Light Your Professional Fire (Just Don’t Call It Passion)









A few weeks ago I wrote a post about following your career passion – Work to Live or Live to Work. I came out on the side of following your passion with pragmatism. In other words, finding a way to feed your passion where there is a market (some $$$) vs. following a passion with myopia (not being flexible enough to pivot your passion to find a market).

A lot of people think “follow your passion” is bad advice. I think it just comes down to how you define “passion”. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that career passion is the same passion that drives great love affairs a la Anthony and Cleopatra) or passionate acts of heroism (e.g. William Wallace).

Career passion is more about having a passion for making your work worthwhile – so that you are excited to do everyday (or most days!) It is about work that taps into values that you care deeply about. It is the difference between being excited to dig into a project and challenge yourself vs. dreading the challenges in front of you. It is where your passion for learning meets your passion for living. When you find that it provides great benefits both personally and professionally.

This ties back to my philosophy to follow your energy. Because when you get energy from your work –when you are not “drained” by your work– you have energy left over to give to the rest of your life. It means you can pack a lot more in and not feel like you are sacrificing “work life” balance. Work and life aren’t at cross purposes… they can even blend together fluidly. It doesn’t mean you have to go live with your co-workers and live eat work 24/7.

In my Levo League Office Hours talk I speak about connecting your strengths to places where they are valued. Nothing is worse than feeling your talents are not being valued. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are a failure- it just may mean you are in the wrong place. That is an energy drain. Listen to what your strengths are and what the blockages are…then research where those can be applied. To find your passion, look for what energizes you. Then follow that and build on the skills and strengths that feed the energy. Take classes. Talk to people who have the job you want. Feed that passion with learning. It will light your professional fire.

Did you find a career “passion? Tell us how. Do you have a different take on this? Let us know!!

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