A few thoughts about passion at work
by Fabrice Calando
Searching for passion. Finding your passion. Looking for passion… Passion is something people spend a life-time pursuing. In fact, many of you have probably been spending the past little while thinking of what your passion is.
I know I definitely have.
Actually passion is something I’ve been thinking about since 2009 when I read Gary Vaynerchuk’s first book: Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Affiliate link). And as the title of his first book indicates, it’s about making money with your passion. I figured that if I wanted to “cash in on my passion” I need to figure out what my passion was…
If you don’t know Gary Vaynerchuk, he’s someone who’s built a sort of wine empire in the United States and a social media icon of sorts. He immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe at a young age. When he was around 16 his father made him work in the family liquor store in New Jersey. When he was old enough to start helping run the store, Gary noticed the importance the Internet was taking so he added an online component to sell wine on the online, he started an online wine-tasting video show and he took his knowledge of wine to social networks like Twitter. The rest is history. He made a killing – he grew the family business from a $4 million-dollars-a-year-business to a $60 million-dollar-a-year-business in just a few years . He now also owns and operates a digital media agency in New York.
So why am I telling you about Gary? Well it all starts with where I come from. One of the greatest lessons my parents have ever given me was “never settle; do what you love.” That’s brought me down some strange paths at times. For example at McGill I started studying Psychology before studying Marketing. Also I started obsessing about the Internet and Digital Marketing back in the late 1990s. Just so you know where the Internet was at that time, Wikipedia didn’t exist, it was only founded in 2001; Gmail didn’t exist and Google was founded in 1998. In fact they spelled it Google! with an exclamation point. Actually I remember a teacher telling us, “if you don’t know what Google is, I would start using it; it’s a nice search engine.”
In other words, I was in love with the web, but most companies had no idea what to do with it and I decided to bet my entire career on it.
But then at some point, I kind of lost my way and I left the “web” industry altogether. While I was able to rectify my path and move closer to what I loved, Gary’s book really forced me to think about passion – what my passion was and what it meant for me.
Here are a few things I’ve learnt about passion so far：
■Passions change throughout your life
■We tend to think about passion as a something we carry throughout our lives just waiting to be discovered. And while there’s some personality traits that we do keep, passions change. When I was a kid I loved to draw. Loved it! I could spend the whole day drawing. Now? I don’t have the patience to draw a stick figure. Gary Vaynerchuk had his wine show, now he stopped it. That’s just how it is as we grow older and hopefully wiser; our likes, interests and passions change. That’s why so many people have a hard time finding their passion. Like Steve Jobs once said, “the journey is the reward” so I let finding your passion be your passion
■You don’t have to be passionate about someTHING
A lot of times when people think about passion, they think about what THING are they passionate about. Am I passionate about wine? Am I passionate about hockey? Am I passionate about sports in general? Am I passionate about sailing? Am I passionate about baking? Am I passionate about home renovation?
■Now there’s really nothing wrong with being passionate about something, but passion can be more complex than that. A lot of people say Gary is passionate about wine, but I once listened to an interview where he said he was passionate about building a better life for his family – wine was a way to do that. In pursing my quest to find what I’m passionate about, I’ve found out that what I really love is Personal Development. I kind of have this weird, relentless need to improve, change and get myself out of my comfort zone. To add to that, I love helping others be better – find better jobs, change their thought process, rethink their internal scripts.
■Invest in yourself
■Because passions change, it’s important to never stop looking and challenging yourself. As I had mentioned, I lost my way at some point. I just went with the flow without thinking about it and from beginning to end it took me roughly 3 years to get back on track. 3 years I’ll never get back. Actually after the whole stabbing/mugging incident, I noticed just how important it was to live a life you are passionate about, because you honestly never know when it can all be taken away. I know, I’m being a little dramatic, but it’s true. What I’ve done since is spend a little time each morning asking myself a question Steve Jobs said he asked himself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?” That forces you to think about if you’re happy with what you do.
If you think about it, at the very minimum you spend 35 hours a week at work. Let’s say you have 120 waking hours a week, you spend around 30% of your waking life at work. Now 30% might not seem like much, but think about it. 35 hours a week, that’s just under 2,000 hours a year! If you’re going to be investing that much time in something, you’d better be passionate about it.