August 23 – The “object” of my passions isn’t an object

August 23. “A strong passion for any object will ensure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means.” (William Hazlitt)

How badly do you want it? That question is often heard in sports circles. Teams or individuals going after a championship will often be asked – usually rhetorically – just how badly they want the goal. Sometimes a team will become a “team of destiny”, and will out perform other teams of greater talent, because they have a greater passion for the goal.

Very often the difference between reaching a goal, or gaining the possession of a cherished object, comes down to that same question. There is an underlying assumption that the person reaching for the goal has the requisite talent and means to succeed, without that no amount of passion will get them to the end. But that aside, answering how badly the person wants it, how deep is their passion, will be the predictor of success.

Over the years in my career there have been some real “go getters” at work. These are people who are very clearly motivated by being considered for their next promotion. They work hard at what they are doing, but it is more than that. Their eye is always on that prize, that next level in the company. All that they do seems to support reaching that goal. Most of them do it with grace, and their passion is admirable. These people will use the shoulders of those around them to stand taller as they build their way up, others use the people around them as stepping stones on which they trample their way through.

I have never thought of myself as the “go getter” type, at least not in the past decade and a half. I am content with my level in the company, and put my passions toward successful completion of projects rather than my own ascension through the ranks. That doesn’t mean that I think people who get promotions aren’t interested in project delivery, because they clearly are. It just means that I don’t have that same eye toward promotion that they do.

Sometimes I wonder if this attitude is keeping me from fulfilling some particular pattern for success. It is then that I realize I need to step back and reassess where my passion lies. My passion does not lie in climbing the corporate ladder. If it did, then my focus would be there. My passion lies with my friends and family. Being successful there is far more important to me than being a rising star at work.

This morning my reflection is on where my passions lie. I know that my passions are in the right place when my primary direction is facing away from work. When my primary focus in life is on the relationships in my life, I know that I am following my passion.

The truth is that, for me, there isn’t an “object” for which I have passion, and that’s just fine with me.

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