Unleash your passion

It has been my experience that people can be divided into four categories when it comes to employment: people who are unemployed and looking for work, people who work but hate what they do, those who are just OK with their job and those few (only about 10 per cent) who absolutely love their work and can’t wait to start each morning. Perhaps there is still another group that prefers never to work and finds ways to make non-work a reality for themselves.

“Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.”

– Katherine Whitehorn, British journalist,

writer and columnist

“How’s the new job?”

“It’s OK,” replied my friend without looking up.

“Just OK?” The response struck me as lukewarm. “Not great or fantastic?”

“It’s OK,” he repeated and I got the impression he didn’t want to talk about it.

It has been my experience that people can be divided into four categories when it comes to employment: people who are unemployed and looking for work, people who work but hate what they do, those who are just OK with their job and those few (only about 10 per cent) who absolutely love their work and can’t wait to start each morning. Perhaps there is still another group that prefers never to work and finds ways to make non-work a reality for themselves.

If you’re among the 10 per cent, then you’ve figured something out that few people ever do. And if you’re among the other groups then perhaps there’s something of value here for you.

I can remember years ago when I was toying with the idea of becoming a columnist; I spoke to Pat Lynch who was (at the time) a successful American columnist and professional motivator.

Pat asked me, “If you could do anything you wanted and never had to think about money or the future, what would you do?” Of course, Pat was talking about pursuing my passion. I thought about the question. I’ve asked it often in my workshops and have received a variety of answers from gardening and yes, writing, to watching television, shopping and even on-line gaming.

I have often heard the sentiment, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Boy doesn’t that sound great. The presupposition is that you can make a great living pursuing your passion – doing what you love – whatever it should happen to be. Well, maybe.

There is a question that you must ask yourself first and it’s critical to your success: what value does your passion have for other people?

Value is what will separate an enjoyable hobby from a viable vocation. If you have a passion for on-line gaming (for example), you must ask yourself how your passion can translate into value or a tangible benefit for others.

I had a young friend who would spend hours sitting at home gaming and, though he derived great enjoyment from the experience, it seemed to contribute little to his life – especially from a social viewpoint.

Later, when he met his girlfriend, his gaming time was severely curtailed.

And later still, when he and his girlfriend got married and had a child, gaming was all but discontinued. Now on the surface, you might say my friend’s passion had little if any hope of translating into a viable job.

Being a smart lad, my friend decided to write a blog about gaming which eventually led to a column in a gaming magazine and ultimately a part-time job testing new games and writing reviews — in between spending time with his new wife and changing diapers, of course.

Quite simply, to be profitable your passion must be of benefit to others.

Before I was ever writing columns or books, I was writing short stories. One day someone made the comment that my stories contained great life lessons. I wondered how I could make my stories and life lessons beneficial to others. The idea for Extreme Esteem was born.

People have often asked me about self-esteem and career choice. If you’re a passionate person who feels worthy and deserving of success, you’ll be much more driven to pursue your passion to a profitable end.

People with healthy self-esteem are frequently goal-focused individuals.

Where most people see only obstacles, the empowered individual will see a challenge to be overcome on the way to success. People with good self-esteem are generally more selective about the types of careers they choose. It must have that passion component.

If you have a well-rounded and grounded sense of self, it’s unlikely that you’ll stay in a job that doesn’t honour your natural gifts, unique personality or speak to your passion.

People with poor self-esteem often stay in soul-crushing jobs because they reside in a place of fear. Fear will always prompt you to set aside your passion in exchange for security and predictability.

There was a time (a long time) that I worked at passionless jobs I didn’t enjoy — where I even tolerated abuse — because I was afraid and believed myself unworthy and incapable of anything better. Our passion sustains us and without it, we wither and die a little each time we punch the clock.

Where do you fall in the four categories? I can honestly say that when I’m writing about self-esteem and personal empowerment, speaking to engaged groups of individuals or counselling people on how to reach their full potential, I’m in the elite 10 per cent category.

American President Barack Obama declared in his commencement speech, “I know starting careers in troubled times is a challenge, but it is also a privilege.

Because it’s moments like these that force us to try harder, dig deeper and to discover gifts we never knew we had. To find the greatness that lies within each of us.

So don’t ever shy away from that endeavour. Don’t stop adding to your body of work. I can promise that you will be the better for that continued effort as will be this nation that we all love.”

Want a job that’s truly in alignment with your best interests and unique gifts? Pursue your passion! Set goals and go for it. And most importantly, don’t give up and never settle.

“Never tell me the sky’s the limit when (I know) there are footprints on the moon.”

– Author Unknown