• How to live a meaningful life: Career passion part 1 – What is passion?

    October 16, 2017 | curtrosengren
  • passion

    A career that energizes and engages you can bring a powerful sense of meaning to your life. Sadly, it’s only a small percentage of people out there who love their work.

    Why is that? I’m convinced that part of it is that people have an unnecessarily small picture of what finding passion in their career even looks like.

    [Back to the How to Live a Meaningful Life main page.]

    There’s a tendency to think of career passion in rock star terms. It’s an all or nothing way of thinking that has us creating a false dichotomy between the dream job path and the grind.

    For many years, my coaching work was focused primarily on career passion. Since 2001, I have been using this simple definition of passion to help people create careers they love:

    Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do.

    That’s it. Simple. Nothing mysterious – or even vaguely out of reach – about it. It’s just doing the kinds of things, in the kinds of ways, for the kinds of reasons, etc. that leave you feeling naturally energized.

    Put even more simply, it’s work that aligns with who you are.

    Finding your riverbed

    I like to use the analogy of water moving from one place to another. Imagine two scenarios. In the first, you’re trying to get water up and over a mountain. You build a pipeline and continually expend fuel to power a pump to keep the water moving.

    While it’s possible to do that, it also takes a lot of work. And at the end of the day, if it’s not replenished, that pump winds up running on empty (which, not coincidentally, is how many people feel about their work).Unfortunately, that’s precisely how many people spend their careers – digging into their energy reserves to make something happen that doesn’t come naturally.

    Contrast that to water flowing along a riverbed. Not only do you not have to power its movement, the water actually gets energy from the path it’s taking.

    Bringing more of YOU into what you do is like finding and following your own personal riverbed. When what you do and who you are is aligned, you feel energized by it. Not only do you not have to dig into your reserves to get through the end of the day, doing the work actually generates energy.

    A parting thought

    I’m a bit of a broken record in saying this, but everything starts with awareness. When you understand what the underlying themes are that tend to be there when you’re on fire, you can more purposefully, intentionally bring more opportunities into your career to experience them.

    In part 2 of this post, I will be diving deeper into how to identify your energizers – those underlying reasons why you love what you love – so you can use them to guide your career towards passion.

    How to live a meaningful life: Career passion 2 – Identifying your energizers

    How to live a meaningful life: Career passion 3 – Creating your passion path

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