Those who know me know that in everything I do, I merge passion with hard work. But what they don’t know is that the “I need to find my passion” mantra makes no sense to me.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of us may be interested in a few things, or that one thing that makes them feel like a rock-star, but passion is too much of a strong word. The concept of finding your passion is so embedded in our culture that people use it as a crutch and excuse as to why they haven’t done anything meaningful in their lives:

“I haven’t found anything that I’m passionate about so I’m still looking and experimenting”

Disaster.

Look, you need to be real especially if you want to be immersed into the entrepreneurial world. Not that many of us have a passion that can be monetized.

Does anyone want to buy your service or product? Do you feel unfulfilled or like you deserve something more out of life?

Have a look at successful people around you. They’re happy, not because they love every minute of their work life – no one does! – but because they believe in it on a greater scale.

There is a sweet spot where what you’re doing has to intersect with what someone is willing to pay for. I’d suggest you start with your interests and the things you like. Observe and test whether your market wants what you’re offering.

What about passion?

It will come later. You’ll start loving what you do once you’re good at it.

Start on anything you’re interested in, and passion will develop as you master your craft

You don’t have to be a crazily driven human being like me to find your marketable skill set. If you don’t have it, then what are you waiting for to get it?

***quick aside***

An interesting read once revealed that if you have the passion mindset, your brain is wired to ask the question “What do I really want?” which in turn makes you obsessed about every single thing that you’re not satisfied with in your work.  

By contrast, the craftsman’s mindset acknowledges that no matter what field you’re in, success is always about quality. Once you’re focused on the quality of the work you’re doing now rather than whether or not it’s right for you, you won’t hesitate to do what is necessary to improve it.

“Ok, Chaymae – how do I become a craftsman?”

Practice. In the case of entrepreneurs, work. This particular mindset will drive you to acquire and improve a new set of skills that is detrimental to your success.

The other problem I have with the “follow your passion” advice is it suggests that passion is all you need. It’s both misleading and limiting.

Let me explain.

If your passion is cooking, it implies that you only need that to be successful.

Wrong.

Many restaurants fail due to poor management or financial distress. In this case, being a good cook is not enough.

It’s also limiting because say you’re a book-worm, you might think that your only option to be successful and happy is to make it in literature (writer, editor, publisher, etc…).

Again, wrong.

There are many other options you can choose from, provided you develop the skill set necessary to provide value to someone.

This brings me to my last point: you have to understand legacy.

If you switch the question from “What’s my passion?” to “How can I help” or “What would I like to do in life” to “What kind of impact do I want to have”, you’ll start feeling good about yourself because you’re contributing to someone’s life.

What change do you want to create for yourself, others and the future generations?

This implies that you need to go out there and confront yourself with others to find it. Contrary to common beliefs, there is no AHA Moment where you find that single answer of what is meaningful to you. There are however multiple moments of clarity leading you to more fulfilling opportunities, which will help you craft your own understanding of profitable, meaningful and impactful work.  

Feeling passion about your work is something you should aim for, but finding a passion and matching it to your job, is the wrong strategy. Instead, focus on your target: it could be your legacy or impact (as mentioned here) or even the lifestyle you’d like to have. In both cases, you need to built up valuable skills that you can leverage to achieve your greater goal.

Until next time,

Chaymae

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