It’s counterintuitive to many of us, but in many situations the most powerful and important advice is also the simplest.
That’s true of my book, How to Organize Your Work and Your Life, which is built around the very simple idea of working as often as you can toward your most important goals. There are lots of sophisticated ways to do that, but the idea itself is easily understood.
It’s the same in this edition of my blog. You can turbocharge your level of productivity and success with one simple strategy: Find your passion and pursue it.
That’s it. That’s all you need to do.
The simple act of working on something you really, really care about will automatically help you work harder, smarter, faster, and better. It’ll trigger you to expand your expertise, find the best ways to reach your goals, and partner with others who can significantly support your efforts.
I sincerely hope you grasp this concept and run with it.
To help you, here are some simple, practical tactics:
Identify Your Strengths
Everyone has them. No matter how weak or mediocre you mistakenly believe yourself to be, you have strengths. You can build on these strengths to find your passion and pursue it.
One good way to find your strengths is to think back on your earlier years:
- What have you done most often for fun?
- What interests and activities most often brought you into the “zone” where you’re fully focused on what you’re doing and it feels like time disappears?
- What activities and accomplishments have come most easily to you?
The answers are all fairly strong clues to your innate strengths.
And there’s more.
As you’ve matured, you likely added new strengths to your original, natural, native abilities. You can look for these newer ones, too, by asking the same kinds of questions about more recent times.
You can also think back on your most exciting and impressive accomplishments, and infer from them any additional strengths you’ve accumulated as you’ve grown and developed.
Identify Your Values
To find your passion and pursue it, you need to make sure whatever you’re working on closely aligns with your values. And you can’t do that without a clear understanding of what they are.
Just as you can use a hammer in many different ways, you can use your strengths to accomplish many different tasks, projects, and goals. For example, you may place great value on:
- Finding true love,
- Helping others improve their lives,
- Learning all you can about some aspect of the world,
- Making the world a better place,
or something entirely different.
To begin nailing down your values, you can go through one or more values clarification exercises. Or you can simply look back on your experiences and try to recognize what they have taught you about your values.
Identify Your Heroes
In some ways, this is the most important route to finding your passion and pursuing it.
This is because strengths can be used in many different ways, and values can be followed and fulfilled through many different actions. Heroes, however, are less open to interpretation. We may not want to emulate every aspect of our particular Superman or Wonder Woman, but from infancy we naturally want to be as much like our favorite heroes as we can.
Recognizing who you most admire as a hero automatically gives you a strong sense of what’s right and wrong. It also blazes a well-trodden pathway to the pleasure we can derive from making a situation better for ourselves and for others.
Put Them All Together
Without this conscious framework of strengths, values, and heroes, you might have come across passionate possibilities that – aside from a short-term enjoyment – you failed to recognize as long-term opportunities. Now that you know what to look for, it’ll be much more appealing for you to follow your passion whenever you encounter it.
You can start your search for your passion by thinking about the kinds of activities that incorporate as many elements of your strengths, values, and heroes as possible:
- Look backwards at what you most enjoyed doing when you were younger.
- Look around you at what most engages your current interest and excitement.
- Look forward at what’s most tempting about emerging trends.
While no one can foretell when you’ll next find something that ignites your passion, it’s almost a certainty that something you can be passionate about is “out there,” waiting for you to discover it.
Armed with a relatively clear awareness of your strengths, your values, and your heroes, you can actively scan the horizon for a pathway forward that ignites in you the life-long passion that will inevitably turbocharge your productivity and success.
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