I love my work. I feel amazing passion about the projects that I take on and the causes I support. If they weren’t paying me to do this stuff, I’d do it for free. (And often I do give it away for free) I realize I am an extreme case, but today I am making a case for why you need to love your work too.
The simple fact is that when we love what we do for a living, we do it better…and we enjoy the ride much more. Here’s the sad truth about our work lives: The average person spends more than 100,000 hours of their lives at work. That’s a lot of drudgery and misery if you don’t love what you do for a living. Passion can mean the difference between spending that working eternity in heaven or in hell. I choose heaven.
Critical to Creatives
The Passion Principle applies to anyone who works, but I think it’s even more critical to those of us who create for a living. Passion is a very positive form of energy. It’s the human heart’s equivalent to nuclear power. Nobody needs more high juice energy than the people whose job it is to create blindingly original work on a daily basis.
Let’s face it, it’s exhausting living outside the box. We expend a lot of juice to get there and even more to explore the alien terrain. If you don’t also find it wonderful and thrilling, it’s tough to maintain the energy and enthusiasm needed to step out there every day.
Burnout is so common in creative fields that it is almost a cliché. The dynamics are simple: Burnout is what happens when the amount of energy we expend is more than the energy we generate. Passion is the key to bumping up the positive side of that equation; it’s a perpetual energy generator. A good friend once told me that the cure for burnout is not rest, it is whole heartedness. We don’t overcome burnout by finding a quiet place and lying down. We overcome it by finding something we can be passionate about.
Passionate people have guts. Of course there are exceptions, but so many of the passionate creatives with whom I work are more willing to take risks and more willing to put their reputations on the line for the issues and projects about which they are passionate. The role of passion is legendary in courageous endeavors. Would Charles Lindberg have had the courage to traverse the Atlantic had he not been passionate about proving that it was possible? Would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have had the courage to vigorously promote his cause against all history and all odds had he not felt passionately about human rights? Passion is an essential ingredient. These are but two of thousands of examples of how passion has the power to build a bridge over our fears and take us places we might not otherwise have the courage to travel.
Passion gives us the stamina and the persistent energy to overcome long term challenges and obstacles. Some of the most amazing accomplishments of mankind would never have occurred if not for the fuel of deep and abiding passion.
The modern light bulb would never have been fully realized had Edison not been passionate enough to keep trying after more than 54 years of failure. The passion of Michelangelo gave him the stamina to spend more than four years of his working life on his back, on high scaffolding, painting the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel. Passion has the power to make gifted humans into super-humans.
There is a magnetism that often accompanies sincere passion, whether about a project, an idea or a cause. People want to be near passionate people. They want to glean the positive energy for themselves. When we encounter someone who is really “into” their work, we are inclined to join them in their enthusiasm.
If ever I have the choice, I will choose to work with passionate people over their stoic counterparts. Even when I don’t share a person’s exact excitement for an idea or a solution, I love being around people who really get into the process and who are willing to throw themselves into their work. They emit a powerful positive radiation that is contagious and has the power to move me to greater heights as well.
You Have a Choice
So here is the bottom line on the Passion Principle: If you are not passionate about your work…if do not love what you do for a living and/or you cannot find something that you love within your work, you need to do something else. Nothing can take the place of passion. Your time is your life. You only get to spend it once. Pump up the passion and make it an investment. I promise you will feel the difference. Your clients will too.
Until next time, Stay Inspired!
Bob Kodzis is creative catalyst and a master group facilitator who finds creative ways to make complex and difficult processes fun and exciting. Kodzis is an experienced strategic planning consultant and marketing communications expert who works with boards, executives, and organizations throughout the United States. During the last 20 years, Kodzis has facilitated several hundred strategic planning retreats, leadership and creativity workshops, brainstorming sessions and focus groups, and he has been a regular contributor to Create Magazine. His client list ranges--from A to Z (Attorneys to Zoos). Some recent clients include: The Federal Reserve Bank, University of Central Florida, Institute of Internal Auditors, and Kennedy Space Center. He is a regular seminar facilitator for the Institute of Internal Auditors National Leadership Conferences and had been hosted by several local IIA chapters including the New York City and Philadelphia. Bob can be reached at http://www.flightofideas.net/