

Immersed from my youth in civic engagement, arts, and sports, my desires, choices, and drive have always centered around connecting, healing, and uniting diverse populations.

How did Ken and I find our way to each other from such diverse backgrounds? The answer is: desire, choices, and DRIVE! We believe that we are where we are when we are meant to be. Like Ken, I also saw Up with People as a teen and met the student members of the cast who were being hosted by family friends. After seeing over one hundred students from twenty plus countries on stage motivating an audience of strangers to link arms and connect with the music, I knew where my desire and future would take me next. I traveled as a student and then worked for the organization across the United States, Mexico, and abroad. I was hosted by generous families in hundreds of communities large and small from three room homes with dirt floors to mansions and constantly struck by the shared desires of strangers who, like us as students, were hungry to experience cultures, share perspectives, and create meaningful connections. In each community these shared desires created lasting friendships, and after just a few days, we were no longer strangers. Ken and I only met briefly during this time, and many years later, we reconnected. This experience of collaborating with shared desires remains the foundation of my life and our life together.

Our desire to impact lives and evolve relationships has taken us from classrooms to boardrooms, from the Olympics to Super Bowl halftimes. We have worked with top brands, celebrated artists, popes, and presidents. In each case, as global event producers and strategists, we have served as “connectors,” known for matching desires with mindset and purpose.

The balance and prioritization of our desires in our personal and professional lives is paramount. This is not a JOB; this is the work we love that we choose. Now, having experienced the pandemic pause, we have refocused our desire to support global consciousness and the recognition that as human beings, we are all connected. We are committed to creating cultures of connection, contribution, collaboration, and confidence.

Our world has seen times when injustices have prevailed, when a pandemic took precious lives, when social impact and service has illuminated both divisions and greater connections. As we continue our work, we can see in the hearts and heads of our clients and our family a new possibility of leadership that will shape tomorrow. Imagine a world that prioritizes the desire for a connected and shared humanity.

In the end, fulfilling our desires is fueled by the choices we make and…. our DRIVE!

Ken Ashby & Maris Segal

Ken Ashby and Maris Segal, known as "America’s Master Connectors," collaborate to coach and consult with executives, entrepreneurs, and rising leaders globally. They leverage relationship marketing and mindset expertise, incorporating head & heart leadership to create meaningful connections and impactful strategies for clients' success. Working across forty countries, they have served diverse leaders and organizations, showcasing their ability to unite populations through cross-cultural marketing and personal development programs. Ken's expertise as an award-winning singer-songwriter led to the launch of a songwriting workshop series fostering creativity and productivity. Certified Executive and Relationship coaches, Ken and Maris guide clients to build high-performing businesses and enhance personal and professional leadership. They have authored several books and had spoken at TEDx Farmingdale in Long Island, NY, embodying a philosophy of human connection as the foundation for success.

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