Not everyone has a revelation at 4 years of age that their calling is to heal people and they have no recourse but to become a physician. I have envy for those individuals that do. They have years of space in their minds to focus on something constructive like actually helping people, versus what they want to be when they grow up. That’s something some of us are never able to figure out and are left to wander through life as career gypsies.
There was some discussion recently over at CollegeRecruiter.com in a post by Dan Schawbel about whether you should introduce yourself at a networking event by what you “do” at your job. I posted a blog comment there and 4 days later I am still thinking about who we “are”, how some people shape their professional identity and how others are shaped by it. Today’s career savvy professionals position themselves as commodities via strategic personal branding. Dan and others specialize in helping others brand who they are, if they need guidance.
But, is your professional brand who you are? Unless you grew up with a “calling” probably not. For most people, what they do during the weekly 40+ is a means to a certain income that provides a certain lifestyle. While they may be passionate about what they do, their true passions lie elsewhere, not where the bread and butter is.
If you do something you love you will do everything you do better. It’s about balance.
John Surma, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel Corporation plays and coaches ice hockey. Peter Weiler, Penn State Vice President in development and alumni relations participates in ironman competitions. I have an incredibly gifted friend with an amazing marketing mind whose photography is absolutely stunning, network with a Recruiter who is a lifeguard at the beach on weekends and a customer service guru who is a scrapbooker.
None of these successful professionals are likely to turn their passions into income streams. But, these passions bring balance, joy and a much needed dimension to their lives. Additionally, passionate hobbies fuel curiosity, fresh and generous thinking, and the ability to look at questions from more than one perspective. In other words, their personal passions help them to be highly successful in their careers.
So, go ahead, be passionate about something, work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s watching. You’ll be happier and it will improve your game.
Note: Mrs. Cronauer was my very passionate 5th grade English teacher.