Do You Chase Titles or Chase Your Passion?


I encourage all my coaching clients to use the lessons they uncover during our sessions to coach the people on their own teams. I learned a long time ago that the best way to really learn something is to teach it to someone else, because in doing so you internalize the lesson yourself.

On a recent coaching call one of my high performing clients brought up a coaching conversation with one of her team members. She expressed frustration with her inability to get this talented person to understand something she herself had to learn the hard way – that getting promoted to the “next title” or “next role” doesn’t always equate to contentment, happiness and fulfilling your true passion. In fact, many times the next job title achieves the exact opposite.

In our highly accelerated, ever-changing workplace, it’s easy to start making assumptions about what we “should” want for our careers and ourselves. It seems logical that the next “title” or “promotion” should be the answer to everything. Yet how many times has this been proven wrong?

If it truly was the answer to everything, then why are we seeing study after study confirming that so many talented individuals are feeling discontented, disengaged and unfulfilled with their work life? What we’ve learned is a simple truth – more $$ doesn’t necessarily equate to more happiness.

Think about all the times you were absolutely certain that a new job, new title, new project or new responsibility was exactly what you were looking for, only to be disappointed when you actually got there.

The biggest reason for this is simple: very few people have actually taken the time to be present enough to figure out exactly what they really want.

Do a little survey this week of people around you. Ask them what it is they truly want. Once you get past the obvious things like “more money,” “big house,” “exotic car” or “win the lottery,” ask again. After a long, awkward pause most people have nothing left to tell you, or they blow off the question and make a joke or cynical remark, or some canned response like “world peace.” Again, most will not have much to say.

This phenomenon is the exact reason why the next “title” or “promotion” seems to make sense, because it’s easier than stepping off the treadmill and asking yourself some really tough questions about who you are, what you stand for and what is really important to you.

As a coach, I’ve made it my mission to help my clients get what they want, yet most of our time initially is deciding exactly what that is. Many times the answers to that question aren’t easy to live with, especially if you realize you aren’t in the job or career that will fulfill that need.

If you are in a job or career that is in alignment with your true passion, than cheers to you and hopefully you are enabling others to do the same. If you are not, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job, as there are ways to align your passions with your role, once you decide what that looks like. A good coach, mentor or friend can help you through the process (no, I’m not applying for a job, although I’d be happy to get you started down the path).

It’s interesting because I’m hearing a lot of concern about the influx of Millennials in the workplace. Based on my discussions with them, I think we should admire what many of them have going on, because, for the most part, they aren’t out there chasing titles. Rather, they’re spending the time needed to decide what they are truly passionate about and pursuing that instead.

So, what do you really want?

Ask yourself this week:

Am I chasing the next title or am I focusing on my passion?

How am I challenging my team and those around me to align their passion with their roles?

Where do I need to help create real meaning in the work I’m doing to get fired up about it?

Have I taken the time to be present and figure out exactly what I want?

“Life if not a dress rehearsal and we don’t get a do over in the end.”

Thoughts for the week

-If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passions. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose. –Bishop T Jakes

-The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.- Oprah Winfrey

-Passion is the oxygen of the soul.– Bill Butler

-Finding your passion isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other peoples needs.– Kristin Hannah

-There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. –Nelson Mandela

-I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious. –Albert Einstein

Post your favorite quotes about true passion below

Looking forward to our next conversation

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