What is passion? We usually think of romantic passion, like we might see on the movie screen (or experience in our own lives). But it’s way bigger than that. Mr. Webster defines passion as “extreme, compelling emotion; intense emotional drive or excitement; the object of any strong desire or fondness.” I want to focus on two key words here – compelling and emotion. Passions are compelling; they move you forward in an almost irresistable manner. Once discovered, passions are nearly impossible to ignore. Passions also come from inside of you, not from the external world; they make your insides hum and vibrate with excitement and longing. They come from your heart, from your emotions, and not from your head (though they might engage your head). We can have passion for an infinite number of things – people, objects, ideas, processes (like learning or self-development).
Now stop for a moment ….. what are your passions? Don’t continue reading, just stop and reflect and feel your passions. Feel the vibration and humming of your passions. Feel the held-back energy. If you don’t yet know your passions, this is a great topic for journaling and exploring with your coach. How do you feel when you think about or partake in an activity that you’re passionate about? Pretty revved up, I would imagine! Notice how your body feels, how you are so much more excited and motivated when your passion is involved.
Your passion is solid energy, like rocket fuel – it will propel you toward your dreams. What are your passions related to your work? What are your dreams for the world, for your work in the world? What do you yearn for? What do you feel compelled to pursue? For your business to be successful, your passion must be engaged! If you’re not feeling passionate about your work, you’re headed for trouble! Spend some time and energy to discover your passions and how they weave into your work.
One of the reasons small businesses fail is that the entrepreneur is focused on a goal (e.g., “I want to quit my corporate job”) but has not engaged his/her passion. The natural enthusiasm and motivation around the goal will soon be overwhelmed by resentment (“why isn’t it happening faster?”) and gremlins (“I’m not smart enough to start my own business.”) Your passion is like solar power: free, easily accessible, feels good and warm, and is a renewable energy source. Tap into it and use it! You may still have frustrations and gremlins, but your passion will help you whiz by them.
Your passion might be found in an aspect of your niche (like the clients you want to work with) or the impact of your work (changing the world for the better). What is it that gets you excited about your work? When your passion is engaged, the work and activities will flow much easier.
Please don’t confuse passion with goals. A goal might be “I want to make X dollars a year” or “I want to have a more flexible schedule.” You may feel very passionate about these, but they aren’t passions – they are goals, places that want to get to. Passions don’t have a final destination, you can’t “achieve” a passion, but you can achieve a goal. See the difference? Both are vital and they work hand-in-hand! Although you can achieve goals without engaging your passion, it is harder to do. The key is to harness your passions in order to reach your goals. Another term that can get confused with passion is values. Again, they work hand-in-hand but aren’t the same.
Here is a metaphor I use to describe the difference between passion, values, and goals: Imagine that you are in a sleek race car (representing your life or your work) on a track. Although the track has twists and turns and obstacles, you have a good idea of what’s at the finish line – this is your goal. You know that the specifics of the goal might change by the time you get there, but it’s what you are currently aiming for. To get to your goal, the gas tank of your car has been filled with high-test fuel; these are your passions. The fuel only needs to be ignited with the spark plug of inspiration and creativity and you will be speeding toward your goal. In addition, to help you stay on the track, there are curbs along the sides of the roadway. These are your values; they keep you on your desired course. If you jump the curb and start driving on the grass, the ride will be bumpier, slower, and much less comfortable.
All three components – passion, goals, and values – work together to help you achieve a fulfilling life. This is true in our personal lives and our work lives. When work, or life, is feeling hollow and uninteresting, it is probably because you have lost touch with your passions, lost sight of your goals, and/or are driving “on the grass” and not honoring your values.
How does one become more aware of passions? Some are very obvious – look at how you spend your free time, the activities and people that you want to be in your life. Others are deep-seated and may be so much a part of your life that you don’t even consciously recognize them. One way to recognize passion is to observe your energy level. When your energy is high, typically your passions are engaged. Use your energy level as a compass toward your passions. Think back on experiences when you felt really alive and excited. What passions can you find in those experiences? They are there! And, of course, our passions shift and unfold during our entire life, so there are passions that you haven’t even discovered yet!
Fill your tank with the power of passion, and guided by your values you will zoom toward your goals! I totally believe that passion is a key ingredient in business success. Work without passion is just a job. Passion-based businesses are more rewarding, more enjoyable, more successful, and more fun!
As always, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear about your own passions and how they have helped you achieve your goals. Count on me as part of your racing support team! Wishing you a wonderful summer season!
Dorcas Kelley CPCC CMC PCC firstname.lastname@example.org