Passion and Your Profession

Recently I read an article written by a successful dermatologist who finally returned to her “passion” in life. It seems that she’d been an avid hiker before medical school, and even after establishing her practice, the demands of her family and patients took precedence over something she’d enjoyed doing when she was younger.

To be honest, I found the tone of her article to be a bit bittersweet. This professional sounded like she simply endured her work, and perhaps even her home life, in order to make it to the weekend for an outdoor adventure. This got me thinking again about a topic that’s been going around in some circles: Passion versus Profession.

The reason the topic has been in the forefront of some executives’ minds is that employees in the Millennial generation seem more focused on the passion they believe that they need for their job rather than their productivity or the company’s overall profits. On the other end of the spectrum, for Boomers the bottom line is often just that. And as for passion—well if there’s time and energy left over, they might get around to something “fun” after their commitments are fulfilled.

The truth of the matter is that both groups are right—and wrong. Passion and profession should go together, but they won’t always be a perfect fit. In other words, some days we’re going to love what we do—and we’ll probably be more than happy to let everyone know about it! But on other days, or in other seasons, our work might not be about excitement as much as the need for executing the business plan. This could be due to the status of the economy. It might be because of challenges in the business, the current employee mix, or even the lack of clientele. No matter what part of the Passion versus Profession continuum you may be on, here are a few tips to help you get a better perspective:

  1. I’m passionate about my profession: Then pass it on! Share the joy you have with others, and encourage them to find something that they are happy about in what they’re doing too.
  2. I’m not finding much passion in my profession: Then it’s time to evaluate where you’re at. Is this just a bad season, for whatever reason? Is there something you can do to improve your experience? Are you in the right job—or could your lack of enthusiasm be a sign it’s time to move on to another company, or even another line of work?
  3. I’m not sure I’m passionate about anything right now: The red flag should be waving if this is your answer! Stop everything you are doing and figure out WHAT you can become passionate about—sooner rather than later. Like that dermatologist, do you need to get back into a sport or activity that you love but haven’t made time for? Ask family members or friends for ideas if you’re at a complete road block. Sometimes others recognize what we’re good at or enjoy because they’ve observed our reactions during those times in our lives.

Our passions as well as our professions fuel us and feed our souls! Be sure that you have a balance of both so that you will not only be successful but you’ll also experience a well-rounded, satisfying life.