Pursuing Passions…with a Vengeance

I’m sitting across the table in the St. Louis Bread Company (for those of you outside St. Louis, think Panera) from my friend Rick Rovak, and having not had a chance to talk with him for awhile, I ask, “So Rick, what have you been up to?”

Two things become immediately evident.  First, I should have refilled my coffee before asking the question.  Second, I realize I should have interviewed Rick for my book (coauthored with Keith Lawrence), Your Retirement Quest.

In the book and subsequently in retirement life-planning workshops we conduct around the country, Keith and I share what we have identified as the “10 key elements of a fulfilling retirement.”  One of those key elements is “Passions,” for which there are two components, identifying what they are and then pursuing them.  

Rick is a role model for doing both.  And importantly, his passions are largely focused on helping others, which brings many of the other key elements into his life as well.

Just to describe a few of Rick’s passions—he is on the Board, is a Past President, and for a brief time acted as Executive Director of “Gateway to Hope,” which is a nonprofit dedicated to “secure comprehensive care and provide financial assistance for individuals in need diagnosed with or at high risk for developing breast cancer.”

Rick is also committed to helping achieve a world free of MS.  As a passionate cyclist, Rick has become a leading fundraiser for the annual “Bike MS Gateway Getaway Ride.”  But he has also applying his sales skills, developed during his pre-retirement career, to be active on a committee that advocates in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C. for legislation to ensure research funding and treatment access for Missourians with MS.

The list goes on—Rick is passionate about his family to whom he literally travels around the world to be with, his long-time high school friends who have a standing get-together every week, his congregation on whose Board he has served, and his photography that he uses to document Camp Rainbow, a camp for kids with cancer and blood disease. 

On his “Rick Rovak Photography” business card, his tag line appropriately reads, “Be passionate about something.”  Perhaps the line for Rick should more appropriately read, “Be passionate about many things and pursue them with a vengeance.”