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Follow Your Passion – Just Not Your Work

I would rather die of passion than of boredom.

Vincent Van Gogh


Passion is important in business.

Passion is what drives you and keeps you going despite the difficulties that your business will inevitably come across.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs need to have passion. Whether you’re passionate about selling a product, running a business, or your hobbies, passion must be present.

Passion leads to success.

Passion for Work

A piece of common advice is to pursue work that you’re passionate about. As billionaire investor, Ray Dalio advises in his book Principles, “make your passion and your work the same thing.” Doing so is said to be the path to success.

This is perhaps why a recent study found that young people rank achieving their career passion as their highest priority — above making money or getting married. Finding a fulfilling job was deemed nearly three times more important than having a family by the teenage respondents.

Unfortunately, for many people, this isn’t feasible.

Not every job affords the possibility of pursuing a passion.  According to a recent Deloitte survey of 3,000 full-time U.S. workers, across job levels and industries, only 20% say they are truly passionate about their work.

The reality is, most people care deeply about many different things — not all of which will be how they want to earn a living.

A growing body of research suggests that pursuing your passion does indeed improve your well-being, but that where you do it is far less critical. In fact, several studies show that doing something you are passionate about outside of work benefits both your career and your personal life.

Follow a Passion Outside of Work

Here are several ideas to help you find and follow a passion outside of work.

Think on it.  Reflect on the three things that have been part of your being, since you were a kid. Is it playing the flute, painting in oils, baking macarons for your family? Maybe you’re social and active and have always enjoyed playing on a soccer team. If you no longer partake in the activities or hobbies you’ve enjoyed since childhood, why have you stopped?

Rediscover recess.  Remember being in grade school and having an hour of recess just to run, play, and jump? Why don’t we do that anymore?

Carve out a little time each day or each week for play, be it going for a spontaneous hike in the woods, doing a paint-by-number, or dancing freestyle in your living room. Pencil in your recess time a few days a week to ensure you have your adult version of recess.

Make Your Passion Work for You.  Once you rediscover your passion and realize how important it is, you may find yourself needing to reprioritize your overall schedule.

Working a full-time professional job occupies much of the daytime, so finding a time during the week or weekend when you can incorporate your passion or hobby in a manner that is both enjoyable and sustainable, is critical.

The Bible

The primary problem with having passion only for work is that when you do not have that passion—which will invariably happen—you have nothing.

And if you, like most working adults, do not have a passion for the particular job you have, your career will seem like a failure because our culture’s formula for success says you must have a passion for your work.

Our culture’s formula is wrong.

Instead of having a passion for our work, we need to have a passion for the One who gives us work

Consider Philippians 3:7-8, which says.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

As business leaders and managers of people, we need to personally understand and let those who work with us know that we all need to have passion. 

We need to be passionate about our work, and also be passionate about things in our lives outside of work.  But most importantly, we need to be passionate about the One who gives us these gifts to be passionate about.