Passion Never Worked For Me

I settle down in the one of only two cafes in my little town of Southam. It’s run by the local community church. The coffee is ok, and sometimes, when I am in luck, the upstairs area is empty and I get to have the whole room to myself. I’m not that lucky today. There is a manager doing a one to one appraisal with one of his staff members.  I find that disturbing because they are talking about quite personal things.  And just before I get settled, a group of 12 people come in for some sort of meet-up. It’s going to be headphones and Audioslave for this session.

I’ve decided to work from here today because my house is full of people off of work and school, which means there will be mayhem at home. Plus I had to drop my truck off at the garage to have the left turn signal fixed, which means a few hours without wheels.

Everybody is on a journey. It’s debatable whether or not we are in control of that journey, but I like to think that we are. To be completely at the whim of the gods is not my idea of fun.

I saw one of those kitted out expedition Landrovers with the One Life. Love It. Live it stickers on it in the carpark. I think that slogan sums everything up for me in a neat little package. It’s the quickest way to remind myself to practice mindfulness in my every day life, not just as an exercise to complete and check off of my to-do list.

It’s planning time today and I’ve come here to think through my business in terms of what I want to do next. I’m ready to evolve to the next level. I figure a good place to start is with my purpose, or the ‘Why‘as Simon Sinek would say.

Most of my personal development colleagues will tell you that one way to discover your purpose is to ask yourself ‘What are you passionate about?’ I type the question out and stare at it for a moment. I don’t like the word passionate. It doesn’t resonate with me. I’ feel too laid-back to BE passionate about anything. My philosophy of life has always been relax and take things as they come and know that things will work out as they are meant to, and not in a fatalist way, but more of a what will be will be kind of way.

I’ve never been one for forcing life or MAKING things happen, and for me, ‘passionate’ smells too much like a FORCED thing. I hear people all the time saying they are passionate about this or that. If you are passionate about it, you shouldn’t have to say it, I should feel it oozing out of your pores and electrifying your words. I feel like I’m preaching, sorry about that. I don’t mean to preach or rant or rave.

Ok so we’ve established that passionate doesn’t work for me. So how do I deal with the question, ‘What are you passionate about?’ I change the question to ‘What do I love?’

Maybe it’s just semantics, but ‘What do I love?’ makes me feel better, lighter, more true to myself.

You’re probably thinking, ok, so WHAT DO YOU LOVE then?

(And the reason I know this question works for me is that I didn’t even have to think about the answer, the words just flowed straight out)

I love poetry and art and philosophy, and things of the heart and the spirit of mankind. Apart from my family and friends, these are the things that matter most to me in this life.

Ok so how does knowing that help me with my business? That’s a damn good question, and one I’ll have to answer in another post.

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  • I like this one. I spend too much time poking at goal setting, motivation, BHAGs, values, purpose, vision, mission, blah blah blah. e.g. this week’s other blog on the topic so far that caught my eye:

    I think at the end of the day, you have to find the questions, the processes, that work for you, and as I’m learning, these may change over time. I have found that I am more successful at meeting my goals if I am running away from something that I fear and/or abhor vs. striving from a place of good/OK/mediocre to shoot for someplace better, even magically better. Similarly, I’m much more focused if I can see only one outcome that is acceptable. If it is the only option that is viable, I will get there. MUST NOT FAIL compels me much more urgently than MUST WIN. And if there 10 options, 50 even, and they are all interesting at some level, I feel driven toward none and yet suffused with a feeling of Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.

    So in your theme of “what do you love?”, of those things that you will continue to do and become even more expert at even if you will never earn a dime from them…which of those can generate revenue? While I might quibble with Collins (good to great) on many things, I do love that intersection of those things at which you can be best in the world, that you love, that also “drive your economic engine.”

    • That’s it, I think, understanding your motivation (i.e. toward or away from), and also finding the questions that drive you. And yes, trusting in Bob’s immortal words, “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
      ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

  • […] (!), after almost 6 years of being pen pals, recently wrote a post about life purpose entitled “passion never worked for me.”  I’m still noodling on […]