At the end of the month, I have the privilege of working with a group of executive women to help them rekindle passion and joy in their personal and professional lives. Part of the fun of my job involves researching different tools and strategies, so reading The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood has been intriguing and revealing.
The authors go to great lengths to define the difference between passion and goals, and in reading this, I realized my own shortcomings when attempting to “follow my passion” as we so often hear and are advised. The Attwoods attest that “Passions are how you live your life. Goals are the things you choose to live your life.” What’s the difference? A passion is how you choose to live your life while a goal is something you aim to achieve.
Let’s say that your passion is to live a life of peace – a goal would then be to create peace in your corner of the world, either at home or work. Or perhaps you aspire to financial security –that’s a goal, and your passion is the freedom of choice that security provides. It’s a fine line and the overall process can be summed up as “Passions are about process. Goals are about outcomes.”
So what are you really, truly passionate about? What makes your heart sing and time fly by? What would you do if money were no object? What is so important to you that you would choose it over money?
These are fascinating and difficult questions to answer with absolute clarity for many of us. When thinking of my own situation, my passion is to inspire, encourage and empower people - I’ve done it all my life, both paid and unpaid. The Attwoods declare that until you are absolutely clear about your personal passion, setting goals can be a futile activity. When you have clarity about your passions, only then can your goals be aligned and that’s when we starting creating the life we choose.
Pretty heavy thinking and then again, not. Personally, I am exploring what the last decades of my professional life are to be - and bringing clarity about my passion to empower others is one of those “aha” moments. Getting the balance between our passions and the goals to align with them is the key to putting our passion into play.