Why would I say that?
There’s a slogan on my business cards that says:
Passion & Purpose
Find what you love
Love what you do
But, here I turn an accepted idea on its head!
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. It all started quite innocently at a recent networking meeting. Instead of the usual introductions, someone suggested that we talk about our passions – what we really love in life.
As each person rose, introduced themselves, and started talking about heir passions, something strange happened – and it happened again and again.
Person after person gave their names and then folded their arms before declaring what it was they were most interested in in life. Most intriguingly, those that did this kept their arms folded or across their bodies as they gave a little more detail.
Why the anxiety? Reading the body language, I guessed some did it because they were shy or embarrassed to be talking about something “personal” in a business context or because they didn’t have a real passion to talk about.
But there were a couple of people whose posture was different – it was decidedly defensive, even defiant!
This was NOT bedroom passion we were discussing, it was about people’s hobbies and interests; it was about what they really enjoyed spending their leisure time doing.
I just can’t get the images of their discomfort out of my head. Why is it such torture for some people to talk about wonderful things? Why are people so uncomfortable about letting others know their special interests?
Is your passion a secret? Something you don’t easily share?
Perhaps it’s “The Big Chill.”
Remember the 1983 movie where former college friends reunite for a friend’s funeral? It is one of my Top 5 All Time Favorites, and it’s a film about 30-somethings facing their unrequited, unfulfilled and abandoned college age dreams and passions.
Are my colleagues experiencing “The Big Chill” – feeling the sacrifice of their passions for the mundane realities of ordinary daily living or in pursuit of the “mighty dollar”?
Possibly. I did come up with another thought, though.
Was the closed body posture protecting the preciousness and “rarity” of the passion? Eat caviar and drink champagne every day and it is no longer special.
There probably isn’t a single answer, but the phenomenon was so interesting I felt compelled to come to some sort of resolution on it. So, I have been noodling on it and here’s what I have come up with:
Reason & Purpose:
These are independent, but related concepts. The best way to explain their difference is:
- Reason is WHY you do something – what it does or accomplishes
- Purpose is the VALUE you get or create from doing it – why it matters
Passion lies in the Purpose. Your purpose does not have to come to work with you, or tag along with whatever it is you do from day to day.
You do, however, need to keep the Reason close to you at all times because it is what keeps you functioning right.
For example, if you sell insurance.
- Your purpose for selling it may be to feed your family or finance your desire to travel or retire comfortably with residual income. Your clients or customers do not need to know this.
- The reason you sell it is to give people the protection they need from life’s hazards and eventualities. You want to help them. In order to sell it, you need to understand it and be able to explain what it does for your clients or customers and why they need it. Your reason is openly shared with everyone you come into contact with professionally.
Find what you love:
I think the saddest I felt at that meeting was for those who said they didn’t really have a passion. It’s not that I believe they don’t have one. I think they are so caught up in their Reason that they have lost touch with their Purpose.
You’ve probably heard me repeat Socrates’ declaration that “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I do believe that. When you hook into what matters, everything makes more sense, becomes more interesting – or even just more bearable.
Love what you do:
When I say leave your passion at home, I don’t mean you should not enjoy your work. When you love what you do for a living, it more fun, you are better at it, and you do it more willingly.
But, it is hard to enjoy everything about your work. On the other hand, if you are too dialed into to being passionate about what you do every day, you are probably going to be disappointed.
There will be tasks and parts of the job that are routine or mundane, irritating or simply unpleasant. I think the trick is getting the balance right, for example:
- Value the outcome more than the process – keep your eye on what you really value and what your work allows you do do or achieve
- Structure your work so you do more of what you do love and less of what you don’t (delegate or outsource)
I know there are some people out there who are passionate about what they do for a living. They live their passion through their work every single day. I think they are the exception. Perhaps it isn’t even healthy for many people to aspire to do it all day, every day.
Are you one of those?
Whatever you do, though, keep your passions alive!! If you treasure them as luxuries or rarities, keep them rare – but don’t neglect them. Don’t let them become chilling regrets.
Keep your passions safe from becoming lost in the everyday or buried under a pile of “more urgent” or “must do” tasks.
Do you know what your passions are?
Do you get anxious or annoyed when someone asks you about that? Do you shut down or open up? Is it easier to talk about your job than what really matters and is intensely precious to you?
I was so affected by the experience, and want you to be fully in touch with YOUR PASSION, so here is is my Passionate Offer:
Uncover/Recover/Discover Your Passion Session
For just $90