Why Passion Matters (and How to Cultivate It In Your Life)
“Passion” is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit in the realms of career and calling. HR managers want to hire people with passion, and so employees try to appear passionate even when they aren’t. In fact, many employees don’t actually understand why passion is important or how they can develop it in their own work lives.However, the HR managers are truly onto something.
Passion is an X factor, something that you can’t always touch or see or understand, but that gives those who have it an edge over other employees. What we know is… HR is looking for passion, whether recruiting or promoting people from within. So, do you have it? It’s not, though, something you can fake (at least, not for very long). Therefore, it’s important to understand the edge passion gives you, and then to develop it in relation to your own field.
The word passion has many meanings and is often confused by the job seeker with “excitement” or “positive attitude”. Nope, it’s not that. Before we proceed, let’s define “passion” in the workplace. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, here are the two descriptions that fit our understanding of passion in the context of a job seeker and potential employer:
For HR and hiring managers, passion is that sense of conviction, dedication and steadfast action, even when it gets tough.
Passion Keeps You Going
Everybody gets tired, and every job has stagnant periods or times when you feel like you’re treading water instead of moving forward. If you’re not passionate about what you do, you’ll be likely to give up or get burnt out when these times come along.
On the other hand, if you have passion for what you do, you’ll be motivated to move forward, no matter what the present circumstances are. When things are slow, when people are questioning your actions or your motives, or when you’re having to go back to the drawing board, you’ll still have the get-up-and-go to jump out of bed in the morning, excited about your day and about finding a way to make things happen.
Passion Gives You Perspective
Every job has its boring parts. Even the most scintillating careers have parts that people don’t like. Depending on the employee, everything from paperwork to giving presentations to travelling to conferences can seem boring, intimidating, or like a waste of time.
However, when you have passion for what you do, you can see the larger picture. Passion allows you to grasp this bigger perspective, so you know how the tasks you don’t like fit into the overall job that you love. When you can see how things fit together, you can find the motivation to do the parts you don’t like, because you’ll know they’re essential to the whole.
Passion Keeps the Faith
In a world where everyone has an opinion, it’s easy to become disillusioned and frustrated when people don’t see the value of what you’re doing. Since there will always be different perspectives, it’s easy to lose yours when you’re faced with a lot of varied opinions.
When you have passion, though, your forward motion will be relentless, regardless of what others have to say. You’ll see the value of your vision and nothing will persuade you that it isn’t worth following, no matter what. The thought that your project is worthless will never enter your mind, because it’s worth will be engraved so deeply into who you are.
Tips for Developing Passion
Now that you understand the edge passion gives you, it’s time to start recognizing and inviting it into your work life. Here are some thoughts as you get started.
1. Passion isn’t a feeling. How you feel about your work will change based on how much sleep you get and how things are going at work. Passion, on the other hand, will keep you going even when you feel like crap. Finding your passion is the first thing you must do.
2. Knowledge feeds passion. While knowing more about what you do won’t develop passion on its own, it will provide the fertile ground for passion to grow. Developing as an employee, then, will open the door for developing passion as well.
3. Don’t look at tasks. Because all jobs have tasks that will bore or frustrate you, looking at the tasks you like won’t necessarily direct you to your passion. In fact, you might miss places where you’re passionate about your job because they involve tasks you don’t necessarily enjoy.
4. Look at the bigger picture. What do you value most in life? How would you help people or make their lives better, if you could do anything? Questions like this will help you find your passion better than looking at tasks will. Once you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to figure out how your job permits you do to these things that are most important to you.
5. Find where your job intersects with what you love. For some, this search is harder than it is for others, and some jobs intersect in fewer places than others. However, it’s nearly always possible to find places where your work-related tasks mean something to you on a deeper level. This is where passion will grow.