99FM – Your Inspiration Station

It’s Never Too Early or Too Late for Passion

“Our interests and tastes are as varied and unique as we are and the only way to discover them is by actually doing and trying.”

Passion is a driver. It helps remove monotony from the workplace and what’s more, it’s a choice to work with passion. Yet, while studies show that a very small percentage of employees around the world are passionate about their jobs, there are few examples of success and influence without passion. Great leaders count their passion as a major driver of their success.

“Passion is found in all sorts of forms. Whatever you do, if you go in with a good attitude and see it as path for learning you will find much more opportunity and happiness than if you go in not inspired every day. But how do you find it?” ask Forbes.

To help us understand passion, and how to use passion to turn work into play and something you enjoy to do, 99FM’s MYD Smart spoke to Namibian Industrial Psychologist, Coen Welsh, who prepared a short guide on passion along with an assessment that you can do now, to help steer you towards more excitement and fulfillment in the workplace.

It’s Never To Early or Too Late for Passion by Coen Welsh

Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. A saying attributed to many people, from Mark Anthony to Confucius. Regardless of who said it, it remains true. The question that many people ask themselves though is: “How do I find my passion?” Unfortunately a simple answer to this question does not exist. If you grew up in the 90’s you would be familiar with the song by Baz Luhrmann, Wear Sunscreen, which has the lyrics, “the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.” In this line is wisdom. Finding your passion does not necessarily have an end-date. Personally I believe that we change and mature and that through different life phases we may have different passions.

There are several ways to find your passion. One way is through an assessment we do at our practice called the Career Motivation Analysis Profile. This is one that we use, there are many more available that all basically do the same thing; point you in the right direction of your passion.

For Capacity Trusts Career Motivation Analysis Profile, click here.

Once you have a basic idea of what area you would like to focus on, there is a suggestion by Angela Duckworth in her book, GRIT, that you then go out and do it. Immerse yourself in the topic, join a dance class or enrol in a foreign language programme. The trick here according to Duckworth you need to commit to the activity until there is a natural break in the programme. In other words, when you lose interest or things get difficult you need to make an agreement with yourself that you won’t quit. The reasoning here is that many things that we find enjoyable and where we find flow, might not actually feel fun at the same time.

The Hungarian psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, describes the state of “flow” where you are immersed in a piece of work or creative activity. This focussed state of consciousness is a very satisfying experience. However it is notable that you are mentally, physically and emotionally engaged when you are in a state of flow. Again, this does not necessarily equate to having fun as such, but that are you sufficiently challenged and where you feel that you have the right mix of resources to meet the challenge.

So coming back to finding your passion, to really pursue and discover your passion you may need to push through some times that are not so nice.

At the same time you also don’t want to continue with an activity that you resent. Therefore Duckworth suggests pursuing an activity until there is a natural break. Furthermore Duckworth suggests trying several varied activities. So one season you may want to play sport and another, join an art class. Our interests and tastes are as varied and unique as we are and the only way to discover them is by actually doing and trying.

Lastly, consider your obituary. I know this sounds a bit morbid, but ask yourself what you want to be remembered for. In his book, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests the idea of starting with the end in mind. He suggests the exercise to write your own eulogy. What will people say about you when you are no longer here? What will they remember you for? Then… pursue those things.

About Coen Welsh

Coen is a qualified Industrial Psychologist with a master’s thesis focusing on the Antecedents and underlying Psychological Conditions predicting Employee Engagement. He is a founding trustee of Capacity Trust. For more from Coen, have a look at the Capacity Trust website by clicking here