Passion, Purpose and the Dream In-Between
Let’s get a few things straight.
I was recently quoted in a Business Times article titled: “Following your passion may be a bad idea”. For most people that know me, this was kind of hilarious, and as an incredibly overly-passionate person, understandably a few people were confused.
Then, the story seemed to travel into Ayla Kremb’s inbox and beyond… so I thought it was best to clarify a few points.
First I can clarify that I wasn’t misquoted — and yes, I do believe that following your passion not only may be a bad idea but might the the worst and most painful thing you could do to yourself!
But let me explain.
Do I believe that fairytale dream jobs exist?
But to me, perfection isn’t about finding what makes you happy. It’s about finding something with challenges you, pushes you, is incredibly difficult at times but also incredibly rewarding. A perfect “dream job” would be something which you love — through the best and the worst. And it differs for different people. My dream job is a lot different to that of a NatGeo Photographer for example, despite what people may think.
“So should I quit my job to chase my dream?”
To go a bit deeper — I think in recent years, the younger generation have become sick of companies only caring about the bottom line and hence, they are looking for something more meaningful and exciting. BUT the idea everyone can quit their corporate careers to chase dreams is dangerous — WE NEED people with that determination and passion to work within the big organisations to change the traditional business models, encouraging sustainability and employee wellbeing. A dream job is something which not only makes you happy, but gives you a feeling of accomplishment & overcoming adversity — if you can’t stand your job because you don’t think it has meaning, what can YOU do to change it?
If you’re lucky enough to work in a well paid large corporation, I would never take that for granted. Generations before us strived for financial security. Having that, we can use our power & profession to make a huge difference in society & the environment through big business and global networks.
“I want to quit. But I don’t know what to do!?”
Most people think “I’m not passionate about X so I’m going to quit and follow my passion doing Y” etc. etc.
But the reality is — most don’t know what their passions are.
You might think you have a passion for X, but until you’ve tried it — you might come to the same conclusion and look for something else. This is because having passion is a lifestyle choice. No matter what happens, in EVERY career, you WILL hate it and love it on different days. But how quickly can you get back up after you’ve hit rock bottom? That’s where passion & perseverance is most important.
If you apply passion as a lifestyle, and put loads of energy into everything you do in life — opportunities will come knocking.
Besides, if you have a particular ambition or objective, you’re aiming for something within your mind. That might not be high enough. So you should never have a “goal” in mind for your career, because that limits your possibilities.
Forget about the idea of career and just focus on two things: your self awareness, and the impact you have on others. Put all your energy and passion into that within your current career and see what magic happens.
But what if I fail ?
It doesn’t matter what you choose — things can go wrong.
Running out of money, risking your mental health, there are SO many pitfalls taking an unconventional path— so you need to be prepared to take that risk. Knowing that you can survive hitting rock bottom and having the ability to bounce back is a very empowering thing.
You need rock-solid confidence and sincere deep self respect to have the strength to overcome the kinds of challenges ahead if you’re going to give up financial security to chase your dream.
Maybe your biggest failures will become your starting line.
Why is passion so important?
Passion is just energy. You need a passion to work hard. Harder than anyone else. Everyone else.
I definitely just make a decision every day to work as hard as possible in the current moment given whatever is ahead of me. It naturally opens doors.
I would work with as much passion cleaning the office floor, as I am today meeting with clients. The problem is that a lot of people don’t see how they can be passionate about mundane tasks. But we need to realise that our environment, our community, our company culture — everything — it’s OUR responsibility.
How many relationships have you built with those close to you at work or home or in your community? Do you know the names of your barrister who makes your coffee? Do you radiate kindness everywhere you go?
Most people know that at the end of your life — you’ll forget about your “career” but you’ll remember the small things that made a difference. And trust me, if you’re unhappy now and you think quitting your job will make you happy, you might be mistaken. There might be something MUCH deeper making you unhappy which you need to discover first.
I often film incredible people doing awe-inspiring adventures. But I have to be honest — I have no ambition to follow their path, because I know what kind of turmoil they go through. People that have that ambition to risk their life and limb for adventure are important — and by all means if you have what it takes, go for it — but they are rare. I’m familiar with my current physical & mental limits which is how I can push myself so far. Which, I’ve learnt, has also given me the ability to keep stretching them so I can push myself a little bit further every time.
Everyone has their own personal journey to go through to find their limits, and I do encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone and find theirs. But if your limit is working in a country town bakery or 8am-11pm every night at a bank — just make sure you do it for a greater purpose of helping others.
Start integrating kindness, sustainability and social impact into everything you do. And if you live with passion, success in life with be a natural progression.