We’ve all heard it a thousand times: “If you want to be happy in life, follow your passion.” But is that true?
Let’s take a closer look. The word ‘passion’ comes from the Latin-rooted word pati, which means to suffer. So when someone tells you to follow your passion, they’re actually saying you should do something that you’re willing to suffer for.
In today’s entrepreneurial landscape, the word passion has been hijacked and saddled with a new meaning tied to a financial outcome. But passion has nothing to do with earning a 10x return or building a seven-figure business.
Here’s the question to ask yourself to see if you’re passionate about what you’re doing: “Am I willing to put in the work and never see the fruit?” If the answer is no, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not your passion.
Another reason people feel excited about following their passion is that their potential is not being realized at work. A Gallup study revealed that 85% of employees are not engaged, and it’s costing us $7 trillion annually in lost productivity. And an estimated 37% of Americans have a side hustle, which is a chance for them to make extra money but also pursue something they’re more passionate about than their jobs.
Adding to that, about half of new businesses fail to make it past the five-year mark. If passion is tied to achieving a certain financial outcome and your business is one of the ones that fail, your self-worth will take a big hit.
So, let me suggest that you find your worth before you find your why.
In order to see yourself as worthy, you need to answer the question, who am I? Here are three ways I recommend doing that:
- Do something that challenges you physically and mentally. For me, that was CrossFit because it required my full focus, attention, and awareness. As a result of successfully completing those challenging workouts, I discovered new neural pathways that fired off all kinds of creativity.
- Make time for reflection and visualization, preferably shortly after you’ve completed the physically demanding activity.
- Create “I am” statements. The great Lou Holtz once told me that the most important word in the English vocabulary is the word choice. The next two most important words are ‘I’ and ‘am.’
About a decade ago, I was nearly broke. We had to short-sell our first home and I was diagnosed with postpartum depression after the birth of our fourth child. In every way, I saw myself as a failure. As I worked through this process, I discovered new things about myself. I rebuilt my sense of self-worth. I found a new Why, which turned out to be helping people find the truth that dwells within them. Instead of focusing on outcome, I am focused on using my gifts to help as many people as I can, and I’m willing to suffer for that.
Lastly, I’d like to talk about the power of reflection. Go back in time and shine a light on the challenges that you’ve experienced in your life. Insert hope there and carry that forward into tomorrow.
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