Passion is an energy you feel when you’re connected to the things that you love to do or the beliefs that light you up.
In the 17th century, there was a philosopher called Spinoza. He believed that every acceptable thought came from reason, and every unacceptable thought came from passion. For thousands of years, passion has been related to suffering or hardship – even the Latin word for suffering is “passio.”
There are two different types of passions, according to a group of French philosophers who published research on the subject 20 years ago. One is “harmonious passion” – this is an activity that makes your life better. You’re not overly driven by this activity, but it’s something that you want to do willingly. Then, there is “obsessive passion,” which is the opposite. It can create conflict in your life and relationships. This is where addiction comes in, or pursuing dangerous hobbies that put your life or the lives of other people at risk. Obsessive passion is a passion that you can’t help yourself but do, and it can be very destructive.
At Passion Collective, we focus on rediscovering or creating harmonious passion. The women who are drawn to Passion Collective call themselves “Passion Seekers” or “Passionados.” They are looking to rediscover the activities in work and life that feel good to them and give them meaning and energy.
Passion at work looks and feels differently for every individual. Typically, it is found at the crossroads of what you’re good at, a business need, and an impact you want to make.
Bringing Passion Collective to Life
In 2014, I was an accomplished marketing leader. I had just become a mum to a beautiful daughter and had a top job at a national consulting agency which meant high pressure, billable hours, and frequent travel. On the outside, I appeared successful, but I realized that I had lost sight of the things that I loved to do. I was lacking a sense of fulfillment, and I was serving everybody before myself. It was a classic case of burnout with an undercurrent of questioning about who I was and where I was going.
I was curious about this and wondered if the awesome women I knew felt the same. So, I started a Facebook group and began sharing things I loved - books, shows, ideas. The conversation grew, so I created events and workshops to create the energy of sharing, encouragement, and support. My hope was that if we got the right women with similar intentions in one room, we could help each other rediscover that “spark.”
Now in 2023, we’re a community of 8,500+ people who identify as women (and many male allies!) who are seeking their passion. It shows what a universal need this is.
The Importance of Passion at Work
Everybody has unique talents and the potential to help other humans. When you find your passion in work, you feel aligned with your values and skills. You know that you’re making a difference, not just in your life, but in your customers’ or team’s lives. You can sleep better at night knowing you are putting your talents to the best use possible and feel good doing it.
I believe it’s our duty and responsibility to figure out our passion at work. Because if we don’t, we’re missing all these opportunities to live our best lives and help others.
Now, it’s unrealistic to think that 100% of any job will fill you with pure joy and passion! I have yet to find or read about anybody who achieves that goal, me included!
It’s your job to figure out how much of your work week should light you up. I was once told that as a leader, I should expect 30% of my working week to be work that I didn’t enjoy. For me, that wasn’t going to cut it, and it was a clear sign that culture was not for me.
On the flip side, some organizations make the mistake of demanding that their employees are 100% passion-driven and that they prove it publicly. If you’re forcing people to feel passionate, you’ve got a problem with toxic positivity, and - at best - you’ll lose your best people.
Finding Your Passion
So, the big question. How do you find your passion? Our new “Passion Finder” workshop helps organizations with this exact question. The first thing that many people, especially women, have to do is acknowledge that they deserve to be happy and fulfilled in their work. It’s giving yourself permission to be (as some might say) “selfish” (it’s not, by the way).
Second, identify what passion feels like to you. Typically, when you’re a mid-career professional, you’ve become good at many things. Yet, as you build your career, the things that you’re good at aren’t necessarily the things you love anymore.
"You can sleep better at night knowing you are putting your talents to the best use possible and feel good doing it."
Articulating how passion feels to you could mean “energized,” or it could be “calm” or “buzzing.” Everybody’s got a different way of describing how passion feels to them. Name this energy because no one else can tell you what your passions are. Your boss or coworkers may try and tell you what they think your passion should be, but no one will understand what passion feels like other than you. Naming it makes it easier to find.
Then, do the work to rediscover the things that you used to love. We call this step “Reach Back” – creating space to remember the activities that gave you this feeling. This step can be revelatory for some (“I had totally forgotten that I love designing new project management systems!!”) or uncomfortable (“Why did I stop doing that thing I love?”).
Ultimately, it’s critical that you believe you deserve to be happy and fulfilled in your work. Any amount of exploration you do to get clearer on what you love to do is a good thing. Once you find your passion, you can move on to helping support and encourage others in the journey to find theirs.
ABOUT PASSION COLLECTIVE
Passion Collective creates the space for professional women to thrive. Join a trusted community to help yourself and others navigate the career and life situations unique to women.
Visit www.passioncollective.co to learn more.