More on passion: Sustaining it (6 min read)

I want to continue our discussion on passion. My last posting was about how you find the passion within you to be happy in your life, work and create a Caring environment. Finding your happiness in life where both your personal life and your work life support and appreciate the passion is a key element in sustaining it. A few months back I organized a work dinner with colleagues and the client. One of my co-workers said he had a date that night and would be unable to attend. I said to him, “If you find it appropriate, bring your date, it’s good for her to see you in a professional setting and meet your work network—for her to see who you really are and what is important in your work life. If you feel this is not appropriate then you don’t have to join.” He came with his date.

It was so very interesting. In the first fifteen minutes we all learned that this young woman hated everything. She hates her job. She hates the countries she has lived in. She hates everything. I looked at this woman and thought, “What the heck does she like?” And then I looked at my colleague who was dating her and thought, “How would he turn all this negativity into a care and love?”

The next day I asked my colleague, “How do you feel about the woman you brought to dinner?” He said, “Emma, she is so negative.”

I advised him that he should try to understand what she loves. Find one thing on her “things I hate list” and see if there is anything she likes. Then I told him that if there is nothing that she can come up with that she loves, then he has his hands full. “If you want to live with all the negativity and you see this as a challenge and you knowingly go into this relationship, that’s fine. But don’t get surprised or upset later.” She was smart, attractive and had a great job. But this was a woman who for 30 plus years had gone through life and still didn’t know what she liked. This was a serious problem in my opinion. Or at the very least, a life not well lived.

I want to be clear about passion in your work and passion in your personal life. A job is a necessity to survival. You have to have a job to pay your bills, buy the food, and send your kids to college. If you have a job you don’t like, well, sometimes that’s OK. You need to have a job. It would be great if you had a passion about your job, but sometimes that is not possible. It is important to have a job, even if you don’t like it, but if it pays you well, it’s an obligation. You have to earn money. If that’s the case, find other things at work to become more engaged in and that you can care about. You can also add to that passion list out of work activities. It could be painting. It could be singing. It could be gardening.

If you like your job, that’s an obligation plus passion. It’s great, you feel challenged, engaged and really, you spend most of your time at your job. If you have passion in everything it’s so strong. If you have passion in only one thing, well at least you have it. But if you have passion in nothing, then you are stuck with unhappy people who don’t care. People who don’t care, have no attachment. I was in a conversation recently about somebody who we all thought had changed and had become kind of very “non-caring” and acting almost as a jerk. He wasn’t like that years ago and we were wondering what had happened to him. Why did he change? We concluded that he didn’t have a mentor or good counseling to keep his values during his life journey. He had the desire to grow in his job. He had the drive to get promoted. However, he seemed to have lost himself during that journey and we wondered, is that the end? Is the previous person we liked, gone? One of the people in the room said, “Years ago I was just like him. And then I got married and had children and I had people attached to me and that changed my entire perceptive of life: I learned I had to care, that I cannot continue to be the non-caring-about-others jerk that I was. Then he added: “I am not saying getting married and having children is the answer for everyone, but people need attachments.” When you realize what it is that you care about, then you start looking for information about it because now you want to really take good care of it. And then it gets bigger and bigger and it becomes your passion and you create a person within you who would stay there all the time.

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