Don’t DO what you love; BE what you love

Alex Mathers


(Author’s note: written several months ago)

A few days ago, I was coaching a group of twenty-five or so faces on my screen.

I’m new to speaking in front of larger groups online, and still get nervous before pressing ‘start Zoom meeting’. I’m learning though and always come away from these discussions invigorated.

The topic for that evening was passion.

What emerged quickly reflected my own struggles. It’s not always easy to be passionate about the projects we work on.

There are elements of a lot of our work that seems tedious, dry and uninviting.

What can we do to bring more passion into our work?

Is it about finding the perfect job?

Many of us often jump from one thing to the next as an antidote for one’s disinterestedness.

‘Oh look, let’s try this quirky new thing for a while and see how it goes.’

A few weeks go by, and we see that it isn’t making us as passionate as we thought it would be.

‘Oh well. Not for me. On to the next thing.’

This is not to say that we can’t choose something that is better suited to our strengths, talents and interests.

In speaking through this with several members of the group, something was slowly revealed:

The unreliability of looking for passion outside of ourselves.

If our sense of passion is dependent on certain projects, professions, clients and conditions to be just right, guess what happens…?

The search never ends.

It’s like relationships.

There is always some new thing onto which we can project our opinions:

‘Not my thing.’
‘This just isn’t me.’
‘I absolutely love this.’

Either that, or we find that the thing we chose to do because it was the thing we ‘love’ to do…

…gets tarnished over time. We bring money and ‘grinding’ into the equation, and the colour seems to drain from what I thought would be a life-long passion…