by David B. Bohl
Productivity seems to be the Holy Grail of the twenty-first century. We spend tons of money, and even more time, on things like effectiveness training, time management, planners, goal setting instruction, and general productivity tips.
And many of us pour all that time and money into careers that don’t really matter to us. The results, not surprisingly, are disappointing, because we’re trying infuse our work with energy and effectiveness, and those things don’t come from outside. They can’t be infused if there’s no passion, no purpose.
You absolutely cannot be truly effective, and in turn truly successful, without being passionate about what you’re doing. And passion is not something you can invent. It’s something you have to discover.
So how do you discover this passion? Where do you find your deepest, truest love and purpose?
The first thing to realize is that discovering your passion is a process, not an event. You’re not going to sit down at your desk and get up five minutes later with your passion and purpose all written out on a post-it note.
Your vision of your life will change over time, and you will become more steeped in your passion and your purpose.
But the beginning of the journey is establishing a vision. Think about your life in the future, a year or three years from now.
Try envisioning yourself at an awards dinner, with you as the guest of honor. What would you be receiving an award for? Who would be giving it to you?
These are two exercises that may help you find your passion, but chances are you already know what your passion is; you just don’t know you know.
- Think about the last time you stayed up until 3 a.m. talking to someone. What were you talking about?
- What one thing that you do, would you do for free, if no one was willing to pay you?
- If you’re a reader, what have the last ten books you really enjoyed been about?
- What do you believe?
- What do you love to do?
- What would you be doing if you could do anything you wanted?
Finding our passion and our purpose in life is rarely as hard as we think it will be, but it is made harder by believing that our passion, and our purpose, have to be related to what we already do, or that we’re not “allowed” to have a passion or purpose in certain areas because of some limitation.
Before you spend any more time on effectiveness, why not take a little time to evaluate your passion and purpose? As noted author Stephen R. Covey has pointed out, it really doesn’t matter how fast you climb the ladder if it’s against the wrong wall.
To get started finding your passion and purpose:
- Name three things you have always loved doing, no matter what they are.
- Think about your career in terms of things you love doing. How closely do they overlap?
- Imagine two careers you would embark on if you could start a new career today.