“Passion is contagious.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Cultivating passion at work has been a hot topic for years. Organizations know they can make performance and innovation gains when their people are motivated and engaged in what they are doing.
But what is ‘passion’? And how does one find it? These questions have intrigued me for some time.
As a young adult, faced with decisions about my future, I remember people prompting me with the question: ‘Well, what are you passionate about?’. I recall conversations involving advice to think about what really excites me, in my heart of hearts. To discover the intense feelings inside me for a certain activity, a strong desire or driving conviction for some thing. And, I remember feeling a bit inadequate and uncomfortable hearing myself answering repeatedly: ‘Well, I’m not really sure what my passion is’.
It was hard not to feel a craving to know: In what direction should I move my life? What career should I pursue? What do I want to ‘be’? I envied those around me who had clarity about following their dreams and pursuing their devotion to animals, art, family, food, health, justice, space… It actually took me years to see beyond the allure of chasing “that passion which lights up your soul like a billion stars” (Hiral Nagda), and to feel content with not following one driving force. With not defining my path or myself by a deep-seated love for one thing, activity or job.
It was a process to shift my focus from the What, and discover the Why and How.
A light went on that I could actually be dedicated to different quests – after all, forces for good are all around. Depending on the phase of life I have been in or who I have been surrounded by, a few causes have resonated strongly with me. The common denominator has been that they have held meaning. The purpose, the bigger goal, has had the effect of making me feel part of something greater than just my role. It was not what I was doing on a daily basis that made work different… It was the Why moving me to a new level of fulfillment.
Also, I felt energized. Whether I was implementing a new project or teaching a yoga class, I was doing it with focus. With heart. And in connection with others. Of course, not every task in pursuing a meaningful cause has always set me on fire. ‘Passion’ is not positive, good vibes all the way. But… it was the approach, the How, giving me a different power and energy.
At GAIA Insights, these threads have come together for me in our value of Passion: “We are driven by our inner purpose to make a difference, because we care”.
While I can’t speak for everyone, I think my colleagues would agree with my description of a team of people that desire change. Who are united by a common goal to bring about progressive, sustainable shifts. Who believe in the purpose of what we apply ourselves to every day – to make the world a better place by developing people to lead from within. Our passion is the effect of what we do, even when we can’t feel (as in physically touch) it.
And, we are a group of people who do it with love. With care and attention. Together. How we go about achieving our work is equally as important as what our objectives are. We have a forward focus and are regularly challenged to step out of our comfort zones. But we also know that when we fail, we will be supported by people who will pick us up.
So, while my journey on discovering passion has not propelled me towards a singular cause, profession or role, it feels good to have reached a place where ‘What are you passionate about?’ is no longer an awkward question. I can answer confidently that I am living my passion ‘to bring about positive, lasting change through work that creates real impact, for real people around the world’.
Authored by Monique Ward, Altruistic Operational All-Star at GAIA Insights.
Read another article about the GAIA Insights value of Integrity: “The Quest for Integrity in the Workplace” by Ornela Cumplido
Read another article about the GAIA Insights value of Courage: “Courage, Wisdom and the Small Successes” by Katrien Roels
Read another article about the GAIA Insights value of Positivity: The Power of Genuine Positivity by Paul Elias