I am an entrepreneur. My work is a major part of my life, and I love what I do. That being the case, I would never employ anyone not passionate about the work they would be doing. Also, I am certain that neither my clients, nor anyone hiring for professional services, would engage a consultant that is not passionate about what they do. Why not? Well, a person that is really into what they are doing is more likely to stay on top of trends in that area (the world changes every second), to perform their tasks with joy (morale is key!), and to take pride in the outcome of their work, while bringing positive energy to the process and motivating their co-workers.
What is passion anyway?
Even though everyone has heard the word and has an idea about what it means, there are different views of how it is perceived in reality. In my work with personal development and personal branding, I define passion as an emotional state in which
1. A higher energy level is reached and
2. You feel that you are doing something truly meaningful for yourself and for your self-realization.
Many people find that when they are truly passionate about the task they are performing, they enter into a state of “flow” (check out the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience for more on how to find your state of flow). When you are in the state of flow, your emotions are positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand.
The higher energy level itself could be the definition of passion, but it does not represent the factor of time. To keep the energy level elevated, the second part of the definition must hold true. Otherwise, it is likely that a rapid burnout will occur. Your task could be something meaningful for you, perhaps relating to your family or friends. However, it is also important to be able to maintain this flow state in other situations. To maximize self-realization, try finding flow in areas such as your work, your hobbies, and the activities you engage in to grow as a person. It may not be easy, but it is certainly worthwhile.
Can you learn to be passionate?
Most would say that passion is something that cannot be learned, and that it is connected to the intrinsic values of a person. I agree that one’s values may not be easy to change, but I also believe that one can learn to find passion in most situations. It could entail new ways of looking at your current work, identifying aspects that actually tap into your passion areas or tweaking your workday to suit your values and beliefs better. You may not know it, but your passion could be hiding right in front of your eyes. If you don’t see it yet, keep looking! Nobody likes filing papers, but think about why you’re doing it. What’s the end goal? If that doesn’t motivate you, maybe you aren’t in the right place.
One of the best ways to build your brand is to work with your passion; identify that passion, and work to find clever and creative ways to incorporate it into your daily tasks, however boring they may seem on the surface.
Next week I will write about HOW TO: Reach you potential by working with your passion.
Ola Rynge is an entrepreneur with a passion for the personal development side of personal branding (covered in this blog) as well as the application of personal branding and social media for entrepreneurs and small businesses (covered in The Rynge Blog).
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