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Chris LoCurto

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May 29, 2012

Should Your Work Be Your Only Passion?

May 29, 2012 | By | 61 Comments

Passion is just one of the topics that I am asked about. I received an email awhile back from Diann asking the question, Is it okay to have passion outside of my work? I love to garden, but I’m afraid that it will take my focus away from what pays the bills. Below is my answer to Diann.

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Diann,

Wow! I’m so sorry this has taken me so long, but I’m so glad you sent this to me. Why? Because there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with you gardening. Do I believe you should be sharing your talents with others? Yes. Do I think it should consume your whole life? HECK no!

And your talents shouldn’t be defined by someone else. Frederick Buechner said the place where your passion and the world’s needs meet is your calling. In other words, how can you take what you REALLY love in life and help other people with it? While understanding that you need to take care of your household FIRST!!! Not be guilted into taking care of others.

This brings me to your gardening. I’m wondering if there is a way that you can take that passion and bless others? Can you create a business? Can you create a ministry? I’m not exactly sure, and I don’t want to influence you in a direction too much, but I think there might be something there. I am a teacher, a speaker, and and a writer. I love doing it and apparently I’m good at it. I use it to change lives.

I really hope this answered your question. If not, PLEASE let me know so we can continue to dialog. (I do travel like mad, so it may take a bit. :-))

CLo

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There is nothing that says that your work should be your only focus. Your job isn’t who you are, it’s what you do. At the end of your life, don’t look back on your work as the main or only focus in your life. Balance your life as you should. For more on how to do that, check out Zig Ziglar’s Wheel Of Life. This CONTINUALLY is in my top ten post every month, even though I published it a year ago.

Question: How important is it to have passion outside of work? 

  • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ JoelFortner

    I think you gave her great advice!  Ideally, we’d be passionate about most things we do.  This is why I’m such a huge advocate of finding your purpose, centering life around it and activating it with goal setting.  It’s a powerful way to live.

  • faughn4

    One of my favorite things to remember is that, when I have a passion outside my area of work (ministry), I often find inspiration for my work. One feeds the other and I often find myself drawing from one to help with a project, illustration, or just “random thought” with the other.

  • http://LouiseThaxton.Net/ LouiseThaxton

    In the book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield labels the enemy as “Resistance” .  He says, “If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unqiue genius.  Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.  A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center.  It is our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being in potention…..” 
     
    I think our “genius” – our “art” – our “work” – is what God has placed us here to do.  Our mission – our purpose.  When we discover it – it is powerful.

  • http://www.ricardoequips.com RicardoEquips

    I like this statement: “the place where your passion and the world’s needs met is your calling.” Now that’s power-fuel! As for me, I don’t know about passion outside of my work. I try not to fracture my life up into sections, though I do put those what others might call sections into priorities. Life in general is my passion. I love art in general, so I turn everything into an art. I can mop the floor and turn it into a tango. lol!

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @RicardoEquips That’s definitely the place to be, I respect you for that attitude! It’s definitely a winning one!

      • RicardoButler

         @Skropp  @RicardoEquips There’s no other place to be!

    • http://LouiseThaxton.Net/ LouiseThaxton

       @RicardoEquips
       Love it – tango while mopping!

      • http://www.ricardoequips.com RicardoEquips

         @LouiseThaxton Yea, like John Maxwell says, “You have to take this life and love it!”

  • cabinart

    Anyone remember that old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? Don’t you feel sorry for Jack’s wife? And I bet he didn’t have any friends either, much less a blog community.
     
    I LOVE my work – all of it except the bookkeeping. Despite LOVING my work, I also have to have time to knit, hike, play with my cats, garden. And I am not just a person who knits, I am a Knitter.
     
    Without passion outside of one’s work, one is most likely a Bore.

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @cabinart I love the extension of the old saying! You make a great point! Our lives won’t be full if we aren’t someone outside of our work

    • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

       @cabinart well said! 

      • cabinart

         @Aaron Nelson @Skropp Thanks! So, who was Jack anyway??

        • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

           @cabinart  @Skropp Jack was a poor dull boy. ;)

  • http://christiannick.wordpress.com/ ChristianNick

    Great comments from all. I agree that passions outside of work are important! The more congruence between your work and passions, the better! When your work and passions are congruent, you know longer have work, just consistent serving!

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @ChristianNick Very true!

  • http://www.lilykreitinger.com lilykreitinger

    I just thought of something else.  Should your work be your only passion?  Absolutely not!!! But your passion should drive your work.

    • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

      @lilykreitinger You said it! I was thinking the same thing! Passion in your spare time is one thing, but if you don’t bring it to work, you’re not running on a full tank!

  • David Branch

    We have not spoken in awhile but after the last Entre event you challenged me and my group to consider making a change.  Well, after alot of prayer and consideration I have taken your advice and began to try and work more in my passion as well.  I am not dropping my current businesses and I still come in and supply the heartbeat and develop strategy for success but instead of being consumed by my company which has become my JOB I have worked really hard to get key people in place and then develop a compensation strategy for them that will reward them for the responsibility that they have stepped up and taken ON THEIR OWN!.  With them taking more I have been able to focus on turning my Passion into a business.  I am in the beginning stages of my first official year of being a farmer, supplying naturally and local grown produce and meat to the local market area.  It is really small right now but I can see it really getting ready to take off.  Two things:  1) If it had not been for Entreleadership and you personally pouring into me and my team I would never have had the tools to know how to make the transition and with that, until  my team attended Entre with me I never officially had anyone “on boardboard”  2) you challenged me to pursue my passion but only if it was marketable and you showed confidence in my ability to make it happen.  So, Thanks a Million Chris!
    I have alot to tell you about the awesome changes we have made around here

    • http://LouiseThaxton.Net/ LouiseThaxton

       @David Branch
       What a great comment – you are turning your passion into a business!  Good luck and God bless!

  • Joe Lalonde

    I think it’s vitally important to have passions outside of work as well as in your work. How dull would life be if you only had one or two passions? 

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @Joe Lalonde So true. And I for one, don’t want to be defined only by the door I walk into Monday morning…

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com/ Joseph Lalonde

         @Skropp  So true… But how often do we allow that to happen? Someone asks us what we do and we respond with what we do Monday-Friday. I’m finding it a hard habit to break.

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @Joseph Lalonde It’s very hard to break that habit. And I think it requires what Lily was talking about…having a passion for all of life, so what you “do” applies to all hours of the day, not just 9-5 (or 5am-7pm in my case…)

        • http://LouiseThaxton.Net/ LouiseThaxton

           @Joseph Lalonde
           Me too!

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

       @Joseph Lalonde Having only one or two passions would be dull. Though I’m struggling with having too many!!

  • http://www.lilykreitinger.com lilykreitinger

    I think if you’re passionate about LIFE, you will find different ways to express that passion through work, hobbies, ministry, faith, relationships and fun… Work is the activity that takes away most of my time. 12 hours of my day are dedicated to work,  since I get up at 5 AM  to get ready for the day, drop my kids off and get on the train.  I do the reverse process at the end of the day and get home at 5 PM.  I am blessed to have a career that I am passionate about.  I love teaching and coaching in any version of it and what I learn at work helps me be a better person to strengthen my marriage, raise my kids, grow my faith and nurture my friendships.  I have many hobbies and I would love to spend time on them too, but I have to make adjustments.  My love of reading is fulfilled on my 90 min commute to and from work,  my passion for crafts is fulfilled making little things for my daughter (or big ones, like her butterfly fairy costume she wore this weekend for her birthday).  If you’re following God’s plan for you, your passion will overflow to all the areas of your life.

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @lilykreitinger I LOVE that response Lily! So true! What a goal to aspire to.

    • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

       @lilykreitinger I really like what you have to say here Lily. While I don’t think we ever ‘balance out’ and have every area of our lives flowing perfectly, I do know that when we have God in the right spot, and we are diligent in how we live out our day, we seem to flow into what excites and fulfills us. Jesus has come to give us LIFE – but not just any sorta life – ABUNDANT life. Woot! 

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

       @lilykreitinger Luck you! you don’t get motion sickness ;)

    • http://LouiseThaxton.Net/ LouiseThaxton

       @lilykreitinger
       Lily – I think you just love life -and embrace it!  That fuels the passion in whatever you do. 

  • http://www.jonahenry.com/ Jonathan Henry

    Great question and great response… but I do think the usage of the word “passion” has lost some of its edge in our language. We equate passion with hobbies and love and excitement, and maybe stretch to think that passion is a disconnect between where we are and where we should be. The power in the word “passion” comes from the heart its original meaning: to suffer. Only later do people add the second half: to suffer FOR a feeling, excitement, or desire. 
     
    Take Frederick Buechner’s quote in light of suffering, and ask what you would be willing to suffer or struggle for to meet the needs of the world. Your calling takes on a whole new meaning. I do think most people understand the suffering part, even when they don’t recognize it. I believe it is healthy to “suffer” through a day job that supports your hobbies, and that ultimately your hobbies bless others — which means your suffering supports blessings.
     
    I’ve been blessed on two occasions with gardening hobbyists: once with flowers at our wedding that created amazing memories, and once with a seven foot tomato plant on our apartment’s porch that the neighbors thought was marijuana that led to meeting new people. :)
     

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @Jonathan Henry Man Jonathan, you always bring the convo deeper. Thank you for your knowledge! I didn’t know some of that!

    • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

       @Jonathan Henry Agree Jonathan. Passion has lost it’s meaning. Suffering to struggle to meet the needs of the world….now that’s something worth pondering. 
       
      Suffering is a bad word for most all of us. We avoid it. Yet, if we consider ourselves followers of Jesus, we are called to suffer. (Take up your cross and follow me…) not exactly an invite to a party. 
       
      But suffering for a purpose – to be a blessing to someone else. I like that. I’m not entirely sure how to make it work…but I like that idea. 

      • http://www.jonahenry.com/ Jonathan Henry

         @Aaron Nelson I don’t remember which Greek it was, but someone outlined passion as those emotions which eventually led TO reason. Western Culture butchered passion by making it emotion OVER and in spite of reason.
         
        Think of all the ways that Jesus tried to reveal who He was … parables, sermons, miracles, addressing questions. He was very emotionally (and logically) expressive, yet the Apostles were pretty dense. That changed when Jesus was on the cross, when all the emotional stuff made sense and His purpose was revealed…. through His suffering. 
         

    • http://www.lilykreitinger.com lilykreitinger

       @Jonathan Henry This is what I found on dictionary.com . the object of an intense desire, ardent affection, or enthusiasm.  Passion doesn’t mean you’re always going to FEEL happy about what you’re doing.  I’m sure Chris doesn’t LOVE being on the road all the time.  However, that intense desire is what motivates you and fuels your actions.

      • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

        @lilykreitinger @Jonathan Henry The key is discovering what you love doing enough that you can deal with the downsides…

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

       @Jonathan Henry Your observation about how “passion” has seemed to lose it’s true meaning in today’s society reminded me of all the times I’ve heard people bemoan the fact that they can’t do what they’re passionate about…. they don’t have the money, kids take up too much of their time, they don’t live close enough to their passion, they have to work, the weather isn’t cooperating, they would have to put time and energy (work) into it, etc. In some form or another, what a person’s passionate about never seems easily accessible. 
      Well.
      Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?
      (disclaimer:  Not saying some of the above obstacles aren’t good enough reasons….some of the time)
      The things that are the most worthwhile in life, and the things God wants us to pursue, can be the hardest to do. Many times it involves some form of sacrifice, no matter how small or large. 
      Thanks for sharing!!

      • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

         @Laura Johnson  @Jonathan Henry Here here!  I totally agree with that idea Laura. Things that are worth pursuing often are difficult, painful, or just plain take a long time get a hold of. 

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ JoelFortner

       @Jonathan Henry I love this.  It aligns perfectly with what pastor Craig Groeshel said about living your burden. 

  • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

    Wow Chris, you hit the nail on the head, or hit it out of the park, or hit a nerve…you hit something! Haha. This is exactly where I’m at…kinda. I’m in a job where I’m working so much it’s hard TO have any passions once work is done.
    It is so important to make sure that work doesn’t consume your life. We’ve gotta have a release, somewhere we can go and something to do to help us recharge. The extent you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) your work affects how often and the duration of those releases. Haha. Those who work in their passion can go weeks and months without needing a major release. Those who have a J-O-B they hate find themselves asking “Is it Friday yet?”…and it’s Monday…about 9 am!

    • Joe Lalonde

       @Skropp I was at the point too Skropp. It seemed like work was all consuming and there was no time left over for passions outside of it. Then I realized something. There were areas that could be cut back and outside passions didn’t have to consume a lot of time. Just spending a few minutes here or there on other passions created a fulfillment that had gone unfulfilled.

      • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

        @Joe Lalonde It’s very true. I’ve taken hard looks at what I can and can’t do, and cut back a lot of what I enjoy…the next thing is to cut back work a bit so I have a little more balance in my life…

        • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

           @Skropp  @Joe Balance is hard to find. Not impossible, but pretty hard. Have you listened to one of  Michael Hyatt’s recent podcasts – ‘Is Work/Life Balance Really Possible? (http://michaelhyatt.com/009-is-work-life-balance-really-possible-podcast.html ) I bet you’ll get something out of it. I sure did.  

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @Aaron Nelson @Joe I have read it Aaron…it was that podcast that pushed me to beginning to search for new employment haha. He says if you’re working more than 55 hours a week it’s too much…I’m consistently 15+ hours above that eac week…. Haha

        • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

           @Skropp  I understand! For a time I worked 65-70 hours a week. DRAIN.ING.
          Wish you the best in finding your dream job :)

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @Laura Johnson Thnks Laura, I appreciate that!

  • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

    Thankfully, I get do one of my biggest passions as a job. I don’t go to work most days. Most days, I go to play. (Well, it feels like that most of the time.)
     
    To have passions that are apart from what I do for a living…for sure. That’s healthy. I am an avid reader. I would say that is a passion of mine. I love playing leggo with my kids. That’s a passion of mine. (Though it’s getting harder and harder to get myself off the floor when we’re done.)  I love hiking and camping, and Star Wars and …..lots of different things. 
     
    I think having interests and passion outside of your ‘work’ is important. But like Chris so rightly put: it should never take you away from taking care of your family first, and keeping your bills paid. 
     
    Great post! 

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @Aaron Nelson It’s easy to go to far either way, isn’t it? Those who focus too much on playing, to the detriment of providing probably are in a job they’re passionate about…

      • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

         @Skropp  @Aaron Totally. They are playing to maybe escape the J.O.B. Bad news. Or they just don’t like responsibility. 

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @Aaron Nelson @Aaron I know my weekends are my “escape”…and I hate it. It’s that feeling of “escaping” that shows me I need to move onto something else

        • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

           @Skropp  @Aaron  Indeed my friend. Sure sign for sure. I’m sorry you are in that place my friend. So…the question: what would you do if you were working and doing what you love at the same time? Do you REALLY believe you can do this? Or is it only for other people?

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @Aaron Nelson @Aaron I do believe I can. Got some ideas in the old’ noggin.

        • http://christiannick.wordpress.com/ ChristianNick

           @Skropp So what is the next best thing you can do to get them out of “the old’ noggin” and into reality?

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @ChristianNick @Skropp My dilemma is making it year round income. I want to start a summer soccer camp. But I need to find ways to leverage that to provide income for the whole year.

        • http://www.jonahenry.com/ Jonathan Henry

           @Skropp  Does the camp depend on your location, meaning, can you travel and hold camps on the road? First thing that comes to my mind is professional baseball players that play year round in Winter leagues and leagues in their home countries, even though the season runs April to October. Or NFL players that play in Arena Leagues for publicity. Or the NBA dopes that played overseas, desperate for money (as if they weren’t paid enough) because of some labor lockout…. with sports, the opportunities seem endless. 
           
          Even if you’re not in a place you can travel, I’m sure there are soccer nuts who need to winterize too. Heck, you could write a year-round guide to training for soccer and sell it online. I have a gardening book (ironic given the post) that tells me what I need to be doing month-by-month based on my climate. There are dozens of marathon guides for people with a timeline to their next race… can you do something of the same with soccer?

        • http://www.lilykreitinger.com lilykreitinger

           @Skropp  @ChristianNick  @Skropp  How about combining the camp with indoor soccer (Quick Soccer) ?  It’s VERY popular in my native Mexico.

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @Jonathan Henry I like those ideas Jonathan, thanks! I’m gonna pencil them out a bit as see what comes of it

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @lilykreitinger @ChristianNick Another great idea Lily thanks! I wanna get a blog going, have an ebook or two. The ebooks could supplement income, but also establish me as an authority and build recognition and demand for the camps…

        • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

           @Skropp @Jonathan Henry @lilykreitinger – and wondering about your camp idea: is it just soccer ed that interests you? Or do you like other sports? Education in general?
           
           
           What about Winter sports? Perhaps you could adapt your camp to Hockey? That’s huge where I come from – Canada.)  
          No expertise? Hire folks who do have it – and you manage the deal. 
           
           

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @Aaron Nelson @Jonathan Henry @lilykreitinger Great ideas Aaron. I really only ever played soccer, so that’s the extent of my expertise, but I have thought of hiring folks to do other sport-specific camps. I like the idea.
          I’m leaning towards focusing in on educating on how to train/eat/etc in the off season as well as teaching how you can practice on your own. I think there may be a market for this kind of soccer/sport training…

        • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ JoelFortner

           @Skropp  @lilykreitinger  @ChristianNick Go for it man!  I just wrote my first ebook I’m giving away for free.  It’s a deliberate part of a larger marketing system.  When it comes down to it, you may want to consider giving away lots of free information to build authority and such first and then do a paid product down the road.