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My Name Is

My Name Is: Karen Putz

Author of ‘Unwrapping Your Passion’


About me

I’m from Naperville, Illinois, and attended college at Northern Illinois University where I majored in counseling. I share a job as co-director of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infusion at Hands & Voices in Boulder with my co-worker from Evergreen.

I’m a mom of three deaf and hard of hearing kids who are now young adults.

Falling down and getting up

I was born with normal hearing and started losing my hearing in elementary school. My older brother was a barefoot water skier and I learned the sport as a teen. One day, I turned to cross the wake, something I had done just once before, and I took a hard fall. When I climbed into the boat, I was deaf, except I didn’t realize it. I thought I had water in my ears. Tinnitus set in that night — it’s a loud, droning sound — and it persisted for several months.

I struggled with this new change until one day, I had an epiphany — I could continue to grieve or I could change my attitude and become the best possible deaf person I could be. That was life-changing for me.

Many years later, my husband sent me a link to a Today Show segment featuring Judy Myers, a 66-year-old barefoot water skier. Judy invited me to Florida to take a lesson from Keith St. Onge, the two-time World Barefoot Champion. At the age of 44, I put my feet back on the water and took up competition a year later.

Writing a book

“Unwrapping Your Passion” took me six years to write. I wanted to teach others how they could ditch the ho-hum and embrace their joy.

I couldn’t write the book back then because I had so much to learn about passion and actually live it first. A wise mentor, Kevin Hall, author of “Aspire,” gave me some great advice: dive into your bliss and people will appear to help you. He was right.

I interviewed more than 200 people about passion. It was tough to narrow it down but I really love the stories that are in this book, which includes Olympian Dara Torres and Tom Ziglar.

The power of passion

For everyone, passion is unbelievably unique. Passion is fuel for life — it can push you above and beyond. When you are deep into something, time fades away. For so many of us, we’ve been sucked into routines that sap the life out of us. As a result, we give off a dull energy. When you tap into passion — your energy level rises to a whole different level.

Putz will be doing a book signing from 1-3 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble at Denver West on Sept. 30.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is ..., contact Clarke Reader at creader@coloradocommunitymedia.com.


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