You don’t need to be “passionate about your work” – here’s why


My new business friend stared earnestly at me across the café table. “Would you say you’re passionate about your work?”

Her question caught me off guard. I chewed my lip for a second, unsure how to respond.

Entrepreneurs are supposed to be passionate about their work, right? You’ve read the memes. We’re meant to ‘do the thing that we just can’t not do’, trust our intuition and ‘leap so that the net can appear’…

As I stirred my coffee, I felt this pressure building inside me to give the “right” answer, to prove my entrepreneurial chops by declaring myself passionate about my work.

The trouble is that passion has become such a loaded term. We talk about it as this all-consuming state of being, an overwhelming desire to do this thing and this alone. The kind of obsession that you’ll recognise when it smacks you over the head.

I believe that we all deserve to love what we do, and to find joy and meaning in our work. I’m just not convinced you have to be passionate about it – or that building a business around your passions is always the right thing to do.

Like you, I’m passionate about many things. Languages, books, the art of the written word, travel and connection. I’m passionate about raising other women up, about finding the freedom to explore your gifts and create a life of one’s own…I could go on.

Many of our passions are connected to moments of private pleasure, but work is full of difficult, challenging and mundane tasks too. A case in point – just because I love sinking into a hammock with a new novel did not mean I enjoyed writing book reviews. And sometimes, adding the pressure to make an income snuffs out the very fire we hoped to accelerate.

It seems to me that we’ve blown the meaning of “passionate” way out of proportion. When I pull out my trusty Oxford Dictionary, passionate is defined as “having, showing or caused by strong feelings or beliefs.”

Maybe we need to shift our focus, from being “passionate about your work” to finding passion in your work.

Do you experience moments of joy in your work? Do you feel connected to others? Are you operating in your zone of genius, where ideas seem to drop into your head and you know you’re on a roll? Do you get bursts of inspiration and a desire to try new things? Do you experience a warmth rising in your chest, and a desire to step onto a metaphorical soap box because you’re so darn fired up about what you have to share?

To me, all of these things are moments of passion.

So am I passionate about my work? Not in the sense of it being the one thing I would do if I knew I had only a few days left on the planet.

But do I find passion in it? Absolutely.

Where do you find passion in your work? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’re ready to start capturing those moments of passion in your copy, book now for a FREE 20 minute mini session. 

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Christine Sheehy will help you refine your core message, find your authentic voice and show up boldly online, so you can grow your tribe of loyal followers AND your business. She teaches women entrepreneurs how to consistently create engaging content and stand out in a noisy online world, through journalling challenges, messaging coaching, copywriting and intimate writing retreats. Originally from New Zealand, Christine currently writes, dreams (and persistently tries and fails to give up coffee, baguette and cheese) from an alpine village in the south of France.

  • Julie
    Posted at 22:58h, 25 May Reply

    I really love this! I read your email while sitting in the car while Master 3 slept and glad for the excuse to procrastinate from finishing marking my student’s assessments – had 100 to mark in 3 days – I am super passionate about teaching but not everyday do I feel passion for teaching or marking for that matter. Same with my business deadlines – am pasionate about the idea, not always in doing what it takes to get it finished! One of the sayings that kept me going during my thesis (again another great example of the difference between loving your work and finding passion in it – you can’t love a thesis itself) was “commitment is continuing to do something long after the mood has left you”. Always helped! In reflection on my thesis journey the greatest joy came from over-coming my biggest challenges – so without the challenges (where there was little passion present) true joy (and a lot of passion) also would not have been present!

    • christineMC
      Posted at 09:45h, 26 May Reply

      Love this Julie – such great insight to see that joy and passion can spring from challenges you did not feel at all passionate about in the moment. That’s a brilliant quote about commitment too. For my part, I think it’s unrealistic to feel in “the mood” all the time – but that determination to hold onto that vision and see it through even in the mundane or the grim times, will set you apart.

  • Louise
    Posted at 12:41h, 10 December Reply

    Where do I find passion in my work? Well that is truly a great question! To be honest I really did have to stop and think about it. I do find my work quite rewarding but I really think I have more passion in the behind the scenes stuff – all the developmental work that will build my business up and allow my team to “service” the clients.

    • Christine
      Posted at 12:59h, 10 December Reply

      Great insight Louise! How can you re-engineer your biz to do more of that in 2019?

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