The Passion Pitfall


We’ve all heard versions of these quotes meant to inspire us to follow our dreams:

"Love what you do, and you'll never work a day in your life." "Find your passion." "Follow your passion; it will lead you to your purpose."

The message is a good one: dedicating yourself to whatever you’re passionate about can lead to a meaningful, purposeful career. And in many cases, it truly can.

The person who’s passionate about helping people turns that into a long, fruitful career as a therapist. Someone who’s passionate about the written word works really hard and becomes a successful author who brings joy to millions.

There are countless ways that our passions can translate into jobs, and by extension, lucrative careers. And isn’t that a magical thing?

Yes, of course, it is.

I submit, however, that it is a rare thing.

I would argue that we are doing future generations a disservice by emphasizing the importance of CAREER equaling PASSION.

Don’t get me wrong. I think encouraging our children to reach for the stars and strive for their dreams is important and valuable. I strongly believe in setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I just don’t think that everyone should expect their passions to be their careers.

By all means, have something in your life that inspires you—that drives you and brings you immense satisfaction and fulfillment. After all, what else are we living for??

But it doesn’t have to be the way you make money.

There are jobs in our society that are absolutely important and necessary that may not be anyone’s “passion.” They are valuable and vital to our world, and the execution of them makes our world a better place. There is immense honor and satisfaction in a job well done—in working hard faithfully and consistently.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that “Following Your Passion” to make a living is a lovely idea.

But it’s not necessarily reality for most people.

My husband has a mind that is SUPER mechanical. He can fix anything. These skills apply to computers, vehicles, carpentry, electronics—you name it. He has worked really hard over the last 15+ years and now has a successful appliance repair company. He built it from the ground up and puts his absolute best into that company day in and day out. I am constantly in awe of how hard he works and how much of his down time is dedicated to making the business even better.

But it is definitely not his passion.

It is something he’s really, really good at. He’s worked hard to make it a successful career and he gives it 110% every single day. He does it because he has a great work ethic and is a responsible member of society with a family to take care of. He does it because being successful allows him the opportunity to pursue his actual passions.

I know countless others like my husband who work hard because that is what most of us must do to pay the bills and do our part to contribute to society.

Instead of living to work, we work to LIVE.

So please, pursue those passions whatever they may be. Find those things that make life worth living—that make it a beautiful journey full of joy. Just don’t buy into the hype that your job has to be the “Be All End All” of fulfillment.