Stop Telling People to Find/List their Passions

mocha momentsIt screws them up.

Whenever we talk about finding something it means that we don’t have it and we need to go look for it.  It’s out  there somewhere and if we can only find it, then we can do something with it.

The Future of HR: What’s next for the profession was the name of the presentation delivered by Robert Garcia – Director of Global Business, SHRM at HRMATT’s breakfast seminar last Tuesday morning. Robert delivered an excellent presentation, identifying areas of pain related to employee engagement, turnover, opportunities and work flexibility and how whatever happened in one area affected the overall brand perception of each business: was it a great/good/or not so great a place to work.

With 70% of employees disengaged or actively disengaged – that is ACTING out their unhappiness – this is a huge cost to organizations and a problem worth solving. [450 billion a year is what disengagement cost businesses – the actually stat that Robert provided]

One of the key takeaways was that organizations needed to help under-performers turn around. How? Help them to find their passion. How? List all the things you’re passionate about….


And this is the part that screws people up. As I was about to write this post I Googled passion and found that my hero Braveblogging31Richard Branson (whom I met briefly during a Tobago Jazz Experience and who gave me the best business advice ever: “make sure you get paid for what you do.”) was sharing a similar piece of advice.

Here’s the question:

Q: I have been told many times over the years, “You have a great attitude and drive, and an excellent mind. You should be an entrepreneur.” But what the heck should I do? I have limited funds and resources. Everything that looks like promising, someone else is doing or has done. I am unsure how to make an idea new or improved, which is frustrating. So what the heck should I do? – Daniel Armstrong

And here’s part one of Sir Richard’s answer (the part I disagree with):

Make a list of all the things you are passionate about or that interest you. It doesn’t matter if these items seem trivial or random — something on your list could spark a great entrepreneurial idea.

Find your passion is one of the worst pieces of advice ever and we need to stop recommending it by itself as a cure-all Click to tweet

Most people get VERY stuck when asked to think about or list their passions.

“I don’t know what I’m passionate about”

“I LIKE certain things but am I passionate about it? That’s another question.”

“I am not passionate about anything.”

Passion is important but building anything on pure passion alone is a recipe for disaster Click to tweet

Focus instead on your giftedness.

This isn’t just about finding your strengths and although passion plays a part it, it isn’t ONLY about finding your passion. It’s about looking at some of your best circumstances, the relationships within which you bloomed, (or didn’t), the environments where you thrived (or didn’t ) and the meaning and satisfaction that you seek.

Your giftedness is like a thumbprint or a snowflake. Robert J. Stevenson says

“Most people suffer under the delusion that the gifted and talented make up less than 5 percent of the population. That’s wrong. One hundred percent of us are gifted and talented.”

There are many gifted people who are disengaged BECAUSE they’re doing the wrong job for the wrong reason. No standardized test can describe your uniqueness. The answer lies within you. The repeating pattern of your giftedness lies within the stories you tell that reveal what you enjoy doing and what circumstances motivate you to bring all of you to the table and blossom.

Want to find out more about your giftedness? Send me an email giselle (at) gisellehudson (dot) com with “giftedness” in the subject line.

There is no unemployment for a person who knows his/her gifts well enough to communicate and leverage them.


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more like it why don’t you Grab my weekly newsletter – Chocolate for the Cranium™ here – It’s packed full of strategies and tools to help you to tap into WHO YOU REALLY ARE and develop the confidence to make decisions in your business and life from that place of certainty and trust.

2 responses to “Stop Telling People to Find/List their Passions”

  1. Giselle, this is truly tremendous! Your assessment of Richard Branson’s comments really hit home! I look forward to sharing you knowledge and insights with more and more people because you, my dear friend, are most certainly gifted:-)

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