Passion is an emotion applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something. The term is also often applied to a lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love. When we think about someone we know who is passionate about their career, their family or life in general, we picture someone who is truly alive and full of vitality. Their inner and outer energy is contagious and we secretly wish we could be more like such people in some, if not all areas of our lives. What do they possess that other people do not have? What have they discovered that has allowed them to be their “authentic selves”? Is this something that can be learned or discovered by anyone? These are all burning questions that need answers if our world is to be inhabited by people who all believe that they were put here for a purpose, and that they are part of a higher plan to make this world a better place.
“Resignation is the acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable: a shrug of resignation” – Oxford Dictionary. We all know people who have essentially given up on having a fulfilled life. They have resigned themselves to simply getting by and biding their time until something better comes along, or even until death knocks at their door. It is true that many people in our world are not fortunate enough to change the circumstances or fate they have been dealt. There are billions of people in our world who live in underdeveloped countries and are well below the poverty line with no foreseeable way out of their plight. But there are also many people who live in developed nations who can change their circumstances for the better, but who simply choose to be resigned about their unhappiness and lack of passion.
We all too often yield to an attitude of resignation in situations that require some maneuvering, determination and perseverance to pursue our passion. We convince ourselves that the difference to our lives won’t be that noticeable. After all, others around us don’t seem to be jumping through hoops to find their passion. We fall prey to the belief that we are insignificant in the grand scheme of things and whether we live a passion-driven life or not, the world around us will continue to tick along. The problem with this type of resignation is that if everyone did the same thing, we would have an awfully dysfunctional and inefficient society, not to mention a lot of unhappy and unmotivated people! To find and live our passion, it takes courage, determination and a belief that we all have specific talents to use for the benefit of ourselves and others in society.
Another major problem with passion vs. resignation is that our educational systems are too heavily focused on academics and sadly lacking in career guidance. Young people need to be taught and guided from the start of secondary school that they have talents and gifts that are linked to their inner passion, which is most commonly lived out through their life-long careers. Most young adults become despondent and bewildered at the astounding number of careers to choose from, and with little to no career guidance and passion discovery processes, they often develop an attitude of resignation which can become ingrained for the remainder of their lives! The US Department of Labor in 2010 listed over 840 various types of careers from which people can choose! Thus if people are assisted in discovering the vocational careers that match their interests, intelligence types, values, and work-styles, they are much more likely to develop better self-efficacy and passion, which will last for the remainder of their lives. Here are some questions to reflect on:
- Are you currently living a passionate and purpose-driven life?
- What areas of your life do you think you need to have more passion about?
- Do you have unfulfilled dreams that you have simply let fall by the wayside?
- If so, is there anything that you are willing to do in order to rekindle those dreams and to live a more passionate and purpose-driven life?
As Coaches, it is our desire to help people live happier and more fulfilled lives. After all, Coaching is all about the client’s self-awareness and self-discovery process, and assisting the client in making progress along the path to self actualization and achieving vision-oriented goals. Many parents contact us to say that their teenage son or daughter is very confused about where his or her life is headed because he or she does not like his current program in University, where he or she has already spent two years, and over thousands of dollars! They often say that their son or daughter has become despondent and resigned to the fact that they may never find that elusive career that will lead to a purpose-driven and fulfilling life. They ask if there is anything we can do in our coaching practice to help their child find and develop his or her passion, and to get out of this state of resignation that he or she is currently experiencing.
What is the first step that should be taken to turn their child’s life around before it is too late and before the attitude of resignation becomes deeply ingrained in his psyche? The first step that we take as Coaches is to have a meeting with the parents and their child to discuss and understand the current situation more fully, and to inform them of the services we offer in our Coaching practice. This is a good opportunity for us to discover how willing their child is to commit to the process of Career and Life coaching, and to make some changes in his or her University program if necessary, in order to move onto a career path that is more aligned with his or her interests, intelligence types, values, and work-styles. Once a good foundation is laid for the Coaching relationship, we as the Coaches explain our Coaching model, process and expected timelines to the client (their son or daughter in this case), and once the Coaching agreement is executed, a schedule for the upcoming sessions is established. The client is encouraged to commit to these sessions by diarizing them in his or her calendar or mobile device.
Our model includes Psychometric assessments that help the client discover his or her values, interests and passions. It provides a good starting point for the self-discovery process and generally helps to reignite some passion in his or her psyche. As the Coaching process moves along, the client usually starts to get a clearer picture of his or her passion and “life purpose”. This in turn tends to lead to a shift in the career path he or she is currently pursuing. An action plan is then constructed by the client to move from his or her current career path to one that is more aligned with his or her passion. Of course, this process may take a number of months to complete, and approximately four to eight Coaching sessions. Finally, we as the Coaches hold the client accountable to their action plan so that they can successfully make the shift by applying to Universities, Colleges, or Trade Schools for the newly discovered career path.
In summary, we should not yield to resignation when there may be other unexplored ways of pursuing our passion. As the old saying goes, “where there is a will, there is a way.”