When you head off to work, do you feel passionate about the challenges and opportunities you’re about to face? Looking at the numerous studies that have shown the rise in employee disengagement found in today’s workplaces, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see most of you responding in the negative.
Of course, just to be clear, when I’m talking about being passionate about work, I’m not referring to those sentimentally-driven aspirations we had as children; of those feelings that had us dreaming about being an astronaut, a firefighter, a doctor or a teacher when we grew up.
Rather, I’m talking about that sense of passion that exists in all of us which fuels our drive to be a part of something bigger than our personal aspirations. That part of us which we use to gauge whether our lives matter because we’re making a difference in the world by doing work that has a purpose and meaning
Unfortunately for most of us, it’s this sense of passion that becomes the greatest casualty from the pressures of ‘growing up’ and entering the workforce. If there’s one thing most of us have experienced in those formative years early on in our careers, it’s being told by those more experienced than us that there’s no place for passion and its associated emotions in business or work.
And yet, in light of the evolving nature of today’s workplace, we’re beginning to appreciate just how vital that sense of passion is to our creativity and consequently, our ability to dream up new approaches and innovations to fuel our organization’s growth. Indeed, many of the most celebrated and admired organizations today achieved their successes not through pragmatism, but because their leaders threw open the doors to embracing this sense of passion within their employees.
In so doing, these organizations availed themselves of this internal drive to ponder and consider various possibilities, if not also the self-propelled motivation to press ahead even in the face of various challenges or obstacles that stand in the way of our reaching our shared goals.
Regrettably, most of us are not only dispassionate about the work we do, but we often find ourselves shifting from that internal voice that challenges us to consider a world of endless possibilities to one of negative self-talk and doubt.
By not tapping into what we’re passionate about, we inevitably allow others to define what we do or influence the course we take. And not surprisingly, the end result is our working on something we lack any connection or sense of purpose to and with it, lingering doubts about the value we create.
In light of today’s challenges, we have to remember that it’s our passion that encourages us to not simply check in at work or limit ourselves to only doing what’s on our job description, but to do whatever we can to reach our shared goals, as well as being open to pursuing new opportunities.
So, if passion can fuel the kind of drive and motivation we need to be more successful – and fulfilled – at work, how do we connect with it or even rediscover what we’re truly passionate about?
In the article, “5 Creativity Exercises to Find Your Passion”, you’ll find a number of easy-to-implement strategies that will not only help you to understand what your real passions are, but which will help to inform you of what opportunities and tasks you should be pursuing at work in order to rekindle a sense of meaning and purpose in the contributions you make.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Philosopher and civil rights leader Howard Thurman
The growing reality is that organizations can no longer rely only on the analytical side of their employees, but need to incorporate a more whole-person approach if they are to be competitive and effective in today’s evolving global market.
We need to develop a greater understanding about what we’re passionate about so that we can tap into that internal drive in order to ensure that the contributions we make are not only effective, but meaningful both in terms of our organization’s goals and ourselves.
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