What is passion?

These days it seems like everyone and their dog is talking about finding passion in your career. But what exactly does passion mean? And how do you find it? If you want to get Wild About Work, those questions are a pretty good place to start.

Since 2001, I have been using this simple definition of passion to help people create careers that energize and inspire them:

passion definition2Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do. 

That’s it. Simple. Nothing mysterious – or even vaguely out of reach – about it. It’s just doing the kinds of things, in the kinds of ways, for the kinds of reasons, etc. that leave you feeling naturally energized.

Finding your riverbed

I like to use the analogy of water moving from one place to another. Imagine two scenarios. In the first, you’re trying to get water up and over a mountain. You build a pipeline and continually expend fuel to power a pump to keep the water moving.

While it’s possible to do that, it also takes a lot of work. And at the end of the day, if it’s not replenished, that pump winds up running on empty (which, not coincidentally, is how many people feel about their work).Unfortunately, that’s precisely how many people spend their careers – digging into their energy reserves to make something happen that doesn’t come naturally.

Contrast that to water flowing along a riverbed. Not only do you not have to power its movement, the water actually gets energy from the path it’s taking

Bringing more of YOU into what you do is like finding and following your own personal riverbed. When what you do and who you are is aligned, you feel energized by it. Not only do you not have to dig into your reserves to get through the end of the day, doing the work actually generates energy.

How to bring more of YOU into what you do

We’ll be talking at length throughout this blog about how to consciously, intentionally bring more of YOU into what you do. But if you want an easy way to dip your toe in the water, try this.

Look at your current job. Make a list of the things you have loved doing over the course of your life, work or play. Pick one of those things and ask, “Why? What do I love about this? Why is this so much fun?”

Do that with multiple things from the list. Then start to look for the common themes. What are the “reasons why” that tend to be there when you feel energized?

Looking for ways to experience more of those underlying themes (the recurring reasons why you love what you love) is an excellent way to bring more of you into what you do. That could mean something as simple as modifying how you work or pursuing specific projects, or as complex as changing careers.

(If you want more insights on finding your flow at work, you can download this free audio course based on The Occupational Adventure Guide, the framework I use to help people create careers they love.)


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

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