In a study of recent graduate students, 90% listed “pursuing their passion” as a crucial prerequisite for jobs, yet only 20% reported feeling passionate about their work. How about you – are you currently passionate about your work? Have your interests changed over the years? Probably so. I’ve pursued several “passions” including wanting to work in the Foreign Service, running, real estate, and starting a business.
When I began developing the Magna Planner in early 2019, I didn’t realize this idea had suddenly become my passion. I was just doing something new, and it was exciting to be working on something I believed in. I was driven by a force within me that made late nights effortless and hard work rewarding. The project took a lot of people by surprise, and even my wife was confused about this sudden undertaking. But to me, my goal was crystal clear: to create a unique and manageable goal system that would help others too.
The initial excitement pushed me through prototyping, development, and the launch of an intense Kickstarter campaign. However, as 2020 began, I noticed my passion waning. The work of this next phase seemed more difficult as I faced new business challenges. And then, of course, COVID hit.
Perhaps you’ve been thrown off course by lackluster motivation, or the pandemic, or more likely a bit of both. Even though it’s always good advice to not fall victim to our circumstances, the pandemic has been different. Everyone has been affected. Even if you're healthy and your income is still intact, someone you love could get sick at any moment. For me, the threat of a layoff loomed for weeks, and my wife lost her singing job and any gigs for the foreseeable future. That, coupled with disappearing childcare quickly forced us to shift gears. The uncertainty alone has been enough to throw anyone off balance. We can acknowledge that this has been hard and taking time to reevaluate is not only ok but necessary.
In that commencement speech study, one perspective stood out– don’t focus on your passion – because passion doesn’t actually last. Rather, pursue what you care about. I loved that. It’s just like relationships. In the beginning, everything is exciting and you’re wanting to spend all your time getting to know everything you can about that person. Then, you start to wonder if it’s meant to be when things get difficult. But year after year, you press on because you deeply care about the person, not because you’re constantly passionate. When your passion seems to dip, try reflecting on what you care about and why.
Despite the obstacles we’ve faced this season in business and in our family, I know I still deeply care about the mission of Magna Life. I know the impact it has made on others, and I truly believe in what we offer. Now that we’re in a new phase of business, I’m no longer driven merely by adrenaline; it’s something deeper and even greater.
If things have suddenly become harder for you, don’t assume you’ve lost your passion. Consider why you deeply care about what you are doing and cultivate that passion. Write it down. The Magna Planner leads you to calibrate your mission in the quarterly review, keeping it fresh and relevant to your life.
Cultivating, rekindling, or even discovering your passion asks you to dig deep. Here are a few questions to get started:
- How does who you are and your history relate to your goal?
- What do you still need to learn to reach your goal?
- What is your motivation to achieve your goal?
- How will your goal influence or benefit others?
FURTHER READING: 3 Reasons It's So Hard to Follow Your Passion
By Jon M. Jachimowicz of the Harvard Business Review
Why is it hard to find your passion? The distinction may come from how we look at passion from a standpoint of spontaneity or personal development. Start to think about how you can frame your passion as something you can consciously cultivate instead of a feeling that must find you.
"Why does following what you care about make you more successful at pursuing passion? It seems that this belief helps you weather the challenges that are part of the pursuit. Consider that the German word for passion, “Leidenschaft,” literally translates to “the ability to hardship.” In another set of studies, I found that passion alone is only weakly related to employees’ performance at their work. But the combination of passion and perseverance—i.e., the extent to which employees stick with their goals even in the face of adversity—was related to higher performance.
The reality is that passion wanes over time, so if you just focus on following happiness, you might not stick with an endeavor like you would if you focused on how it helps you achieve what you care most about. When you’re pursuing your passion, it’s important to bear in mind that resilience is key, because the pursuit of passion is an ongoing—and challenging—process."