What Are You Actually Passionate About?

I see this a lot. People will tell you in their bios or on their websites that they’re really passionate about marketing or about Salesforce, or about “B2b communications through social media” — whatever the fuck that even means. They’ll swear that it’s their deepest, most abiding passion.

And it always makes me pause, because I think, who is really passionate about any of that? And do they really have the same definition of passionate as I do? Sure doesn’t seem that way.

Who is really passionate about tweeting? Or about closing deals? Who is really passionate about growth metrics? It’s a shorthand, and we’ve started using the word passion as something that belongs in a job description.

I think it’s connected to the job title phenomenon. We use words like passion the same way we use Ninja — to try and make it sound like we’re a lot more invested in our work than we really are — or at least, that our work is cooler than it sounds.

It’s a long way from what passion used to be.

When I think about passion, I’m thinking about the burning love you can have for another person when you can’t stop thinking about them, and when their name pops into your head in the early hours of the morning and it just makes your heart ache in the best possible way.

I have that passion for my girlfriend.

When I think about passion, I’m thinking about the need to paint and draw and write that keeps me up at night, writing by candle light (because I’m a pretentious twat sometimes) long after the rest of the world is asleep.

I wouldn’t want to be stuck at a party talking to someone who feels that way about Salesforce. That doesn’t sound like a conversation I would come out of alive.


I’m in Melbourne right now. Last night, I caught up with an entrepreneur I’ve known for a while — he’s pretty focused on niche kind of areas, and he goes from idea to idea pretty quickly. I’ve been working with him to try and lock down something he really wants to do, and commit to it.

Over drinks last night, he told me that he’s really passionate about building a new CRM product. And I just had to stop him, and ask him if he actually meant to use the word passion.

The more we talked about it, the more he came to realise that when he said he was passionate about it, he really meant that he thought it would make a fuck load of money.

There’s a big difference between the two concepts.

The way I look at passion is a very different idea. And I like it a whole lot more. The whole point of passion is that it burns and drives us. When we throw the word at a bunch of random shit that we happen to do, we lose some of its power.

I think that it’s more and more important to question what you’re really passionate about. To question what you mean when you apply that word, and to make sure that there are areas of your life where that passion belongs, where it can live and breath and grow.

We’re creative people, right? That’s what we are, it’s what we’re all about. But a huge part of that is our passion. Our passion gives us everything we need in our creative tool box, and we can’t just sell it out for a Twitter bio.

Ask yourself, what are you really passionate about?

It’s okay to love your work, it’s okay to love Salesforce, but you do have to keep yourself focused on the passion that can make you feel something beyond just existence. Whatever that may be.

If you enjoyed reading, please support my work by hitting that little heart!

FIND OUT MORE

AngelList: Connect with me!

Email: jon@jonwestenberg.com

Beme: Check me out here!

Instagram: Follow me!

Email me to sponsor my writing on @Medium — sponsorship is exclusive, weekly.