“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple
“The climb might be tough and challenging, but the view is worth it. There is a purpose for that pain; you just can’t always see it right away.” – Victoria Arlen, ESPN Television Personality, Actress, Speaker, Model and Former Paralympian Swimmer
Passion. Such a strong word with such a powerful meaning. You hear it all the time, from articles to videos to TED Talks. “Find your passion!” “Find your purpose!” And while it can sometimes seem like an overused cliché, it is true that purpose and passion are extremely important.
But they are not the same thing.
According to Dictionary.com, the definition for passion is: “An intense desire or enthusiasm for something.” And the definition for purpose is: “The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”
The truth is, we all have a passion. We all have things we love to do, and things we have an intense and strong desire to do. But not all of us have found our purpose.
Our purpose is why we are here on this earth. Our purpose is why God created us, and what we are supposed to do with our passions and our talents. Everyone has their passions, their hobbies, their talents – but a purpose is how we can use that passion and those talents forever.
Jack Canfield – an author, motivational speaker, corporate trainer and entrepreneur – put it best. “Of course it takes work to develop your talents,” Canfield writes in his blog article, Life Purpose: 10 Tips to Learn How to Find Your Passion. “Even the most gifted musician still has to practice – but it should feel natural, like rowing downstream rather than upstream.”
Scott Dinsmore, who was the founder of Live Your Legend, put finding your unique strengths perfectly in his TEDx Talk, How to Find Work You Love. “And so, the first step of our compass is finding what our unique strengths are. What are the things that we wake up loving to do, no matter what, whether we’re paid or not paid – the things that people thank us for?”
This Venn Diagram shows it perfectly:
If your passion is something you love doing, is one of your strengths, is what the world needs and what you get paid for – it could be your purpose.
But hold up!
Pursue the passion(s) that energizes you – that makes you squeal in excitement and jump for joy at an opportunity; not in ways that take away energy and are bothers to you all the time. As Tchiki Davis, a consultant, writer and expert on well-being technology, wrote in her blog article, Five Steps to Finding Your Life Purpose, “…you can burn out your life purpose if you pursue it in the wrong ways – ways that deplete rather than energize you. It is not enough to know the problem you want to solve – you have to think carefully about the way you want to solve it.”
In addition, we all too often let other people define what our passion and our purpose is, and we let other people tell us what we should be doing, instead of finding it out for ourselves or God telling us what our calling is.
As Scott Dinsmore continued in his TEDx Talk, he brought up a great point. “…I would ask one simple question,” Dinsmore said. “It was, ‘Why are you doing the work that you’re doing?’ And so often, their answer would be, ‘Well, because somebody told me I’m supposed to.’ And I realized that so many people around us are climbing their way up this ladder that someone tells them to climb, and it ends up being leaned up against the wrong wall – or no wall at all.”
Your passion and your purpose is divinely given by God, so don’t let anyone else try to steer you into a path that is not truly your destined path. And speaking of the path to your purpose, Amy Morin, an international bestselling author, lecturer at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and a psychotherapist, states it wonderfully in her blog article, 7 Tips for Finding Your Purpose in Life. “Finding your purpose isn’t something that can be done in a few days, weeks or month[s]. It can be a lifelong journey, and it can only be done one step at a time.” Morin went on to write, “…you can change course – sometimes, that road to finding your purpose has a few curves, forks and stop lights.”
Off of that last statement from Amy about curves, forks and stop lights, I will conclude by saying it’s vital to know that even if you have a “purpose-filled,” “passion-filled” career, dream job, etc., there will always be stumbles in the path. And just because it’s your purpose doesn’t mean it won’t be hard. You will need to work hard to succeed, even if it’s your passion and your purpose. Yes, there will be times when you wonder why you even tried traveling this path. Yes, there will be times when you wish things were easier. Yes, there will be times when it seems like it’s just too hard – but always remember why you started. Remember that passion and that energy and that excitement that you received when you first started to travel down this road. Remember that, and work hard – and you will succeed.
You Rock, Dream Big and You Got This!