Inquisitive Report 45/52

Week Ending December 7th, 2018

Content Covered:  Purpose & Passion

I wonder if it’s just me, or if often we tend to use words interchangeably: compassion and empathy, perseverance and resilience, purpose and passion. I mean the concepts are close, but I think there is importance in identify the nuance that separates two words that share associations.

Today, my qualm is with purpose & passion. I’d like to adopt the following definitions when thinking about purpose/passion:

    • Purpose is the sense that your work has broader meaning; it’s about contribution and connection.
    • Passion is the feeling of excitement or enthusiasm you have about your work; it’s about creating alignment with what you value and what you do.

Simplistically, purpose is what adds meaning to our relationship/actions with others, and passion is what adds meaning to our relationship/action with ourself. Purpose is something people share, passion is individualistic.

The reason for such a distinction is so that we can have a larger conversation on corporate versus individual responsibility. Personally, I spend a lot of time thinking about “fulfillment” and how can each individual constituent (companies, teams, individuals, families, etc) contribute to positively increasing this factor.

By distinguishing between the definition of the two words, I believe we can begin to hold each constituent responsible for specific actions. The focus of a company and your team should be foster a sense of purpose; not only locally to the current project, but globally to the impact your work/the company has on the world. Similarly, the focus of an individual should be to first identify a few core domains that they are passionate about, and then find ways to incorporate this information in everything they do: from work to interactions with friends and families.

More specifically, what this means is that even if your don’t align with the purpose of your company, or your team fails to foster a culture that you resonate with: you can still strive to find what you are passionate about and find ways to embed aspects of that into your work to increase your “fulfillment” factor. Now that sounds inspiring; so why don’t we see more of this?

Because often times we are either playing the blame game or the procrastination game: we blame the company or environment for being boring, or not challenging enough. We blame the leadership for not doing a good job, our circumstances for not being ideal. We procrastinate till tomorrow when things are better, or when we will have more time.

Though blame and procrastination are certainly easier, they are extremely detrimental to attaining any level of “fulfillment.” Why? Quite simply because once we identify the bad guy (bad leadership, wrong situation, lack of time, etc.) we are done thinking.

Blame and procrastination act as justifications for inaction.

Equipped with this knowledge, I challenge us to identify what we can do differently today, to nudge us towards incorporating our passions into all aspects of our lives.

Ideas adopted from the book: Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel

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