When excitement aligns with passion, employees are more resilient when obstacles get in their way.  As the work week and life are packed FULL of obstacles and challenges, connecting to passion is key.  Research shows that when people are passionate about the company, their team vision, and what they personally do to create impact – they feel more ‘in sync’.  They’re more engaged and motivated by bigger reasons than self-gain.  Don’t get me wrong, we all work to receive ‘something’ – often a paycheck; however, when we connect to something bigger, like a vision or company mission, we’re driven by something deeper rather than being in it just for the money. This concept allows people to feel more optimistic when faced with challenges and experience a heightened ability to overcome difficulty with a solution focused mindset.

When employees are passionate about the company’s vision and mission, the more inclined they are to work hard on their performance, collaboration, and goal achievement – leading to enhanced overall success.  This sounds logical, right? However, many people don’t know how to create passion.  

How many times have you heard ‘follow your passion?’ It’s messaging that appears in Instagram posts, speeches, and employment marketing.  Many of us even write the word PASSION as part of our personal values.  Ironically, after adding the word to our vision board, most of us don’t know how to pursue our passion, and therefore fail to do so.  

So, how do we fix this?  We recommend understanding three key things: (1) passion is not something you find, but rather, it is something to be nurtured.  (2) it is challenging to pursue your passion, as it does fade over time.  (3) passion can lead us off track if not managed properly, and is therefore important to understand the boundaries.

Here’s a few key considerations:

Be OPEN minded AND PATIENT!

Passion is full of gray areas – it is not black or white or a fixed idea. Thinking that passion does not change or flex – is limiting.  This leads us to think of passion as an event – perhaps something we discover.  As a result, we may try many different hobbies looking for the right ‘fit’, the activity that instantly gives us that AH HA moment, without taking into account the fact that it often takes time to develop one’s passion – regardless of the topic, or thing, or person you ‘want’ to be passionate about.  Passion is often layered and not a linear thing or event.

To understand your passion(s), challenge the belief that passion is something to be uncovered or found.  Instead, consider focusing on developing a passion for something.  For example, you can create your job description so that you spend more time engaging in the responsibilities you’re more interested in (aka PASSIONATE) about, or at a minimum those things you do that pique your interest to learn or do more.  

Also consider who you work with, or alongside of, DIRECTLY impacts your experience.  Whenever possible, work with those who inspire you – those who motivate you to learn and grow. 

Focus on your VALUES (what you care about):

One of the most common ways we try to pursue our passion is that we chase what gives us the most joy.  Focusing on what you love links passion with what you enjoy and what makes you happy – this is good – however; focusing on what you care about aligns passion with your values and the impact you want to have.

Why does following what you care about make you more successful at pursuing passion? The reality is – passion fades over time, so if you just focus on following happiness, you might not stick with an endeavor like you would if you focused on how it helps you achieve what you care most about. When you’re pursuing your passion, do remember there will be bumps in the road, obstacles getting in the way.  Therefore, syncing your values to what you curate as a passion will help guide and drive you in the long run.  

When Passion IS NOT enough:

It’s also important to understand when passion won’t help you.  Passion alone is not enough. We find that expressing your passion may only help you if your audience already agrees with what you’re presenting.  If they are not already on board, your passion for the subject may not be effective in bringing them along. 

Expressing your passion can be beneficial when others admire you and choose to help you become more successful.  At the same time, it may also make it more likely they will ask you to take on tasks that fall outside your scope of work by trying to align it back to what you’re passionate about.  The point here is not to let your passion cloud your judgement or boundaries.

If you are passionate about your work, your ego could be inflated, making reality skewed.  It’s good to be level set and have someone you trust to reign you back in when needed.

Let’s discuss finding YOUR PASSION:

1. Expand Your Perspective. If you’re having difficulty connecting to your passion, it may be because you simply haven’t found it yet.  Consider travel and experiencing other ways of living and cultures.  If this isn’t an option – read books – watch movies – use your imagination, and view the world from a fresh perspective.

2. Your challenges may drive you.  The things we have struggled with most can help give us insight into our purpose.  Reflect on your struggles and consider that what challenged you in the past may lead to your passion.  You might be driven by alleviating the same struggles for others. 

3. Remember Your Inner Child.  Go back in time and remember who you were when you were a kid, and remember that you are that same person now as an adult.  Connect to the things you used to love to do when you were a child.  How did you spend your time? What were your favorite activities and interests? 

4. Spend Time In Silence. Rather than going out and searching for your passion, you may find some part of you already knows, and is waiting for you to uncover it. Spending time meditating and introspecting each day can be a powerful tool to help you find your next passion.

5. Surround Yourself With Others Living Their Passion. You’ve probably heard you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Are the friends you’re currently connected to living their passions, or are they leading lives absent of real purpose? Be willing to evaluate these connections and surround yourself with a different group of people who are leading the kind of lives you want to emulate.

6. Contribute To Something Bigger Than Yourself. Consider aligning with a project you stand behind that is in service to something bigger than yourself.  This just may be where your passion lies.