If you look back through history, those who’ve really changed the world, or just left their mark generally made their passion a major, if not the integral, part of their life. I’m a little bit obsessed with great speeches, and pretty much to a person, passion is there for all to see. Performance energy is one thing, and I’m sure all actors will attest to it getting them through a production when it’s the last thing they want to do. Even this though is about passion, an undercurrent of desire to act and to receive adulation and inspire.
That’s the fuel behind the performance energy. I’ve experienced it time and time again when coaching rugby as I’ve been dog tired walking onto the training pitch, and the same leaving it, but for those two hours, I felt able to scale mountains and swims oceans.
Everybody I know has a passion for something, be it golf, music, food, football, literature or sailing, so I’d expect everybody can relate to that high I’m talking about. So why do we settle for a lack of excitement and passion in relation to our jobs?
The average British full timer works around 42hrs a week. That’s probably only rivalled by sleep as a single activity. Factor in commuting and it’s likely to be pushing 50hrs set aside for work. And the majority of them, sorry of us, are desperate for 17:00 on a Friday. Why? There’s a move away from staying in unhappy marriages as the modern day media encourages us to reach for perfection and happiness and to put ourselves ahead of others.
Yet this isn’t as encouraged when it comes to career. Yes, my generation are likely to change companies at a rate never seen before, but careers less so. The older generation are beginning to delay retiring not to build up a nest egg some more (at least as the primary driver) but to follow a passion and change career. I know wisdom comes with age, but can we not challenge ourselves to learn about what motivates us? And measure that time in months rather than decades?
So why do you work? Money is a consideration, but how many jobs give an income that couldn’t be found in your true vocation or calling? If you manage people, do you understand what motivates your team? Should you worry if there’s a stampede towards the exits on a Friday? Is this indicative of an inner malaise towards work? Or is it normal?
Employee engagement is a big thing in the modern corporate landscape, but does it really address this issue of passion? Can it ever hope to? Is passion measurable using surveys, or is it felt and understood by good managers? Is it possible to interweave this passion amongst the humdrum tasks? Is this what separates managers from leaders?
The more I consider this, the more I’m coming round to the idea that if you have a passion for your job, work doesn’t stop at a given moment. That’s not the big realisation though…. it’s that knowing this means nothing if you’re not willing to change. So what’s my challenge to you all? If you’re thinking TGIF, spend some time contemplating what would make you go TGIM instead.