Ask me two years ago how important being passionate about your job was and I would’ve told you it’s all that matters.
I’m changing my tune.
We hear the word “passion” tossed around a lot without clear definition and parameters being set. What does it look like?
To have the wrong idea of passion and to chase it with an inaccurate, dirtied image leads to disappointment at the end of the road.
The expectation people have for passion is that you’re fired up every moment of every day and night. You go to sleep and can’t wait to wake up the next day to get back to work. In the morning you jump to get ready to do whatever it is that you’re paid to do.
They picture being engrossed by every minute detail. When people ask, “So, what do you do?” your eyes would widen and your voice squeak a bit as you take in a huge breath so you can go on and on about your work.
It’s often romanticized because of people “selling the dream.” Kind of like how some entrepreneurs push the location independent thing as the ideal lifestyle since you can work from the beach while sipping on your fruity drinks (which, by the way, no one really enjoys for long.)
Like fruity drinks on the beach, the myth of the always passionate worker is a dream they’re selling you. And it may have been what I’ve accidentally sold to myself a while back.
It’s not a bad dream. It sounds great! But it’s not realistic.
What Realistic Passion Feels Like
I’m passionate about my job. I LOVE my company and the people I work with. I get kicks out of what I’m doing and sometimes I actually do fall asleep excited to do this and that the next day.
But I’m not fired up every day and sometimes I just don’t feel like working.
The whole package isn’t always fun. I don’t get my jollies from catching up on emails or occasionally doing non-creative work. It’s the people, the things I get to learn and apply, and the overall mission that makes me passionate.
I’m not always thrilled to write either. Both my job and this website require a good amount of writing.
Sometimes, I don’t want to open up a Word document and stare at an empty page until words appear. Other times, I’m scrambling to jot down three different ideas, rushing to open a new document, and start typing away at 3 million words per minute.
Again, it’s the mission. Wanting to make a positive impact on people definitely warrants motivation… and suddenly writing is fun again.
Actual passionate work is subtle but rewarding. It brings fleeting moments of doubt and dissatisfaction, but those periods make the times where you do feel strongly about your work that much more rewarding.
So maybe we’ve got this whole passion thing wrong. It’s still damn good though.
Occasional Sparks of Passion Trumps Never Having Any
You should really fear being stuck doing work you absolutely hate on a daily basis. If you hate the whole package, the people included, and every day you dread the next then maybe you should start looking elsewhere.
Maybe you should make it your full-time job to find new opportunities that actually interest you.
If you’ve got the right mindset for it, start a business. Hell, one step further, build a business in Southeast Asia.
None of this is easy. No one ever said it was. It’s a hustle and always will be.
Just don’t buy into the dream that you have to be motivated all the time. But enough drive goes a long way.
Some closing advice? Don’t settle.