Friday, 29 November 2013

Work, Misery, Passion

I promised you some thoughts from my friend, Life Coach Cheryl 'Nyara' Gittens, on passion and the work you do.  There's a whole lot on the web on this topic and I've been pretty big on passion throughout all the phases of my life.  My perspective has changed at least twice in major ways.  Cheryl helped me pin down the things that make passion real for real people in real jobs, who sometimes see it as this as 'something' that other people are fortunate to find.

Forget the 'Just get it done' job mentality and be thankful

When it comes to work misery Cheryl disagrees with my 'just get on with it and forget about enjoyment' advice shared in Your Dream Job?...Not! .  She reminds me that just trying to ignore work misery will make you sick, literally.  She says that you have to have to have a 'why' - Why am I doing this job? Why is this important?  How is this helping me to achieve some of what I want to achieve? More than that, you have to be thankful, not just that you have a job and they are other people who don't, but that it really does allow you to do things that you may not otherwise be able to. If it puts food on the table, be thankful, if it pays the school fees, be thankful, if it allows for family vacations, be thankful.  Misery or not, it's doing something good. Cheryl puts it pretty poetically: "Being in a space of gratitude helps to pivot your perspective."

 Be specific about your misery

When we say we are finding no passion in our job, that's vague.  What is it that we really want? Cheryl advises us to separate two concepts: passion around job content and passion around job process.  It may be that you hate your boss or you detest the office location or you can't stand your dowdy office, but the actual work (the job content) is something you like.  On the other hand it may be that the work itself is tedious but you have the best workmates you could ask for and work conditions and benefits are pretty good (the job process).  Maybe if you could find a way to change even one of the things making you miserable, you could actually move towards passion in your job.

Do your job and do your passion

Cheryl says: "Why not stick it out in that job?"  She acknowledges the financial reasons that we may have for staying in a job that we say we don't enjoy but she says also "Why not pursue that thing that you love?".  In other words, make time for both - as if one isn't hard enough.  I think though, that the key word here is pursue.  It may be your passion but it's not something that you can be lazy about.

Passion takes strength of character

Cheryl describes passion as that thing that drives you forward, the thing that you believe you will die physically or spiritually if you don't do it.  So then why, I ask is it that some of us can suppress that.  Surely everyone would be walking around living their passion all over everyone else if they were experiencing it right?  Well it turns out that our passion can be buried deep after years of 'doing things the way we are expected to do them'.  Not only can fitting in make us more accepted, but it can also suffocate our passion side.  People who live and work their passion are able to do that no matter what is said about them.  For them Cheryl says, "The big deep fortitude of a 'must' or 'why' looks like strength but that's passion."

Some people are lucky

There are some people who leave you in awe, or just make you sick because they seem to effortlessly live and work their passion.  Cheryl calls these people lucky: "They're some people who follow their calling from day one and it requires no extraordinary strength or mental resilience...They just came out the womb doing this thing so magically that it was easy for their parents to say they gotta do it...They appear to be 'lucky' is because never occurred to them to do anything other than following their gifts; then atop that they get to do what they love because they are supported by their parents and loved ones."  In other words no barriers, no fight, no suppression required.

Your Passion doesn't have to pay

Quote: "Where did you get the idea that your passion has to pay?"
Quote: "You can add value without having to make money!"
End Quote

Enough said?  Well not quite.  Cheryl acknowledges that some so-called gurus have been irresponsible in their spin on passion, giving the impression that quitting your job to follow your passion is the best scenario.  But as she puts it passion without the 'growth mindset' will leave you lacking if it's riches you're expecting from your passion.  What is the 'growth mindset' you ask?  It's the opposite of "Oh just do what you love and the money will follow".  It's having an active plan for how that thing that you love can lead to a livelihood, financial security and yes maybe riches.  Don't have that plan?  Well just enjoy your passion for what it's worth.

Cheryl 'Nyara' Gittens is founder of Connect With Your Passion Life Coaching Inc. based in Barbados.  She has been  an Organisational Behaviour Specialist for 18 years, turning around teams and eliciting higher levels of performance. You can connect with Cheryl at to arrange for speaking engagements.

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