YOU DO YOU
In Pursuit of Passion
Many people cite passion as the key to finding fulfillment while avoiding debilitating stress.
But where does passion come from?
How can you find your own passionate spark and stoke it into a life-changing flame?
There’s no single “right” way to find your passion.
Find a path that appeals to you or even forge your own:
Path 1: Uncover a passion buried beneath other priorities.
Author Mark Manson believes most people know their passion but struggle to accept it and fit it into other priorities.
“It’s right there in front of you, you’re just avoiding it. For whatever reason, you’re avoiding it. You’re telling yourself, ‘Oh well, yeah, I love comic books but that doesn’t count. You can’t make money with comic books.’”
Accept your passion:
- What do you spend most of your time thinking about, talking about, or daydreaming about?
- Be patient if you can’t think of the answer immediately.
- It might be buried in your subconscious, in a pile of ideas and dreams you’ve labeled as “unrealistic.”
- Brainstorm small, risk-free ways to incorporate it into your life. (Example: Starting a comic-book interest social media group or meet-up instead of trying to sell them for a living.)
Path 2: Essay your passion into existence.
The Muse recommends making an inventory of everything you enjoy doing, both inside and outside of work.
Essay your passion:
- Set a timer for 30 minutes.
- Write down every interest that comes to mind.
- For each listed interest, answer the following questions:
- What do I love about this?
- What aspects (people, location, tasks) stand out as the most satisfying part of this?
- How did this make me feel?
- Scan your list for the patterns and recurrences that point to your passion.
Path 3: Develop your passion instead of finding it.
In their reporting on a research paper, The Atlantic calls out two potential frames of mind through which people approach passion.
- Fixed: Interests, abilities, and passions are essentially pre-destined and immutable.
- Growth: Interests, abilities, and passions can be selected and cultivated.
The particular study detailed in the paper found that people who favored a growth mindset experienced more satisfaction, curiosity, and resilience against failure.
Develop your passion:
- Select a passion you want to pursue.
- Pinpoint why it’s meaningful to you and why “giving up” is not an option.
- Work on it and keep working on it, regardless of failures and setbacks.
Bonus tip: Take a passion quiz!
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The Best-Kept Secret of Professional Development Funding
Cathy Mazak, professor and writing coach, knows a simple secret for anyone trying to get their hands on professional development funds in any industry.
“What I’ve learned is that there is always money somewhere; you just have to know where to look and who to ask.”
In her post/podcast episode, which is targeted toward academics, Mazak recommends tying funding requests to your organization’s strategic plan.
“This is grant-writing 101: align what you are asking for to the institution’s goals,” she says. “Your university says that it wants to retain women faculty? Quote that in your funding request letter.”
Speaking of funding request letters, Mazak also offers a letter template anyone can access and make their own. (Again, it’s targeted toward academics, but anyone in any industry can use it as a solid starting point.)
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CAT Your Way to Brilliance
Strong attention to detail is only an asset if you can translate what you notice into practical insight, and unfortunately, many people find insights remarkably elusive, even when they have more than enough information.
Transform details and information into golden ideas by remembering insights are like cats. You can chase them all you want, but they’re more likely to jump into your lap if you just leave them alone.
Try the CAT method during your next brainstorm:
- C – Cast aside initial conclusions.
- A – Avoid assumptions. They limit your creativity and your objectivity.
- T – Take a step back. Take a break. You might be surprised at what your brain can do during a little break.)
3 Things Organizations with Strong Learning Cultures Get Right
Hoping to build a culture of learning at your company? Follow these examples.
1) Learning cultures use systems to support and encourage employees.
A review of case studies on companies with established learning cultures points out a key conclusion: “A commitment to learning therefore develops as part of the introduction of changed systems rather than from the exhortation of managers or the goodwill of employees.”
Companies who’ve built successful learning cultures put systems, such as company-wide learning and development programs, in place to make learning readily available. They don’t place the onus of finding opportunities and funding on individuals and managers.
2) Learning cultures motivate employees to own their professional development.
Aerospace corporation Airbus accomplishes this by publishing and circulating a report that details economic and professional trends happening around the world and also within the company. Company leaders say this helps employees pinpoint developmental areas that interest them and are also in demand. The motivation to learn is an organic and mutually beneficial next step.
3) Learning cultures set the tone early.
One University of Louisville Doctoral Dissertation found that organizations can most effectively promote core learning values during the employee onboarding process.
“Once the employee embraces the culture, they are able to sustain it through living by the core values which underpin the organizational culture,” writes Devon A. Twyford, the paper’s author.
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