Finding and Following Your Passion
Having goals is important but where do your goals come from? For the last several years I’ve used a system of Do, Be, Have, to set my goals. It’s been helpful to clarify what is important and I like the way you break things down; organization is my middle name after all. But, whether I achieve them or not has been somewhat random.
Recently I devoured the book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth. And she has helped me to understand that without a clear vision of your top- level goal, you may be running around frantically “doing” but not getting anywhere in particular. Hmmm, is that why I’m so tired?
Let’s talk about this for a minute. Have you really thought about what is driving you and where you want to end up? Passion, Duckworth espouses, is what you need to have as your driving force.
“…figure out what you enjoy doing most in life, and then try to do it full-time. Life is short. Follow your passion.” Will Shortz
Ok, great but how do we find our passion?
That, it seems to me, is a lifelong journey. I think we all find passion from time to time, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we get to follow it for a while. That said, it may change from time to time, or morph from one version to another. And, that’s okay. Starting in one direction, and then moving in another doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish your goals. Maybe, you accomplish one and move on to the next. Or, perhaps, you realize that moving in a different direction is where you want to go. It doesn’t matter. Using your passion as your North Star is what matters.
“Interest is one source of passion. Purpose – the intention to contribute to the well-being of others- is another. The mature passions of gritty people depend on both.” Angela Duckworth – Grit
I, personally, have been lucky. I didn’t find my passion early, but I know that I am on the right road now. However, more clearly defining it will help me to meet my goals. So how do I, or you, do this?
Duckworth recommends three ways to cultivate a sense of purpose:
- Reflecting on how the work you’re already doing can make a positive contribution to society.
- Thinking about how, in small but meaningful ways, you can change your current work to enhance its connection to your core values.
- Finding inspiration in a purposeful role model.
My company motto has been “passionately helping businesses succeed”, but is that enough? I’m not sure any more. Not that I don’t love doing that, because I do, but maybe there’s more to it.
As John Wooden said, “though a team has to do a million things well, figuring out the overarching vision is of utmost importance.”
For years I’ve said that I have an outside mission; the one above, and an inside mission; “empowering women personally and financially”. Maybe, it’s time to more clearly define those into one more powerful vision.
“Personally & professionally empowering others financially through education, assistance and leadership.”
But, back to goals. If one’s goals aren’t tied to an overriding, clear, passionate vision, they aren’t likely to take you anywhere in particular. What Duckworth helped to clarify for me, is that goals are hierarchical. You start with your top-level goal, which is driven by your vision, which comes from your passion, and move down from there. Breaking your top-level goal into more manageable mid-level and low- level goals.
The low-level goals are easier to achieve but must not take you in the wrong direction. Ask yourself, every time you have a new opportunity, or consider a new project, will this help me reach my top-level goal? If it takes you to a different end, then perhaps, it’s not the right opportunity. Look again, see if something else would better serve your long term, top-level goal. And then, go in that direction.
Stop going in a million different directions, find your North Star and focus everything you do in that direction.
That’s my goal for 2019. What’s yours?
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.