It seems so easy for some people. For my wife, Judy, it's cooking. Didn't have to search for it, it happened naturally and effortlessly. She loves it and lives it. Fortunately, I have a passion for exercise or I'd be in trouble. The woman can cook!
Gallup recently conducted a poll that indicated only 29% of the American workforce is "actively engaged" in their work. Actively engaged is being excited when Monday rolls around, passionately performing work that is engaging and is aligned with who they are and how they are wired to contribute. In the coaching side of my business I get to work exclusively with folks who want to grow that 29%. We can identify skills and personality traits but when it comes to uncovering passion, well, sometimes clients stuggle. It's not uncommon to hear from someone who says "I've been looking for my passion for years and haven't found it." That is a frustrating, discouraging, and exhausting place to be. So if your search for passion is a pain I want to share a few thoughts that might help.
Lay it down. If you've been birddogging it for a while without success it's high time for a break. You're probably straining. You're certainly not getting anywhere so STOP. If it helps write the word "passion" on a piece of paper and stick it in drawer where you can pick it up later. Let's approach it from a different angle.
What's my ROLE? You know your skills and abilities. You probably know your personality tendencies. Those components are important. What you probably don't know is how that translates into behavior on a team. A 'role' is a person's attraction to one of ten specific organizational needs. You have one or two. Role is not the same as a job. Different roles can perform the same job based on the responsibilities of same. If you are working at a job which aligns with your role you're very likely to fall in that 29% category I mentioned above. I can tell you from experience that identifying and understanding this concept has brought clarity to so many.
Imagine you are a passenger on a plane which crashes on an uncharted island. You are one of ten survivors and the radio is damaged so your group must come together to survive. There is obviously work to be done. Which of these roles best fits you?
-I envision a future and see the big picture beyond myself and our immediate circumstances.
-I'm likely to take the vision and develop the strategy to make it happen.
-I'm going to provide guidance on executing the strategy.
-I'm going to get it done!
-I'm going to make detailed schedules.
-I'm going to create community among us.
-I'm going to solve the tough problems we encounter
-I'm going to preserve knowledge we may need later, if not now.
-I'm going to ensure needs are met.
-I'm going to see what's beyond the treeline.
Some people are passionate about horses, or cooking, or sports. But perhaps the passion we're looking for comes from knowing how we contribute to the organizations (employer, customers, family, church) we serve.
Spend some time on this question of role. Then when you're ready, take that piece of paper out of the drawer and see if the writing has changed a bit.