Be passionate about what you do and, even more, pursue your passion.
Passion pushes you forward when the going gets rough. It keeps you energized when you’ve been at it for a while. And it helps you persevere when you’re ready to give up.
Passion is what wakes you up excited and eager to get going. It brings pleasure to what we accomplish and it drives us to be the best we can be.
Too many people hate their jobs. Too many people don’t care about what they do. They punch a time clock. They show up. They go home. They work because they have to.
Life is too short to live this way.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a profound respect for the man who will do whatever it takes to feed his family. I will be the first to commend the woman who breaks her back to support her child. There is something noble about work and work itself is dignifying.
But even those who find themselves in these situations can pursue their passion. They can find their purpose. They can love their job and make it a career.
Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, tells a story about a janitor at a hospital. One evening, a visitor noticed the janitor passionately cleaning a room of a coma patient. He replaced the doctor’s supplies, placed flowers by the bed, and dusted the crevices of a painting. He did it while whistling dixie.
When asked what he was doing, the janitor piped up with excitement, “I’m helping the patient get better. Studies show that patients who wake up in a warm environment get better more quickly. Those who don’t often go downhill fast. I’m making sure that the doctor has everything he needs to provide the best care and that the patient is in the best environment to recover.”
That is purpose. That is passion. This man, a janitor, had taken what many people find to be a dead end job and made it something worth living for.
Passion is not about pursuing a pipe dream. Passion is about the vigor with which you pursue greatness.
If I had followed my heart, I would have been in the NBA. I could barely dribble, so I gave up on that dream. I studied media so that I could pursue a career in music. The starting salary wouldn’t pay the bills, so I found the next best thing that would.
What I found was the intersection of what I was good at and what would provide for my needs. It turned into what I love.
I lead my heart.
Be passionate about what you do and pursue your passion, but lead your heart.