I read a blog post the other day that left me somewhat puzzled. I neglected to write my own post on it but, then today it showed up on my Twitter feed again. Therefore, I decided it was a sign from the recruiting gods that I must fully analyze my thoughts on Here’s Why “Following Your Passion” is Simply for Suckers. It discusses Mark Cuban’s Blog, Blog Maverick and in one of his posts he discusses how you shouldn’t follow your passion but rather your effort. I really wasn’t sure what he meant by this but, I will first address “follow your passion” then “follow your effort.”
Now I have never been a believer in advising someone to “Do what they love.” That stuff only works in Disney Movies. And the blog authors both state that this isn’t a means of guidance. Let’s just be honest, in the third grade I will never forget being asked to draw what I want to be when I grow up. I wrote about this in my application to the only MBA program I applied to after my undergrad – who graciously denied my acceptance, apparently creativity was not warranted in an Executive MBA Program application – go figure.
Anyhow, I found myself with a number 2 pencil freshly sharpened, drawing a Gold Medal around my neck with stringy hair and a pair of the best Nike checked cleats I could draw. I was first place on the podium with the biggest smile. Well, I am graduated from college and I have a headset on instead of a Gold Medal. And softball isn’t even an Olympic sport anymore so clearly my true passion wasn’t going to come to fruition. Even if I was magically good enough to play at that level. There are many pieces of life to be passionate about and if it truly is work then more power to you but, I challenge you to look deeper than your sales numbers, patients served, or annual reviews.
When Cuban discussed “follow your effort” he meant that “you’ll become passionate about something when you’re good at it.” That’s just like saying – I’m going to be a Miami Heat fan because they’re the best NBA team, I’m really good at selling paper clips so I love it, I’m going to go to the gym and workout on the treadmill when the most people are there so everyone can see me. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it’s your passion, passion isn’t always seen. Advertisers for tobacco – were they passionate about selling a product that could give their customers cancer? Probably not, but I’m sure some were very good at it.
Will your desk job ever be something your passionate about? To be honest I don’t know but, if it’s a job that puts food on the table for your kids? You do it because you’re passionate about your kids. Will you ever be passionate about steel if you’re an accountant for a steel company? Again, I’m not sure but, are you passionate about having a real purpose within the organization? You do it because the company can’t function without you.
Follow your passion? That’s just fluff. Be passionate about something you’re good at? That’s just conceded. When it comes to finding work – passion stems from what you truly love. Maybe that’s competition or helping others but, don’t feel like if you’re not playing in your dreams from 8-5pm that you’re not in the right place.
Your work may or may not be your passion but, as long as it facilitates a passion – that’s what matters.