Passion: pas·sion / paSHən
(n): a strong and barely controllable emotion
There’s one item in life we all have the same access to and no ability to acquire or create more of: time. Our clocks are all counting down at the same pace to that fateful day when the lights fade and our ride will be complete. Ensuring we work towards architecting as many fulfilling days as possible should be paramount during this relatively short journey. Discovering, cultivating and living our passion is central to a complete life experience. But where does one’s passion come from and how do we find it?
When we think of people who seem to effortlessly excel at their craft, it tends to look like magic. It’s as if they woke up one day, a genie popped out of a bottle and laid their purpose out for them, setting their enviable existence in motion. They radiate positivity, are clear of their passion, consciously shape and practice it. It seems to guide their path and define who they are. But magic wasn’t involved. They likely wandered life’s wilderness confused without a compass at times. Tried and failed at various endeavors. But at one junction made the unnerving decision to focus on an unclear, burning itch within. They grabbed passion’s reins, accepted its calling, began cultivating and never looked back. We should too.
- Going to bed excited for tomorrow
- Waking up and being intrigued about the day ahead
- Your work day flying by as if it wasn’t work at all
- The lines between your work and personal life blurring due to loving it all
- Knowing you are continually learning, evolving and improving
- Enjoying a deep sense of purpose a high percentage of the time
- It’s possible
To gain insight about how one identifies and cultivates their passion, I chatted with San Francisco Bay area resident Steve Boyett. He’s plied his trade as a science fiction writer, Hollywood script writer, martial-arts instructor, advertising copywriter, writing teacher, website designer, editor, composer, and DJ, who has played Burning Man, and produces the top-rated mixed electronic music podcasts Podrunner and Groovelectric, which I’ve enjoyed for many years.
Listen to our conversation, where Steve shares the twists and turns his life took enroute to finding his passion, cultivating it, and the resulting joy it’s brought not only him, but others around the world.
Notable quotes from the conversation:
- “Don’t be a fan of anything you do. Meet the people who do the thing you love.”
- “Perfect is the enemy of good.”
- “That engine will find an outlet somehow.”
- “I do it for my dojo.”
- “Enjoy a hobby in itself. You don’t have to do anything with it.”
- “Enjoy the satisfaction of the thing. You can weigh it down with expectation.”
- “Try many things. Some will speak to you. Follow those. Learn more about a thing. It can cause you to follow something else.”
- Steve’s Website
- Steve’s Wikipedia page
- Sander Kleinenberg
- Fatboy Slim’s – Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars
- Tangerine Dream
- Brian Eno
So after our conversation, it was time to identify what passion has guided my life. Surprisingly it took a bit of time (and a few beers) to identify. Travel has dominated much of my professional journey, but I’ve also been paid to write, lead executive development sessions, worked with HR teams, served as a bartender, DJ, waiter and even repaired roller skates. But introspection eventually led to the answer: ‘Experience’. Be it sharing the most authentic curbside meal in Bangkok with travelers, leading a training program that inspires and delivers on all levels, or ensuring a night’s mix of songs brought everyone in the room to a peak, experience was at the heart of them all. Crafting experiences that deliver maximum value at all levels, for all stakeholders is what I live for. It’s easy to get up each day for that.
A Passion Exercise
Looking to begin the journey of surfacing your passion? Grab a piece of paper, pen and give this a try:
- Quickly list things that excite you and ‘light your fire’.
- When you think of being happiest you are doing?
- List things you enjoy hearing/reading/watching/learning.
- List a few books/movies/albums that really resonate and put a smile on your face.
- What things are you very knowledgeable about?
- What would close family and friends say you’re good at?
- List down your core values.
- What do you hope to do and learn about at some point?
- Circle items that appear multiple times.
- Draw lines between items on the list to see where they intersect.
- Underline or highlight 3-5 items that excite you most.
- Imagine who does these things. What is that practice called?
- Look for some people/organizations that do those things; then ask friends for a contact who does that and for an introduction. Or search online, reach out and ask them to chat and share their story.
- Make a list of all the jobs / situations that allow people to practice the items you’ve noted as most interesting.
- Talk to more people who do that / read about it / imagine how someone (you) could start doing that – list the steps, don’t worry how feasible it is at this point.
- Start reading about these items.
- List the additional skills you’ll need to acquire successfully practice these items.
- Find ways to practice a small element of these in other areas of your current personal and professional life – see where that takes you.
- Start practicing: make a schedule of when you’ll start trying one of these items, for how long, make it achievable, yet a slight stretch at the same time and go to it.
- Check in with yourself weekly, tell a friend about what you’re doing, then after a couple months revisit what you’ve been doing to take stock of how it’s gone and form a next-level plan.
- Repeat the process if it peeters out…
Go Further: Places to Start Cultivating