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Better Than “Finding Your Passion”

Why are so many looking to “find their passion” in their work these days? Is this even possible? I just read a post called “Screw Finding Your Passion.” The title was tame compared to content that basically pointed out the “11,504th email this year from a person telling me they don’t know what to do with their life…. “ 
The long of the short of their article (including multiple F-bombs) was “Not knowing and then doing something anyway is the whole $*#*!% point.” The common complaint is that people don’t know how to “find their passion.” Or they're so worried about "finding their passion" they miss what's plain as day in front of them! Clearly, I can agree that “every job sucks sometimes.” And clearly, staring at your naval and waiting for passion while watching Netflix is disturbing. And most jobs/work require something in common: work! Truly, things like happiness and job satisfaction are often clearly more complex than the one bring blaring light called “finding your passion.” 
However, there’s something wrong and “find my passion” is the way it’s often expressed. In a world where 70% of employees “hate their job” and only 13% are actively engaged (Gallup), most have yet to find a key to unlock something they long for in their everyday work… People showing up to jobs they find draining, frustrating or even unbearable is not the way it’s meant to be. And the economic toll of disengaged workers, and dissatisfied leaders is not normal.

Then, what’s normal? What's better than "finding your passion?"

It’s this: Caring. No one argues that we thrive when we care about our work and feel excited about doing what we’re gifted and even called to do! Caring is when you “feel concern or interest; attach importance to something.” You feel engaged and attentive. And way too many people don’t care about their work… or what they do in life. 
They're disengaged. They don't care and that's a huge problem! 
Caring means you fully connect your activity to meeting the needs of others…. to serving… or even to making the world a better place. One of my favorite quotes is from Marian Wright Edelman who said: “You really can change the world if you care enough.” Soooooo…. what should you do if you don’t care???? Or you don’t care any more? 
Someone told me, “I just feel empty about my work. I stopped caring. What can I do?” Here are two suggestions to care.

1. Recognize you “not caring” as a problem.

When you spend weeks, months, years, even decades doing things you things you don’t care about …. bad things happen. Your work suffers. Your health suffers. Your relationships suffer. You shluff off good things. You come home filled with funk and fatigue. You kick the cat and shout at dog. Or, you just never fulfill the purpose you sense you were made for. A loss on every level! You caring will change the world for good. You not caring needs changes your world for the worse. When you don’t care, what should you do?

2. Learn how to care!

That’s right. Caring can be learned! Caring can be learned by all human beings… IF they know how to meet the needs they were designed and created to meet. IF they make it part of their mindset and their habits. IF they engage a mission that’s bigger than them. The biggest issues facing many of us at work today are actually spiritual issues: We don’t have a heart for what we’re doing. We don’t see what we’re doing as having a bigger purpose. And it’s that caring that needs to change. “From caring comes courage,” says Lao Tzu. Jim Rohn said, “One person caring about another is life’s greatest value.” You may need to diagnose what’s keeping your “caring muscle” from working.

  • You’re too busy

  • You’re not busy enough.

  • You’re in the wrong place (wrong geography, company, team)

  • You’re not using your best gifts

  • You’re not focused on doing what you care most about.

  • You haven’t connected what you do to a bigger need than money, success or notoriety.

And, you may want to engage the work with a coach or mentor to help you diagnose AND engage what you care about. 
Sometimes, it takes someone outside of you to help you see yourself. Reflecting back to you. Helping you extract what you need to get your care working. It may be the greatest investment in yourself you've ever made!

3. Connect what you care about to what you do each day INTENTIONALLY

It's not rocket science... but may have more impact than rocket science. And it may mean making a change. Or it may mean that you need to change. A change of work? Or a change of heart? Maybe both. One exercise I started to practice was to intentionally treat everyone I worked with as if they were going to be dead tonight. Really! Try it! Even for today. Extend the care that you would muster if this was their last day on earth. Or, take action to make the change you need to change as a bold action.

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