The prevailing wisdom these days is, “Follow your passion. Do only what you really love doing.”
I’ve given this advice to others more than once. Finding your passion matters. But some people misunderstand this to mean that you shouldn’t have to do anything that isn’t your passion. I know because at one point I thought that, too.
But even those at the top of their fields, those with enough money to hire teams of assistants to handle all the things they don’t want to be bothered with—even these people spend the minority of their time on the activities they love.
Rock stars and actors don’t perform all day long. The world’s best musicians and artists say that one a solid 90 minute block of deep practice makes for a good day. Billionaires successfully complete business deals only once in a long while and the best mothers often spend as much time shopping and carpooling as storytelling and cuddling.
Yes, it helps to know what you love to do. But if you have no tolerance for the necessary tasks that lie outside your sweet spot, you’re in for some serious disappointment. If loving what you do is all that drives you, then you will only enjoy part of your life. A passion for what you do won’t sustain you in your life. While it’s helpful to find what you’re passionate about, it’s crucial to find a “why” you’re passionate about. Tweet This
Find a cause that you care deeply about. Because if you are passionate about the purpose, then even unpleasant tasks become satisfying. Parenting is the first example that comes to mind for me. I have never found it pleasant to wake to a crying baby at 4am. Walking back and forth in the wee hours of the morning with a crying child isn’t on my list of activities I love. But my passion for my kids—my “why”—was enough to sustain me through many a sleepless night.
I don’t love back and forth meeting scheduling. I don’t love budget reviews or waiting in the airport terminals. But I do love the relationships and influence that tasks like those allow me to have. In their own way, they are a part of my purpose.
Don’t just settle for finding what you want to do. Figure out why.