As a leadership coach, passion is a word I hear often in my conversations with clients. It shows up in in all sorts of ways, but most often sounds something like “I have no idea what I want to do with my life, and I need someone to help me find my passion.” After working with dozens of young professionals in the non-profit world, I’ve found that there are three big myths that keep them from feeling fulfilled and happy in their careers.
Myth #1: Passion is something you do.
Passion has been sold to us as something we’re supposed to “do.” When that action isn’t apparent, you might get caught up in a trap and believe that until it is, you won’t be able to make your mark and find career happiness.
Let’s take a look at the definition of passion from Merriam Webster: “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something.” So, if passion is just another word for excitement, then the truth is it’s something that you already have right now.
Myth #2: Passion is something that has to be found.
We now know that passion is a feeling and not an action we take. The most incredible thing about this is that feelings already exist in us. Perhaps passion doesn’t need to be found, just rediscovered.
Need some help? Ask yourself these questions:
- What were you doing the last time you lost track of time?
- What story could you tell about an event in your life that captures who you truly are?
- If you didn’t have to tell anyone what you did or how you earned money, how would you choose to spend your time?
Myth #3: Passions are big bold, world-changing dreams.
The truth is, passion comes in all shapes and sizes. I find that many of us believe that passions have be over the top. Yes, most of us are passionate about real and raw social issues. But when we believe that our passion is only acceptable if it’s grand, then it’s easy to see how we could be overwhelmed and feel like what we care about is too insignificant or not big enough.
But since passion is just another word for excitement, then there are a million different things we can feel that way about. We are not limited to just one! I am passionate about gender inequality. I’m passionate about helping people. I am also passionate about rescue pups, coffee, and creating vision boards on Pinterest. All of these things make me who I am, and once you know who you are, it makes what you “do” the easy part.
As Oprah once said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” How would your world change if you took Oprah’s advice and trusted that what excites you is enough and there is no greater passion to be found?