Where’s the Passion?

I once heard a story about an employee in a tire store who loved his job. Some people might think fixing and replacing tires all day isn’t much of a job. However, this worker took a different view. He wanted every customer to be totally happy with the work he performed, and even went as far as to put his initials on the tires he put onto his customers’ cars as sort of a signature on his work.

Contrast the passionate tire store employee with any number of people that you meet on a given day that seemed disinterested, stressed, going through the motions and generally lacking enthusiasm for what many people might consider a great job.

What’s the difference?

First, let me emphasize that I believe that organizations and its leaders must accept responsibility for creating and maintaining an environment that encourages employees to be engaged in their work in such a manner that sends the passion meter skyrocketing. If you’re not there, I’ll suggest some things you need to do in my next post. However, equally important in my opinion is for each individual to accept personal responsibility for bringing the maximum amount of passion into their everyday work, regardless of their circumstances.

Here are five passion pointers that can help you move the passion meter higher in your career:

Understand that the grass is never greener on the other side of the fence. It is almost tragic to see people that seem to think their current position is something to hold them over until they get to the next job that will somehow give them higher levels of satisfaction and fulfillment, only to be equally as disillusioned and unhappy once they arrive at the new position. The jobs and the circumstances change. The pay, benefits and working conditions may be better, but the people don’t change. What’s wrong with this picture? I once heard a pastor talking on this subject and he started his sermon by saying, “every job sucks,” (a phrase he obviously learned at seminary school). The point is no job is perfect. There will be problems in the next position and the one after that, which brings us to the next passion point:

Passion doesn’t exist within the job. It exists (or not) within YOU. We can’t control all of the circumstances in our career. However, we CAN control how we relate to those circumstances. Please see my opening story about the tire store employee. His approach can be your approach if you choose.

Passion is an emotion. When you feel a negative emotion start to creep in, make a conscience decision to change that into motivation to improve the situation.

Make note of those things that increase your passion. Take time right now and write down those things about your job about which you feel the most passion. What tasks and people do you enjoy? Keep your list handy. When things go array, shift your focus to those things on your passion list.

Create a passion project. Identify a project that gives you passion. Create and implement a plan to work on that project every day for a month. Keep a notebook about your project, specifying the things that give you enjoyment.

Pursuing passion is a personal preference. Say that five times real fast. Then, make a choice to push your passion meter to the limit.