Spend any time at all in the career space and you’re bound to come across the word ‘passion’. Most people want it. Lots of people encourage it. And at times I sort of hate it. Here’s why.
Emphasizing passion negates the importance of effort.
I’m totally cool with lining your career up with your interests and strengths and dreams.
What bothers me is the idea that this alone is enough. I frequently hear people saying, “I want to find my passion.” But I’ve never heard anyone add the following, “And I want to put in consistent effort, day in and day out, on developing this career path, even when it’s not so fun.”
Yes, it’s important to feel motivated to do the work that you set out to do, but I think the success of your career rests more on your persistence than your passion.
Passion implies constant excitement and enthusiasm.
A runner may have a passion for running. But are they feeling excitement and enthusiasm during each and every minute of a marathon? I think not.
Careers are like marathons, only much, much longer. There will be moments where you celebrate lovely achievements and days when you’d rather stay in bed. There will be things you bump up against that scare you and there will be times when you fail.
Hopefully more mornings than not you greet your workday with satisfaction, but it would surprise me if every day was full of passionate enthusiasm.
To conclude, one word could never be enough to sum up a satisfying work life. Sometimes we use ‘passion’ as a shorthand, but in doing so we leave out some important pieces of what a fulfilling career actually entails.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on ‘passion’. Do you find it to be a helpful framework or a bit lacking? Share a comment below!
Ah, this definitely strikes a chord with me! As a musician, I’ve heard the importance of following your dream/passion. I sometimes doubt myself more than I should, and maybe it’s because I think the “right” career would offer me perpetual enthusiasm. I think you’re absolutely right- regardless of the field, there will simply be parts of the work you won’t like. Sometimes we just have to put our nose to the grindstone and get on with it. Thank you for the great article!
Great addition- thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Tim! I’m glad the article was helpful to you.
This is a constant topic of conversation for many of my recent college grad friends. I think for much of my undergrad career I focused solely on finding my “passions” and discounted careers when I found a downside to it. But yes, every single career will have downsides! I like how you’ve pointed out that we can have careers that are mostly satisfying without every single day being full of enthusiasm and pizzazz. It’s much more realistic, and something that will actually encourage moving forward rather than waiting around for the perfect career to come along. So thank you for this perspective 🙂
You’re so welcome Sheila. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!
The word passion has been saturated, and over used to describe selected paths of economic fulfillment. In the world of business ownership, I hear the word as a lack of expression to say what needs to be said, like a blanketing effect.
What is more efficient is saying to seek a path worth pain and pleasure. Passion implies a fairy tale which doesnt exist. All in all. Thanks for exposing this problem
Ohh, love what you wrote: ‘a path worth pain and pleasure’. Yes. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment JB!