We like to talk a lot about following our passions. What we mention a lot less, though, is that passion can mean suffering.
I was recently watching Todd Henry’s talk “Be Creative Under Pressure” from the 3% Conference. The whole video is worth a watch, but one part especially stuck with me: He talks about the Latin root for the word passion: to suffer or to endure.
Think about people, things and ideas you’ve been passionate about in the last few years. Now, can you think of the suffering that accompanied those passions?
The prospect of creating something great and new fires our passion. But then we discover that creation means stepping out of our comfort zones. It takes risk, fear, failure and growth.
When people and organizations are clear about what they stand for, what they value and where they are going, the hard choices become clearer. The suffering that comes with passion and making great things come to life in this world doesn’t derail them as they go after what they want.
That’s why when we first start working with companies, teams and execs, we get VERY clear about what they care about most.
If you aren’t sure where your passion and purpose lie, you’re far from alone, but you need to do this work. Look at what and whom you gravitate toward. What themes do you see in what excites you?
It’s also pretty common for creative people to have lots of passions. Which is great, but the problem is that your energy becomes diffuse. Which of your passions do you need to prioritize now?
This kind of clarity is the best shield you have against adversity. It can tell you it’s time to leave a company because there’s no alignment between your passion and its mission. It can help keep you going in a situation that’s difficult but that’s giving you the skills or relationships you need for your true passion. And it helps you weather setbacks and obstacles that always come with creation.