Five Keys to Keeping Your Passion at Work
By Mark Sincevich
could hear my Father’s voice saying, “What are the lessons of
driving in a run-down neighborhood?”
First make sure all of your doors are locked.
The next lesson is to be keenly aware of your surroundings.
You need to notice every detail, including the way you came, in
case a fast getaway is necessary.
Avoid looking at anyone for very long or not at all, and make
sure not to leave any valuables in your car.
Of course the last lesson is useless if you can’t find a
guarded parking lot. I
repeated these things over and over in my head as I drove north on
Interstate 295 looking for my exit.
was worried about my safety as I drove past abandoned lots with an
eclectic assortment of yard art, houses that stopped wishing to be
painted, and working age people hanging out on street corners holding
what I hoped were lunches in brown paper bags. I had been hired to
photograph a Children’s Memorial Flag Day Ceremony.
I entered the school and passed through an early model metal
detector manned by a security guard.
When the honor guard brought in the stars and stripes to the
auditorium, I started snapping away.
I listened to teachers and dignitaries and to students that
read poetry and rose to literary heights.
One turned into an instant rap star!
She motivated the entire audience with her message of ‘living
more each day.’ The goose bumps on my arms reminded me of why I was
there in the first place, to motive others through my photography.
I was now concentrating on how I was helping instead of how I
could be hurt.
Why even in the safest of neighborhoods do some people barely say
hello or smile as we walk past? Part of the problem is our rising
dependency on personal technical appliances, but it also has more to
do with not really feeling connected to ourselves.
Technology is a futile attempt to cover up the lack of rich
interpersonal communication that has defined countless generations
before us. How many people
do you know that don’t feel connected to the physical world around
them or to the work that they do?
We are searching for the connection ‘out there’ when we
need to establish a passionate connection to ourselves first. I
have discovered that there are five keys or concepts that will help
you to keep your passion while at work.
Keep a File of Awesome People:
of the best ways to start learning about what you are passionate about
is by keeping a file. When
you read an article that is really inspiring, tear it out of the
magazine and put it into a file. When
you get an e-mail from a colleague that really inspires you, print it
and put this into your file. I
started doing this many years ago with a file called “Awesome
People.” It has now
morphed into many sub-files, but the concept remains the same. If you
want to have a rich life, start by studying the positive lessons of
others. The more examples you have in your file, the more motivated
you will be to live your life in a similar way both at work and at
home. Also, organizations
that encourage their employees to follow their passions will find
workers who are more engaged, aware and contributory.
I would rather have my organization represented by somebody who
cared deeply for the mission instead of somebody who just wanted a
a list of compelling reasons why you are doing your work in the first
place and put it in a place where you can refer to it constantly.
Concentrate on your top 5 reasons.
If your list is less than positive, it will serve as motivation
for you to keep looking for other motivating factors.
Maybe you need to get more training or to work with a colleague
in another department. I
thought that if I could work for a high-technology start-up company
with stock options, then I could ‘cash out,’ and do what I really
wanted. I signed up to
sell computer software as employee number 30 out of 180 people.
I was lured by 40,000 options and a big base salary, but not
for the type of work. For
the first six months we didn’t have a product to sell, the next
three months we were still figuring it out, and by the ast three
months we attained half of our sales goal and half the company was
laid off. I realized that
I was going after money and not the passion for the job.
While I didn’t get the opportunity to ‘cash out,’ I did
get closer to discovering the work for which I was best suited.
I kept a journal of my progress in order to remind myself of
the personal discoveries and sacrifices I had made along the way.
you waiting for somebody to come along and give you more passion?
It won’t happen. It
has to come from deep inside. Now
that you have a file of people you admire and the reason’s why you
are engaged in the work that you do, you need to launch into some new
ideas that will help inject additional passion into your work.
Sometimes just getting out of the starting gate is all that you
need. I spoke to a friend
this week that said that she really wants to start writing
children’s books. However,
she wants to wait for the right idea.
This would be a main character that will have a series of
adventures over several books. Instead
of just starting to write, she is already putting a mountain of
pressure on herself to succeed wildly with a series.
Many people have started successful divisions within their
current companies with a great track record and the passion to create
something really important. William
Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors that make us lose the
good we might oft find by fearing to attempt.” I remember waking up
in the morning with sore teeth before I left the computer field.
I went to the dentist thinking that I had cavities, but he said
that I was grinding my teeth. I
was very tense as I ventured into the great beyond.
However, the I focused on my passion, the more I learned to
trust in the process.
Make a Commitment:
a ‘working plan of action’ going
forward to give you stability and comfort.
I worked with a former employer to transfer to a different
division within the same company.
I made a commitment of at least a year to help me increase my
passion. This is
especially important when trying to deal with managing your stress
when the road before you is not clearly laid out. It might take even
longer depending upon the type of work. This commitment for a longer
length of time not only gives you credibility, but it also takes into
account The Law of the Harvest. Farmer’s
know this very well. What
you plant in the spring will grow into a beautiful plant by autumn.
This process can’t be forced or rushed.
However, all plants need constant watering, nourishment and a
positive environment. Don’t
forget this! How many
plans fail due to inattention and lack of support? Take this into
account going forward and be open to constructive criticism.
Have Faith in Yourself:
can you accomplish this? A
large part is attitude! Surround
yourself with people who support you in your organization and when you
are with friends and family. I
asked a very successful neighbor who sold his first company for many
millions how he was able to manage the stress of uncertainty as he
followed his passions. He
said, “I don’t ask myself if something is going to work; instead,
I ask how it is going to work?”
With comments like these and a supportive work environment, you
will start to feel more in control of your life.
Another way to have more faith in yourself is to go to bed
every night and visualize how excited you are about the work that you
do. Your subconscious mind
will work ‘behind the scenes’ to help make your dreams come true.
What is your dream for increasing your passion at work and how
are you going to make it come true?
I was more than doing my job; I was taking passionate photographs
in the press pool during a Senate Subcommittee hearing on
appropriations when a low level alarm sounded recently on Capitol
Hill. Capitol police
rushed in and helped herd everyone out of the door and onto the
streets. I was told that
this was not a drill. Immediately
black SUV’s with the blue flashing lights of the U.S. Secret Service
zoomed through the crowd as they transported VIPs away from the
Capitol. F-16’s and
helicopters patrolled overhead. I
turned around and photographed thousands of people streaming down the
hill towards Union Station, many passing me.
I felt lightheaded as I imagined we were under a gas attack or
that a dirty bomb had exploded. I
fought back repeated tears wondering if I would ever see my family
again. In 20 minutes, we
learned it was a false alarm and I called my wife to tell her that I
loved her. Doing work that
we love means being engaged in the world around us.
We need to learn not to lock out the world, but to let it wash
over us through our smiles, our voices and our hearts. When you
increase the passionate connection to yourself, the quality of your
work and life will greatly improve.
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