In a world energized by buzzwords, instant gratification, and such an overwhelming amount of humble bragging (from myself included), I noticed that many people live by the phrase pursue your passion. I don’t disagree with this statement and I am one of the people who believes in this message. However, I think the process of pursuing your passion is much different and more extensive than people realize.
I first inarticulately described my vision for a better world as being “division-less” at the LeaderShape Institute in 2011. It was there that I was challenged to discover my passion and live with it every day. That journey has led me to a deeper understanding of my values, beliefs, and why I do what I do. I now understand that my passion is building interpersonal relationships across cultures through leadership, service, and exploration in immersion experiences. It has taken nearly five years for me to effectively communicate that vision for a better world. I want people to actively seek to understand others through interpersonal communication and shared experiences across cultures. I am still working to bring this vision to reality.
I returned from LeaderShape with a ton of passion, an idea, and no plan to effectively turn my passion into action. You can imagine how discouraging it was when my first idea failed in dramatic fashion. After returning to the drawing board discouraged and deeply confused as to how someone with so much passion could fail, I began to understand that pursuing your passion is much more than having an idea and a lot of energy. When building your future with passion at the forefront of your mind, you must keep in mind these things: 1) you need to clearly articulate what you want to achieve 2) identify the skills necessary for success, and 3) you have to go out and have a variety of experiences. I’m not saying to randomly select things to do. Your actions and decisions should be guided by your passion and vision, but don’t be afraid to deviate from that path in order to gain a new perspective, cultivate a new skill, or to simply enjoy your life.
Sustaining your passion is not about going the furthest the fastest, but rather actively making decisions that will help you achieve the outcome you desire or create the future in which you plan to live. It takes time to build something that will endure. My mother came to mind as I wrote this blogpost. She has owned and coached a trampoline and tumbling team for 12 years. In 2003, she started with 6 athletes and 5 panel mats. Now she has a 50 person competitive team and over 100 athletes who train in her facility, attend classes, or participate in clinics throughout the year. She also has a partnership with YMCA. Her passion is coaching others to develop into successful athletes and people with strong character. She’s produced national champions, national team members, and has helped athletes go on to compete at the collegiate level in a variety of sports.
Passion is enduring. Building the path to live it everyday is an active process that has to be evaluated frequently. I don’t believe all members of our generation feel as though they are entitled to everything they want, but I do believe that we want to understand the value of our work, contribute to the betterment of the world around us, and achieve our goals. We want to do this quickly, but it isn’t something that can happen overnight. We have to work through the process and build slowly and effectively. Building a sustainable future will require a constant renewal of passion and a profound commitment to continuously learning from our experiences.
“There is no need to rush in life. Just with one word at a time, your sweet life history will be written boldly in capitals and highlighted for easy access. Be sure you are passing the test of patience!” – Israelmore Ayivor