Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Bringing Your Passion Back To Work

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.

Disclaimer: My blog is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive monthly incentives to share my views on content I find noteworthy and relevant for my audience.

Click here to subscribe to my blog so you can get my latest posts sent directly to your inbox.

19 Comments » | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | April 17, 2012 by |

  1. On April 18th, 2012 at 9:22 AM Christina Damiano said:

    What a great article Tanveer!
    I always strive to be passionate about my work.
    One just hopes that those you are working with/for can capitalize on that passion.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. On April 18th, 2012 at 12:10 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Thanks Christina; I'm glad you enjoyed this piece.

    And you're right that it's important for organizations to recognize and tap into this sense of passion, not only to benefit from this internal drive, but to also create a feedback loop thanks to employees feeling empowered and valued for their contributions.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this piece.

  3. On April 19th, 2012 at 1:45 PM Greg Blencoe said:


    I was listening to a book on CD a few months ago and it basically said that work typically falls into one of three categories for people:

    1. A job;
    2. A career; or
    3. A calling.

    Obviously, the closer you can get to pursuing work that is a calling, the easier it should be to be passionate about it.

    However, I think it's still possible to increase the amount of passion we have for work even if we are just in a job or a career.

    As you mentioned, we can choose certain areas at work where we have more passion.

    Also, I think that leaders and managers can help by reminding employees how their efforts are making people's lives better even if the tasks they are doing are considered to be mundane. We can assign a higher meaning to the work that is being done.

    Thanks also for sharing the creativity article from Entrepreneur magazine. I enjoyed checking it out.

  4. On April 19th, 2012 at 6:00 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. You're absolutely right that one very important way that leaders can make their employees feel passionate about their work is to show them the beneficial impact their work has on others.

    Of course, for it it really take hold in your employees first requires an understanding of what truly matters to them, since we all have different things that would make our work feel valuable and important. Spending time learning more about what matters to your employees will help faciliate that discussion so your message really does take hold because you understand their internal motivation.

    Thanks again, Greg for your insightful comment.

  5. On April 23rd, 2012 at 1:43 PM Ammara Wasim said:

    Hi Tanveer!
    Nice post. You have shared great information. And its true that without passion success is not possible. Thanks.

  6. On April 23rd, 2012 at 2:34 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Thanks Ammara. I think you can be successful without passion. The difference though is that the success might not be as meaningful or fulfilling because it's what others would consider to be a measure of success. It's a point I discuss further in my piece "Do You Have A Meaningful Relationship With Success?". I invite you to check it out.

    Thanks again for your comment, Ammara.

  7. On April 24th, 2012 at 2:33 PM Ammara Wasim said:

    Hi Tanveer!
    First of all I would like to say thanks to you for considering my comment. You are right on your point but my meaning to use word passion is, without your interest you cannot do more. Yes I must check it.

  8. On April 25th, 2012 at 7:43 AM criosamedina said:

    What a nice article on finding your passion. Learned a lot. Appreciate your post. Thanks!

  9. On April 25th, 2012 at 7:52 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    My pleasure; glad to hear you found this piece informative.

  10. On April 30th, 2012 at 1:03 PM @edsiusa said:

    Thanks for the inspiring post! It makes sense that passionate, engaged employees are happier and more fulfilled, which is good for people and good for an organization.

  11. On May 1st, 2012 at 9:51 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Absolutely, and in today's competitive market, it makes little sense for organizations to not tap into this inner drive of their employees to gain an advantage while encouraging a healthier, more fulfilling work environment.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this piece.

  12. On May 1st, 2012 at 12:28 PM Nilanjana Naha said:

    Thanks Tanveer for such a nice post. From here i get positive value/impact. Its very true without passion you cant get that success what you want. May be you get an achievement but not success.If you really want to fulfill your dream, be passion about it.

  13. On May 11th, 2012 at 10:58 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    You're welcome, Nilanjana. Glad you enjoyed it and that it inspired you.

  14. On May 10th, 2012 at 5:11 AM Noreen @ WakaNetwork said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. Passion is a state of mind so the first thing I have to do is to motivate myself because passion is what keeps me alive and I feel so blessed everyday to love my job.

  15. On May 11th, 2012 at 10:59 AM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Absolutely, Noreen. Passion is something we each need to cultivate and grow within ourselves. Glad to hear you're doing work that helps you to do just that.

  16. On May 21st, 2012 at 2:10 PM Mary said:

    Hello Tanveer, It is true that you can make a living without passion . Don't you think there must be even a small measure of passion somewhere else in life to avoid the feeling of being a totally useless person? What about a person who seemingly has no passion for anything?

  17. On May 25th, 2012 at 7:31 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Hi Mary,

    I think it's more a problem of losing touch with what your passionate about than it is a lack of passion. Unfortunately, as we move into adulthood, we're often told that we have to 'grow up' and cast aside those dreams and notions of what we could accomplish for more practical endeavours.

    The reality, though, is that there is something in all of us, a spark which does ignite from time to time when we're giving a particular task or take on a new job which engages our passions. It's in those moments that we can regain a clearer sense of what we're passionate about and what we should shift our efforts towards if we want to feel like what we do matters and creates meaning.

    Thanks for the question, Mary. I hope that answers it for you.

  18. On May 22nd, 2012 at 9:01 AM Matt said:

    Hi Tanveer; Thanks so much for a great blog post. What you say is true; employees who have no passion do end up in a spiral of negative talk and self doubt. I've recently finished a job, which I enjoyed thoroughly for the first four years, but as time wore on I found it a chore to come to work, and didn't perform as well as I could… I had lost my passion for the work. I've recently moved to a new employer which is vibrant, forward thinking and engaging. It's (almost!) a pleasure to come to work now because I'm once again passionate about what I do.

  19. On May 25th, 2012 at 7:27 PM Tanveer Naseer said:

    Glad to hear it, Matt. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences with this.

Your Comment: