“Follow your passion” is one of the most widely offered pieces of career advice. But that doesn’t make it the best. While it may be given with the best of intentions, it can end up doing more harm than good.
First, it can take years of searching to find something you are truly passionate about. Second, deep interests and passion can change over time and aren’t necessarily constant. Third, it implies that the path to success and happiness is easy once your passion is identified. Fourth, if you don’t know what your passion is, it can make you feel defective and have you chasing something that won’t necessarily help you. Finally, and most importantly, the instruction completely misses the mark on what passion is and where it comes from.
Passion, true and lasting passion for your career, will come as a result of being dedicated to something, submerging yourself in an area and becoming an expert at it. The act of continually trying to better your professional self and skills will be the seed from which your passion grows.
See for yourself.
Many entrepreneurs weren’t necessarily passionate about the field they entered, but became obsessed with the process of launching a business or solving a problem and, as a result, ended up being passionate about the product itself.
For example, Spanx CEO and founder Sara Blakely never dreamed of being an undergarment creator. What she did do was have an idea and follow it through. That process of experimentation led to being passionate about the creation of products that made women feel better, but it wasn’t a passion for undergarments, or even fashion, that got her there.
So forget everything you’ve heard about following your passion and know that passion will come from making a choice, committing to it and dedicating yourself to continually improving whatever it is you’re doing.
Not sure where to start? Here’s the one question you need to ask yourself. What can I commit to?
Still need help? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us what you’re struggling with. You might be included in an upcoming workshop to help you figure out the next step in your career.