I learned the value of finding passion in your work during the summer of 2015. My life-long dream until this point was to be a prosecuting, criminal attorney. I wanted to serve justice on a daily basis. While all my friends were marking “undecided” or “general studies” on their college applications, I marked “political science” on every single one without a moment’s hesitation. I was on a fast track to being the real-life Elle Woods and nobody could stop me.
The summer before my junior year of college, I was able to intern at a law firm in downtown Los Angeles. I was stoked. I felt like such an adult with my new blouses, high heels and fancy ID badge that took me right to the 50th floor. It took me about four hours on my first day to learn I did not want to be a lawyer. For all my lawyer friends out there, thank you. Lawyers are awesome. I was not meant to be one. It was not one thing in particular, but a combination of a lot of things that just did not suit my fancy.
I went home after my first day ready to never have my ears pop on that elevator ever again. I had dinner at my best friend’s house that night. I was telling his dad (who is like a dad to me too) all about my troubles. My parents were in Hawaii and so I felt no need to interrupt their mai tais with this. Let’s just say my privileged thought about backing out of a commitment was not met with very much grace. Per dad #2’s direction, I spent 3 hours a day (Monday – Friday) for 3 months in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Don’t even ask me how many papers I filed. I knew this was the simultaneous start and end of my legal career. But, I had made a promise and was seeing it through. I made the most organized file system this side of the Mississippi and every single day, I showed up with a smile. I am grateful to have spent time in a place where I felt no passion for the work going on around me. Would I have made more money as a lawyer? Maybe (probably). Would I have made a better lawyer, than I do a grant writer? No way, because I had no passion for it.
The Good Word, Co. was built by passion. As you can see, I tried a few careers before this one. Some were not for me, others I really liked, but none of them produced as much passion as I feel today. I am passionate about Boys & Girls Clubs and children’s healthcare – two causes I dedicated many years to. I find ways to integrate both of those things into my workload. But I am also passionate about many other things and wanted to find a way to serve them all at once.
I probably could write an instruction manual on how to build a piece of IKEA furniture, but it wouldn’t be a good one. And that’s not just because I am horrible about building furniture. That’s because although I can write, I have no passion in writing just for the sake of putting words to paper. I write to feel something. And I write so those who read, hear or see my words feel something as well. The same person who writes IKEA furniture instructions, might not write a compelling story about veterans in Montana.
The quality of your work is a direct reflection of the passion you have for it.
Think about the most successful people you know. Success follows their work, because they have identified a passion of theirs and made a job out of it. Your work shouldn’t be the only thing you are passionate about. Find passion in your hobbies, in your philanthropic efforts and in your relationships. And once you do, use them for good.
An affirmation to try: “ I will channel my passions in all areas of my life. When I feel that extra spark about a job, cause or person, I will chase it. ”