“Quit worrying so much about finding your passion.”
Those words jumped out of an email I read this morning. The author was reminiscing at the anniversary of his business…which was very successful by any measure.
That had me wondering.
I have met this guy on several occasions. If you asked me if he had passion for what he does, I would say ABSOLUTELY yes.
- He is a leader in his industry.
- His influence is widespread.
- And he is not a slave to his business, working 24/7.
So, given the fact that (IMHO) he has found his passion…why would he tell people to “quit worrying so much about finding your passion”?
I read the statement again.
He did NOT say, “Don’t have passion.”
He DID say, “Don’t worry about finding it.”
So I tracked this different way of thinking about passion back to my own career. I’ve been blessed with a number of successes. When I have been most successful, I have absolutely enjoyed what I was doing. I hardly had to think about what to do each day.
I never stopped, decided “this is my passion”, and then, and only then, moved ahead.
I took a situation, attached a worthwhile goal, surrounded myself with the right people, and simply went at it. I did not start each morning with a prayer for passion. But I was almost always anxious to get the day started. Going into the office was never a drag.
So, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Which comes first, passion or working with passion?
I recall a saying that goes something like “do what you love or love what you do.” It seems to me that doing what you love, at least when it comes to business, is just one of the potential elements of success. It’s not a requirement.
Yet there is always an opportunity to love, make the most of, what you end up doing. Stop for a second. Think about your successes. Look at the people around you.
How many of us started out in life by selecting the perfect path for the future? Most folks zig-zagged around.
- We changed majors…some of us several times.
- We took incredible jobs that had nothing to do with our majors.
- We entered industries that we enjoyed for decades even though we knew nothing about them when we started.
- We received advanced degrees that we never “used” the way they were intended, but shaped the way we approached our businesses.
- We left promising careers to strike out on our own.
- We left jobs to start families and never came back.
- We lost jobs or businesses and ended up being more successful than we ever imagined.
- We “retired” only to find that the demand for our talent could keep us consulting” for years to come.
Passion doesn’t seem to follow a straight path.
The crescendos of our successes are not predicated on finding the perfect place to start.
What does this all mean?
Loving what we do, working with people whose company we enjoy and doing our best at what we’re best at seem to be essential parts of the secret sauce for passion.
They keep us from worrying.
We don’t have to make our work the center of our lives. But we also don’t need to be constantly flailing to find an ever elusive passion.
It could be right in front of us if we only take the time to enjoy our journey.
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