Passion drives performance, and this matters—a lot. When a team at Deloitte examined what makes work not feel like work, they discovered a startling divide: 87 percent of America’s workforce are contributing less than their full potential because they lack passion for what they do. The rare individuals who have connected their passion to their profession outearn, outlearn, and outperform their peers. They also have the fierce resilience it takes to conquer the inevitable challenges, setbacks, and disruptions that pepper our modern workplaces.
Despite what your Instagram feed might lead you to believe, the notion that you can just go discover your life’s calling and in doing so unleash your passion is a bit misguided. The reality is more nuanced and worth taking time to understand.
The idea that we all have a grand, enduring, preprogrammed passion for a fixed area of interest has been debunked by researchers at Stanford. Rather than going all-in to discover one, deep, intrinsic passion that can provide you with an endless source motivation, they found it’s possible to actually develop passion for something you enjoy doing.
You don’t have to wait to discover your passion.
You can dive right in and develop it.
Developing a passion is something you work at, persist with, and grow into.
If you have identified your professional passions and can apply them in your work, congratulations. You’re one of 13 percent who have.
But if you’re less clear, remember “Find your passion” is vague advice that’s mildly helpful at best. Here’s a more specific path:
Find something you enjoy and develop a passion for it.
Or choose some areas to dabble in and explore to make it easier for passion to find you.
Explore an interest.
Try stuff out.
Let your passions come at you out of left field while you’re otherwise engaged in being curious.
And when passion embraces you, commit to it, and develop the heck out of it.
4 Questions for Finding Your Passion
Here are four questions to ask yourself to get clear on the work that inspires and energizes you.
- What feeds your soul and doesn’t feel like work?
- What are you insatiably curious about?
- What is the work that fuels you?
- What work-related causes do you care deeply about?
4 Questions for Finding Your Passion was adapted from Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw-Hill) by Jo Miller. Get a free chapter here.