What is Your Passion?

by - September 26, 2017

This past weekend I celebrated my 5-year college reunion. The weekend was filled with various activities and things were kicked off with a networking event. Things were going well, I was able to meet new people and catch up with old acquaintances. While there I spoke with someone who I believe was from my graduating class. He asked me two questions that at first glance would seem simple, "what do you do?"  and "do you like what you do?". Standard things to ask while networking. Typically I give pretty generic responses. "Yeah, I work in HR yadda yadda yadda,.. and yes, I like what I do fine, I do this and that... but this weekend I gave a more honest answer.

After mentioning my career field I said, "I like what I do some days." What made me answer in this way? I don't know. Folks say that alcohol encourages truth-telling, well maybe. I only had a few sips of wine, but maybe it was just enough to open up in a small way to someone I barely knew. The question that came from him next really got to me. Since the question was asked, I have been thinking about how to answer it. That question was, "what are you passionate about?" I answered, "well, I really like managing this program"... No, he says. "What are you passionate about?" "Well, if I could go into any field of work I would become a ..." No, that's not what I asked. Not work. What are you passionate about. What do you like doing? Well, I like to travel.... OK, at least I answered. And yes, I do like travel... Is that my passion though, probably not. However, it was something that I like and it has been on my mind lately. We exchanged a few other words and I was let off the hook, at least in that moment. Three days later that is still lingering with me.



I cannot say today that I know what my passion is. And when I take a step back and think about it, I'm not completely sure what passion really is. Passion. Saying the word out loud makes me think that I am going to start talking about some romantic encounter. (Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, there would be nothing to say there either). (LBVS)

Webster Dictionary defines passion as the following (removing biblical and romantic references):

a : intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction

    • with enough passion to make a great poet —W. B. Yeats

b : a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept 
    • a passion for chess 
    • a passion for opera
c : an object of desire or deep interest

Intense emotion, compelling action... deep interest, strong liking or desire... All of these are strong words.

I ask myself, 'what am I deeply interested in?' A few things. In the past couple of months, I've been distracted, however. With the stressful demands of work, drama, and politics, I feel I have gotten away from spending time on the things I enjoy and care about. I enjoy Yoga and Piyo, studying languages and cultures, watching action flicks, and motivating and uplifting others. Can I say that my hobbies are my passions? I like these things, but I'm not sure that I can say that I spend hours in a week thinking about them, working on them, etc. I can't say that these things are the objects of my desire or the reason I wake up in the morning. Honestly, the main reason I get up and to the office is that I know that I need to, not because I am very excited to do this or that when I arrive to work.

So is there something wrong with me? Am I doomed to live a passionless life? Well if there's one thing I know it is that you must spend time on the things you want. I am going to commit time to finding my passion. The next 30 days, I will be on a quest to find what my passion is. If you don't know what your passion is, I welcome you to join me.

Sincerely,
Jess

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