The Problem with Passion

I run a company called Careerlove.ca and while I want people to be excited, motivated and have a career that fits their life, I will be the first to admit that I have a problem with the word passion. Every week I meet another person who is struggling with their career. This struggle is made worse by all the noise out there about PASSION PASSION PASSION.

Just find your passion.

I am SO PASSIONATE about what I do.

My PASSION is nutrition. (or coaching or finance or dogs or whatever!)

And my answer to this passion problem is actually a question.

“Can you name 5 things in your life that you are PASSIONATE about?”

Now – for about 10% of people the answer is YES (those people usually aren’t reading these posts!) but for the other 90% of us (me included!) the answer looks more like this:

“I like a lot of things! I love being around people and connecting with people but I don’t know if that is a passion? Should that be a job?”

So here is what I tell people about passion summarized into a few key points:

  • Just because you love doing something doesn’t mean it has to be your career. Just because you enjoy cooking for family and friends does not mean you have to open a restaurant.
  • STARTING with a passion is not necessarily a good business plan or a steady paying job. My example is always poetry – you could love poetry, be great at poetry and you could even publish a book of poems and go on a book tour – but will it pay your rent? Unless you have a trust fund I can’t in good conscience help you move down that path.
  • Passion often DEVELOPS as you build an idea, work in a place where you are able to connect with the goals and missions, do interesting things! The way you make a whole life, full of interesting things is to TRY them. Sit in on a lecture, send that computer game company an email and ask if you can chat with one of their developers, email that Career Coach and ask to book a session to see if being a coach/consultant is all it’s cracked up to be!
  • Lots of people with a singular passion may look good on the outside but other areas of their life suffer. (I am sure you know lots of examples). Have a look at your life and think about the LIFE you want (friends, trips, children). Then you start to realize that HEY! Maybe those passionate people are not actually who I want to be.
  • Life changes. People live longer. Work longer. Expect to have more than one career. Expect your life to change you. Suffering a personal loss, having children, illness (here is my story about how all three of those changed me) and other people will change you. They may change your career. That is ok! That is life. Joy and opportunity and fulfillment.

So to start – don’t start with passion. Start with a piece of paper. Write down what you want from your life. Write down three different ideas for jobs/careers that you think look great and learn more about them! (that doesn’t mean googling them – it means head on out into the world and LEARN about them EXPERIENCE them). You will get to know yourself in the process.

Need help finding your next career? I can help with that. Check out the ways we can work together here

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