Keep Your Passion At Work! (written April, 2002)

How many people do you know that don’t feel connected to the physical world around them or to the work that they do? We all seem to be searching for the connection ‘out there’ when we need to establish a passionate connection to ourselves ‘in here.’ We need to establish a connection with ourselves first. I have discovered some concepts that will help you to keep your passion while at work.

  1. Keep a file of awesome people – One of the best ways to start learning about what you are passionate about is by keeping a file. When you read an article that is really intriguing, tear it out of the magazine and put it into a file. When you get an e-mail from a colleague that really inspires you, print it and put it into your file. I started doing this many years ago with a file called “Awesome People.” It has now morphed into many sub-files, but the concept remains the same. If you want to have a rich life, start by studying the positive lessons of others. The more examples you have in your file, the more motivated you will be to live your life in a similar way both at work and at home. Also organizations that encourage their employees to follow their passions will find workers who are more engaged, aware and contributory. I would rather have my organization represented by somebody who cared deeply for the mission instead of somebody who just wanted a job.
  1. Reasons why – Make a list of compelling reasons as to why you are doing your work in the first place and put it in an easily reference place. Concentrate on your top 5 reasons. If your list is less than positive, it will serve as motivation for you to keep looking for other motivating factors. Maybe you need to get more training or to work with a colleague in another department. Keep a journal of your progress in order to remind yourself of the personal discoveries and sacrifices that you had made along the way.
  1. Just launch – Are you waiting for somebody to come along and ignite your spark? It won’t happen. It has to come from deep inside. Now that you have a file of people you admire and the reasons why you are engaged in the work that you do, you need to launch into some ideas that will help inject additional passion into your work. Sometimes just getting out of the starting gate is all that you need. William Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors that make us lose the good we might oft find by fearing to attempt.” I remember waking up in the morning with sore teeth before I left my original field of work. I went to the dentist thinking that I had cavities, but he said that I was grinding my teeth. I was very tense as I ventured into the great beyond. However I focused on my passion as I continued learning how to trust the process.
  1. Make a commitment – Make a “working plan of action” as you go forward in order to give you a sense of stability and comfort. I worked with a former employer to transfer to a different division within the same company. I made a commitment of at least a year to help me increase my passion. This is especially important when trying to deal with managing your stress when the road before you is not clearly laid out. It might take even longer depending upon the type of work. This commitment for a longer length of time not only gives you credibility, but it also takes into account “The Law of the Harvest.” Farmer’s know this very well. What you plant in the spring will grow into a beautiful plant by autumn. This process can’t be forced or rushed. However all plants need constant watering, nourishment and a positive environment. Don’t forget this! How many plans fail due to inattention and lack of support? Take this into account as you go forward and make sure to be open to constructive criticism.
  1. Have faith in yourself – How can you accomplish this? A large part is attitude! Surround yourself with friends, family and people who support you in your organization. I asked a very successful neighbor who sold his first company for many millions how he was able to manage the stress of uncertainty as he followed his passions. He said, “I don’t ask myself if something is going to work; instead, I ask how is it going to work?” With comments like these and a supportive work environment, you will start to feel more in control of your life. Another way to have more faith in yourself is to go to bed every night and visualize how excited you are about the work that you do. Your subconscious mind will work “behind the scenes” to help make your dreams come true. What is your dream for increasing your passion at work and how are you going to make it come true?

Doing work that we love means being engaged in the world around us. We need to learn not to lock out the world, but to let it wash over us though our smiles, our voices and our hearts. When you increase the passionate connection to yourself, the quality of your work and life will greatly improve.

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.