Driven by a Like, a Love, or a Passion?
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about the difference between liking something, loving something and being passionate about something. This is an important topic for anyone considering making a career change or starting their own business. And now more than ever, it’s a critical topic for anyone who owns a business or whose career is significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Passion is an important tool to carry us through disrupting adversity and to guide what it is what want on the eventual other side of adversity.
Aligning actions with a mission we are passionate about brings the kind of structure we’re most likely to adhere to, especially in times of uncertainty and change. When we get this alignment right, I truly believe it brings harmony with the soul and a stronger sense of self-confidence and purpose.
“Likes” and “loves” make for good hobbies, but passions bring us into flow state performance and toward the sense of fulfillment that so many of us seek.
How do you know the difference?
In the past 5 years, I’ve written 5 books. As many authors would likely agree, the first book is the hardest. But none of the book projects were especially easy. I’ve always liked writing, so I had a pretty good idea of how to write when I started book 1, Flow State Runner. What I didn’t really know is how to connect hundreds of moments of writing — and thousands of moments of writer’s block, procrastination, self-doubt, course-changes, marketing worries, editing discussions, etc. — into actually finishing a book project!
That required much more than “liking” to write — that required unwavering passion. I honestly can’t say I was sure of that passion during the hardest moments writing my first book. I began to really believe in it when I saw that I never wavered in my will to keep fighting to finish the book. When you refuse to get up after being knocked down a few times — when you refuse to give up on your business, your career, your big goals, your dreams, your ideals — that’s a very good sign you are aligned with a passion.
For example, I remember flying to Thailand once and feeling so excited about working on a book project that I could hardly contain myself. I was 24 hours into 31 hours of travel. I had left Tokyo an hour earlier. The airplane was bouncing around a lot as we crossed the jet stream. This was really annoying to me, not because of being nervous about plunging into the ocean, but because I NEEDED to write!
I was so excited about completing a chapter. And it was driving me nuts that there was so much turbulence that I couldn’t type. I kept trying to peck out words with one hand as the other held my laptop to the table, but my screen was blurry because the airplane kept violently shifting up and down and left and right. Argh!
At home in Switzerland, I’ve been out on trail runs when ideas came flooding in and I’ve had to stop to type or voice record on my phone, sometimes sitting next to a trail for an hour typing away on a tiny screen.
I’ve woken up in the middle of the night dreaming about a topic and then found myself moments later sitting at my desk in a dark room writing it all down before I forget it.
For my most recent book, I finished it two weeks ahead of the deadline because I was in such good flow that I stopped all other work, hobbies and life and wrote pretty much non-stop for a week, finishing 4-6 weeks of writing work in less than one. I skipped meals, didn’t bother to turn on lights at sunset, and couldn’t think of anything else during this time other than writing. I also skipped a lot of things I really “liked” to do, from teaching yoga to playing musical instruments — a good sign to me of what for me is in the like category vs the passion category.
Are these behaviors crazy? No, they are not. Ok … perhaps a little, but we all need a little crazy to drive the best creativity and performance out of ourselves. This is passion. It burns bright and intense. It controls and leads the way. It’s awesome. I’m so happy to have it and when I see others align their lives with theirs.
Does this stir any thoughts in your mind? What would you classify as your own likes, loves and passions?
How do you get motivated to work on a passion project?
Early in my coaching career, a friend and fellow coach once asked me how I get motivated to bring energy into working with a group if I’m tired from a long day. I had a hard time answering that–because it just happens, even when I’m tired, it’s there. I can be exhausted, sleep deprived and a little stressed out, yet the moment I say “Hi everyone, I’m happy to see you here,” I’m fired up and as excited as a kid going to Disney World for the first time. Coaching brings me massive energy, so it’s more about making space for that to happen than it is about turning the energy switch on.
Same thing with writing — once I get started, I can’t stop. I’ll stay up all night. I’ll skip meals. I’ll block everything else out and not move from my desk for 6 hours. I’ll find myself trying to write 3 chapters at once and frustrated because I can’t spend enough time on each one.
Right this moment actually, I have two new book projects open on my computer, as I’m not quite sure which one I want to focus fully on, so I’m working on both. I also am reading updates from athletes I coach and designing new challenges for them. I love the coaching. I love the writing. Each task and project is as important as the other and it drives me crazy that I can’t do them all at once.
Whether it’s coaching or writing, I don’t just like the pursuit. I don’t just love it. I’m passionate about it.
driven by passion & soaring across a dream finish line
Passion is what makes it possible to achieve what seems impossible. It is what enables you to make a big difference in your own life and the lives of others. Passion removes hurdles. It provides clarity. Passion answers questions, provides inspiration and knocks down brick walls.
This is passion and with it comes motivation.
The will to fight for what you want
Are you thinking about changing careers or starting your own business, but not sure what or how? The answer lies not in what you like to do or love to do, but in what you are passionate about doing. Passion is your secret ingredient. Passion will help you answer the question of how to make a pursuit financially viable. Passion offers you a glimpse of what you may be able to offer to others to help them along their path and thus help yourself. Passion may also give you insight into the answer to the question “what would I do if I only had 6 months to live?”
To that end, passion is also what will give you the will to fight for your business, whether it’s under severe threat from the COVID-19 pandemic, from your competition, or just because it’s a huge challenge to start and sustain a business. But if you’re meant to do it — then do it!
Please do the following. Make a list with 3 items: what you like, love and are passionate about. Really think about what goes into each category. It’s a hierarchy. Like is easy to identify. For example, I like visiting new countries, designing websites and learning new musical instruments. Love is special. E.g. I love being with a group of my closest friends in the mountains. I love endurance sports, and I love doing challenging workouts. And then there’s passion, which is a coveted list. What shows up on your coveted list?
If you’ve got some extra time to read, there are a wealth of books out there on finding and acting on your passions. Here’s my reading list on this theme:
- The Element
- 47 Hearts
- Desire to Inspire
- Midlife Re-Creation
- Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness
If you are ready to take action, whether that’s toward your own business, a new career, a new position within your company, or fighting for the business you’ve already built, I sincerely encourage you to stay aligned with your passion. Stay connected with whatever fires you up with an unquestionable intensity. Run with it, embrace any support you’re given, and make your dreams a reality.
Jeff Grant is the author of Flow State Runner: Activate a Powerful Inner Coach’s Voice, Hill Running: Survive & Thrive, Run Faster: Unlock Your Speed in 8 Weeks, Running Heavy, and UltraRunning: Coach’s Handbook. Based in Switzerland, Jeff is a coach and writer who specializes in mental coaching, peak performance, and transformation. Jeff’s popular newsletter is a digest containing inspirational and instructional resources, including his latest content. See recent issues and subscribe for free here. Refer to Jeff’s bio for more information, and please check out Jeff’s Coach & Author page on Facebook.