When you think about it, marriage and business are incredibly similar. How you maintain and improve both requires much of the same levels of commitment. And successful marriages and careers have one key element in common – passion.
If you’re passionate about who you’re with, your marital bond will continue to grow and serve as a rock-solid foundation for your family. Likewise, passion-infused career paths will almost always lead to growth and success. It’s no wonder the experts often say passion and success in your career should be treated like a marriage, not a fling.
Where You’ll Spend the Majority of Your Time in Life
The two relationships you’ll spend most of your time and effort with are your significant other and your career. If you’re neglecting either, you’ll probably be headed for certain failures. So, it’s important first to recognize where your priorities lie and reallocate your time, effort, and emotional investment to the two most significant contributing factors in your life.
Even if you believe your kids come first, remember that marriage is the foundation or the “safe place to fall” that your kids rely on for their own growth, wellness, and stability. And the career is the path that will provide the resources needed to fund that stable home, too. If you’re emotionally unplugged from your marriage or your career, you won’t be able to create the life you want your kids to have.
Which brings us back to the original point. How much time are you devoting to the two biggest pillars in your life? Are you passionate about either?
Why Passion Matters in Everything You Do
Passion is the limitless fuel in your tank that makes success possible. Without passion, you run out of gas, and burnout ensues. If you don’t love what you do, you will hit the wall.
If you still need a gentle reminder, here are ten reasons that support passion as the primary element of success in anything you do, especially with your career path.
- Passion will inspire a career vision for the long term
- Passion attracts others, including personnel, colleagues, and customers
- Passion ensures authenticity in every career decision, from a personal brand to leadership style
- Passion is a non-stop motivating factor in ensuring a forward trajectory
- Passion inspires self-confidence
- Passion is a magnet for others who are equally passionate
- Passion creates a foundation ripe for expertise
- Passion separates you from the non-passionate
- Passion drives more effective communication
- Passion prevents career stagnation
Taking Stock of Your Current Position
If you feel your marriage is on the rocks, headed in the wrong direction, or growing stale, you might consider having a heart-to-heart or seeking therapy. The same applies to your career.
If you’re not feeling as though you’re on a successful career path, it’s time to take stock of your current position. Consider spending some quality time with every work-related decision you’ve made that led you to where you are today. Then gauge how much of that journey was driven by your passion. If you’ve lost touch with the younger you who embarked on a career path full of enthusiasm, you’ll want to identify where it was you lost that initial passion.
Before you spend another five, ten, or even twenty years heading in the wrong direction, ask yourself these questions. Jot down your responses and analyze them to assess your current position.
What were you like when you felt the absolute freest?
Reflect back to when you were the most optimistic about your life’s journey and career. Think about what you were doing then, how you experienced new people, places, and things. And remember how effortless it was to address challenges when you were at your freest.
What are some of the skills you feel come easy to you?
Ask yourself, but also reach out to others who know you well. What are you good at that others usually take more time to accomplish? Uncover your natural talents and abilities and document them.
What would you be doing if finances and money were no object?
Think about what activities, work, or efforts you would extend if you didn’t have to worry about money. Allow yourself to daydream, too, which allows you to explore the “what ifs” again like you once did earlier in your career. It’s in these distant wishful thinking moments that passions begin to re-emerge.
What do you feel is your unique and precise purpose in the world?
Ok, yes, this one’s a little deep. But how you envision yourself impacting the world around you is a big contributor to finding your passion. You don’t necessarily have to know this answer right away. But you can likely connect a few dots that lead to a career direction that resonates with you.
What do you do now that makes you lose track of time?
If you’re struggling to identify what it is you’re passionate about, then think about activities or tasks you do that make you so blissfully unaware that you lose track of time. If you can lose yourself for hours working on something, doing something, or exploring something, you might have a lead on what inspires your passion.
What is the overlap between what you want to do and what you’re currently doing?
Make a list of what you’re already doing, including daily on-the-job tasks and skills you’re tapping into to perform them. Then make a separate list to identify the tasks and skills you want to be doing instead. With the two lists completed, you can then compare to identify commonalities. When you know what you like about what you’re doing now, you can begin to develop your passion in new directions.
Who will pay you to do what you’re really good at doing?
Finding your passion is one thing. But you’ll also need to translate that passion into something marketable. Ask yourself what you’re really talented at doing. Then ask yourself who would pay you to do those things. It’s not the “what do you want to be when you grow up” line of childhood questioning. Instead, it’s a “what can I do well that translates to an earnable and sustainable career” kind of question.
Recognizing a Commitment-Worthy Opportunity
Think back to your young adult years when you were all about stylin’ and profilin’ and being single ready to mingle. Your motivations were maybe to hang with friends, have fun, and connect with someone who was interested in doing the same. You dated people and changed your mind, never really committing to any one person indefinitely.
For anyone who is now married, do you remember when you knew? The first time you met your special someone and almost instantaneously realized they were the one. You were immediately faced with a relationship worthy of a commitment.
Now think about your career in the same respect. When you first started working, you probably didn’t care about the field or the industry. You were making ends meet and just bringing in a paycheck. You still made sure to bring your A-game and work ethic. But you always knew in the back of your mind that fast food, retail, or whatever your entry-level looked like would not be long-term.
But then, that one opportunity presented itself – in the form of a big idea for entrepreneurship or the job that meant a foot in the door of your dream company. When you encountered it, you just knew. And just like the marriage, you were ready to commit.
The most successful people will tell you the key to achieving your fullest potential is the commitment to that success. And you won’t feel committed to any career decisions you’re not passionate about pursuing.
Applying Your Passion and Your ‘Why’
You can’t really have a discussion about passion without citing some of the biggest influencers. And one of the most prominent voices in the passion and success conversation is Simon Sinek. Known for his revolutionary thinking behind leadership and career success, Sinek believes heavily in developing your passion and your “why” mission. He has a full roster of thought-provoking quotes you can add to your morning self-affirmation routine. But one that tends to resonate the most is, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Sinek also reminds leaders that success does not lie in competition. The “infinite mindset” allows individuals to see their careers as a long game, with a need for continuous improvement, not a short game where there is a clear victor and loser.
It’s Ok to Divorce Your J-O-B
Some people inadvertently will go their entire careers and lives without realizing their passion. And operating in a state of autopilot is a good way to see a decade’s worth of effort and work go by without improvement. Once you have performed a little self-reflection, you’ll have an authentic understanding of your current position. And from this fresh perspective, you can then begin to implement changes that reinforce your passion.
To determine your to-do list of the next steps toward realizing your passion, you’ll need to flesh out the details. Maybe you’re in the wrong field altogether. For others, getting back on track for success might just mean developing the confidence to explore leadership positions. Or maybe it’s time to take the big leap into entrepreneurship. Create a roadmap for yourself with your vision of success in mind, and you can make each subsequent career decision toward realizing your passion.
Be prepared to make some tough decisions, including making a clean break from your j-o-b. But when you commit to pursuing your passion, leaving any unsupportive elements of your life will be easier to swallow. And as you continue to make progress, you’ll have the never-ending fuel of passion for driving you, building confidence, and surging forward momentum with every step in the right direction.
Requirements for Passion-Infused Success
The recipe for success, whether it’s a career path or a marriage, will require the same basic ingredients. We’ve outlined the need for passion and commitment. But here are a few other elements to consider as you re-establish and redefine success for yourself.
No marriage will survive without a strong foundation of honesty. Your career won’t grow to its fullest potential either if you’re not honest with yourself. Be mindful not to chase unicorn trends or fall victim to self-regret. Trust your passion, and you’ll always have the confidence to see past these common less-than-honest obstacles. Be real with yourself about your talents and your vision. And like a marriage rooted in honesty and transparency, you’ll have a foundation for career success.
Decision-Making through the Lens of Your Passion
When you live by your passion, you can make decisions swiftly with outcomes in mind. From everyday decisions, like what to wear or where to grab lunch, to more complex decisions, like taking a new position or addressing a client issue, knowing your passion will ensure you’re making the most forward-facing call every time. Alternatively, when you start making decisions or problem-solving for other motives like because you’re in a hurry, want to appease someone else, or are trying to avoid conflict, you’ll be veering off path.
Taking steps to realize your passion means unleashing your creativity. Creativity leads to innovation, meaningful change, and ultimate success. When you’re on autopilot, without passion, your creativity will be stifled, and your priorities won’t allow for creative thinking. Much like a stagnant marriage, a stagnant career will be free of new ideas, innovative solutions, and creative fun.
If you’re ready to take stock in your career path and are ready to make changes, start with your passion. It’s your passion that will ultimately lead to success in everything you do. And much like a marriage, it requires a commitment to realizing your desired outcomes.
Remember, too, that when you’re passionate about thought-leadership and sharing content that resonates with your mission, we’re always here to help you with content creation!