Passion is earned not found

By Marcus Coetzee, 27 August 2019.

The quickest way to troll me is to complain that you haven’t found work you’re passionate about. That you are somehow a victim of misfortune because of this.

It is the one behavior that will guarantee a lecture from me.

This is what happened yesterday. Someone close to me complained about this topic and I provided a monologue in response. 

To save time in the future, I decided to be expedient and write my thoughts down. Then when this happens again, I can just shut up and send them a link. It will save us all time.

Here are my thoughts on finding work you’re passionate about.

People don’t wander down the road and discover their passion just sitting on a park bench. It takes time, effort, experimentation and suffering to reveal the type of work that resonates with you – work that makes use of your unique talents and which people are prepared to pay for.

I’ll elaborate. Let me tell you my story about how I discovered my passion.

Nowadays I love most of the work I do. I read about it. I talk about it. I think about it. I’m working very hard to eliminate, delegate and automate the parts I don’t like. I have a clear sense of my purpose and values, and mostly live by them. I am 46 years old. I feel very grateful for this clarity. 

However, it was not always that way. If I remember back to my final year at school, I felt excited, but anxious and lost when I thought about the work I wanted to do when I grew up. 

Since then I must have filled over a hundred journals and notebooks with my thoughts on what I’m good at, and what I enjoy and don’t enjoy, and how I can earn money. 

My mentors, coaches, therapists, colleagues, friends and partners have collectively provided thousands of hours of listening and support. I’m sure they will hear more from me in the future.

I have read countless articles and books about strategy, running a business, consulting, dealing with people and staying sane. These have helped me to get closer to the work I nowadays do.

I’ve done several courses in counseling, assessment tools and strategic models.

I’ve put in the hours, late nights and daily grind. I most probably overdid this part since I burned out and got sick, and it took me over a year to get back on track. I will try and avoid overworking in the future, and so should you. 

I have done too much work that I hated – work that made me depressed, angry and sick. But then there have been people and work that gave me energy and uplifted me, and I gravitated in this direction.

Over the past two decades, this navigation towards work that fits my aptitude, values and skill-set has produced increasing passion in me. I have mastered some valuable skills and I’m sure this trend will continue. The future will provide me with even more work that I am passionate about. I’m looking forward to this.

One might even say I earned this passion through hard work, mistakes and reflection. I did not happen upon it. The same is true for all the passionate people that I’ve worked with.

So venture forth and earn your passion!

To read more on this subject, I suggest you review this presentation I gave in early 2019 and read this article I wrote in 2018.

In pursuit of strategic clarity

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