Hello and welcome back to the Optimize Your Life podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about how to flow in your passion and specifically I have three questions that I have set out to answer today:
- What is passion?
- Why it’s important and how it can become your purpose…and
- Three things for you to focus your passion on in order to live a more fulfilling life.
So let’s just start by defining what passion is all about.
Passion, according to Google, is “showing or caused by strong feelings or a strong belief.” So there’s a lot packed into this very short sentence and I want to unpack this. So the first thing that they are differentiating between are either you show passion through the way that you feel and the way that you’re behaving. So if you’ve ever noticed when you talk to somebody who is very passionate about something, they have that twinkle in their eye and you can just tell by the way that they get excited about what they’re talking about that they’re very passionate. So they’re showing you.
They’re also saying in the definition that passion is something that is caused within you either by a strong feeling or a strong belief. Now we know that beliefs and feelings are very much integrated and so it makes sense that you would have a strong feeling if you had a strong belief or if you had a really positive thought about something and that would create a lot of passion around this idea.
So think about what you’re passionate about and how that becomes evident to others that you’re talking to, how you get lit up as you’re talking about it, and how you feel really strongly and you become very animated about it because of a belief that you might have around this idea.
But why is passion really important in the first place?
Well, if you’ve never heard of Gretchen Rubin, she’s the author of The Happiness Project and I want to share with you what she says because I think it helps for us to think about it from a variety of perspectives. This one is hers. She says:
“A passion gives you a reason to keep learning and to work towards mastery. It can give you a reason to travel and therefore to have the new experiences so key to happiness. It gives you something in common with other people and so fosters social bonds. It gives you purpose. Passion doesn’t just bring happiness to the person who enjoys that passion. It also brings a vicarious pleasure to onlookers.”
So again, there’s a lot packed into this concept that she’s bringing up. And so let’s take a look at this piece by piece.
The first thing that Gretchen talks about is that passion gives you something that…let’s just call it motivation. When you’re really passionate about something, it doesn’t really take a lot of arm-twisting to get you to work on it. So let’s say you’re really passionate about playing guitar, you’re going to keep coming back to the practice and by doing so you’re going to build mastery around that. And that’s one thing that is true whether it’s passion outside of work or passion in your work. The more passionate you fee,l the more excited you are to engage in that activity, the quicker you’re going to build master way around it.
The next thing she talks about is how when you’re passionate about something, you can build new experiences in your life because it takes you in all kinds of new directions and part of being happy, according to Gretchen, is that you have these new experiences. Curiosity is something that takes you and builds up all these new avenues in your life. Perhaps you’re traveling, perhaps you’re meeting new people. It is something that gets you out there and just fills your life more. So not only are you maybe traveling and having both kinds of experiences, she talks about how it builds social bonds with other people.
And the other piece that I love is that, as we said in the beginning, when you’re passionate it not only is evident to you, but it’s evident to others around you. And I’ve often talked to people about things that I was really passionate about and it’s really nice to hear the feedback when they say, “I can tell you’re really excited about this idea,” or that “You really lit up when you talked about that”. And one of the things that I can tell you is that emotions are contagious. So notice that whenever you talk to somebody who feels really passionate about an idea, that can rub off on you. You might walk away feeling really excited as well even though it’s not something that you’re passionate about. The reverse is also true, of course, when you’re talking about something and you’re the opposite of passionate. You’re completely burned out and you kind of have no fire within you. Then that’s also evident when you’re talking to other people.
So Gretchen talks about all these different aspects of passion which helps us understand why it’s important.
Now I want to share with you some quotes from my book, The 7E Solution to Burnout, because I also talk about passion in there, which I think is actually very central to burnout itself. And so we’re trying to understand how to be really optimal in the workplace, you really have to take into consideration where passion comes in.
“If you are doing your best without passion, you might find that no matter how hard you try, your environment slows you down. Working with the wrong mindset can wreak havoc on your inner resources and lead you to burn out.”
So let’s take a pause right there and think about how you might need to renew your sense of purpose if you don’t feel a sense of passion in whatever you are doing right now. If it is pertaining to your work, think about what got you into that work situation in the first place. Perhaps you had some sense of purpose in doing this work a while back and after the course of some time, you’ve lost sight of that. And so, is there something that you can get reconnected to in terms of how the work that you’re doing has meaning, how it helps other people, how you are helping your team or the company meet their mission and help others in the world. So think about different ways in which the work that you’re doing can perhaps have more purpose and that can help you have more passion about it.
Here’s another quote for my book:
“Passionate people may destroy their relationships or physically pass out from emotional exhaustion but not burn out the way a frazzled worker might. When you are not clicking with your role, when you feel overloaded, and when your duties are not aligned with your expectations or values, it is not merely the stress that gets to you, but you will experience a perspective shift. You will feel like you cannot make progress, and consequently disengage and become cynical and pessimistic over time.”
The point here is that passion is something that helps us prevent burnout. Oftentimes I hear people say that the reason they’re burned out is because they’re just working so many hours, but the truth of the matter is, and I can share this from my personal experience, is that when you’re really passionate about something, you can work a lot and not feel burned out. And I know because I work a lot of hours in my business and I just love it. I spend all my extra time right now in this moment focusing on aspects of my business that I can reach out to people through my podcasts, through my programs, through free resources. It gives me so much joy. And I know that if I was working in a job where I wasn’t excited about the work, there is no way that I would put in all this extra time. And if I did have to do it because of the demands of the job, I would absolutely burnout.
As we’re talking here about passion, I also want to share a couple of interesting quotes that I found. I often quote Albert Einstein because I just love the way that he thinks. And so he has his very short and poignant quote about passion. He says:
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
And there’s so much behind this quote that I just absolutely love it and that’s because I think curiosity is key in expanding your passion. If you feel kind of stuck where you aren’t really feeling connected to the work that you’re doing or something outside of work that you’re doing, then I think the key here is really to be curious and to open yourself up to some new experiences. And the more you can open yourself up, the sooner you’re going to find something that does fit, that you are passionate about.
Another code is by Nicholas Sparks from Dear John, and he says:
“The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.”
Now I often talk about compassion and I think that it’s kind of an interesting concept when you think about it. When you break up the word — “com” and “passion” really means “with passion” and I think that when you are compassionate with yourself, you are gentler and you might approach yourself with passion which brings me to the third point that I wanted to share with you today: three things for you to focus your passion on to really have a more fulfilling life.
The first is your family. As we know, our connection to people that we love is so incredibly important. And I want to just underline this: that family is whatever you make it to be. It doesn’t have to be your biological family, but sometimes your friends can be your family. It’s the people around you that you are so passionate about that you would do anything for and that you want to spend your free time with because it just fills you with joy.
The second area to really focus on when it comes to passion is your career. And I think this is self-evident but when you have passion in your career because you spend more time working than you do really anything else in your life, it brings so much to your life. If you’re going to be spending all this time working, you might as well do something with your time, with your energy, and with your focus that fills you with a sense of purpose. And that’s why it’s so important for you to focus in on having passion in your work.
And finally, having passion about yourself. When you’re passionate about yourself, you are excited to spend time with yourself, to do things for yourself and from that place you become more whole. You have more to give to others both in your work and in your family and friends. You are enjoying your existence and you live life as fully as possible. And so what’s that I want to share with you a resource that can really hope you take this concept to the next level.
I put together a comprehensive guide that you can follow to help you effectively reorganize how you engage with your work and in your life so that you can remain vibrant, passionate, and thrive. And what I’m referring to here is my book, The 7E Solution to Burnout: Transforming High Achievers from Exhausted to Extraordinary. If you have not picked up your copy yet, it is available to you on amazon.com and you can also learn more information about this book on its website www.7esolution.com
I have put so much into this to really help you have a step-by-step guide for finding your passion and so much more. It’s all the ways in which you can really turn your life around from a place of burnout to a place filled with energy. So get your copy today. I’ll talk to you next time. Take care.