Monday, July 14, 2008

OFG V: Fill your life with passion

If there is one thing this OFG has learned well, it is that people are creatures of habit. We tend, when left to our own devices, to do the same things over and over.

This can be a good thing—if your habit is getting regular exercise or visiting your mother or being kind to strangers in need—or not so good.

If one develops early on the habit of accepting less than one is worth when they take a job, that person is likely to be stuck in a dead-end career when they suddenly wake up at 50 and realize that they are desperately unhappy in their job and have no idea, late in the game, how to change that fact.

More encouragingly, when one grows comfortable with speaking their mind, as an example, it becomes an easy thing to do, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

That’s the key for today: know that you can learn habitual behavior which will serve you well in the times of your life when you are most in need of that very behavior.

I like to think we all have the capacity to live in a way which is passion-filled, which is rich with experiences we enjoy and thrive in. For me, that life is likely very different than for you. For example, I am having a blast right now, very early on a weekend morning, so early that the light of a new day is still a promise, not something I can see yet. And all I am doing is sitting here, typing these words on a computer keyboard.

I’m passionate about what I am typing, though, and I am enriched by the experience. So, this example shows that living a life of passion need not mean that there is some big, showy indication to others that you are. Of course, for some, there is a really big, showy thing going on: think of the folks whose passion is to jump off high places with elastic cords tied to themselves. Bungee jumpers don’t generally do what they do for any other reason than the thrill they feel during their jump. But you can sure see their passion!

What happens to many of us, as we move from the age where someone else takes care of us into our adult lives when we are expected to care for ourselves, and on into our later years when, for many, there is again someone taking care of us, is that we miss something. What do we miss? We miss what, for us, is our life’s passion.

In my case, I developed a serious passion for computers. I learned how to program computers at a young age, spent a number of years working as a software developer, and then transitioned smoothly into a more service-oriented area, still working with computers, at a time when I had become less passionate about programming.

In common both in my earlier years as a programmer and my later years as a technician, network and infrastructure support person, and now manager of a technology support group is the joy I get from learning how things work. I loved to get a computer to tap dance to my tune. Now, I love to figure out a problem which is holding someone back from getting their own job done. More directly today than in my days as a programmer, I see the smile on people’s faces as they realize their horrible problem is over and done with. That’s a fun part of my job.

Just in the last couple of years, I have developed a passion for learning more about people, and specifically, about managing people in a business situation. I have found that, in seeking to develop the skills and increase the contribution of people one manages, it works really well if the situation becomes one where the goals of the individual are aligned with the needs of the company.

For me, that translates into caring deeply about the people who work for me, even as I am passionate about meeting the needs of my employer to the best of my ability. I spend a lot of energy helping the folks who work for me find passion in what they are doing, and the end result is gratifying as I can see them enjoying their jobs. Knowing we’re providing an excellent support experience for the people we help is a powerful feeling. It’s rewarding for us, and it is a good return on our employer’s investment in us. That's what you call a sustainable relationship.

How are you inspired to be passionate in your life today? Can you see yourself using habitual behavior to help you reach your goals?

I’d love to hear from you and learn what you think about passion. See that Comments button? You know what to do.

1 comment:

Olivia said...

I have been thinking about this since yesterday, and for the life of me, cannot think of anything I am passionate about any more, but perhaps this is because of depression. I am truly in survival mode.

I know that I used to be passionate about many things. I value passion highly. I hope someday to be passionate about the old things that used to mean so much to me---like Hawaii, reading, my marriage, my garden, reading, sudoku, and even more.

But for now, I'm trying to make it from one day to the other, putting one foot in front of the other, glad for the ease at which this can happen at occasional times. I suppose you could say that I'm passionate about my recovery from depression and about never going back on SSRI's, which is something, for sure.

Habitual behavior is the key to my recovery from depression. Taking one day at a time again and again and again. Doing the best I can repeatedly. Clinging to the daily things I still can do (like blogging).

As always, provocative!