For over ten years, every time I came home with a new promotion or a higher paying job I would ask my spouse what they thought, and I would always get the same answer: "Does it make you happy?" That response used to infuriate me. Dance like nobody's watching, sing like… blah, blah, blah. Who has time for that kind of nonsense? "Not me," I'd think, "I've got work to do." And with that, I'd be out the door and climbing up the next ladder, building my professional resume along with our bank account.
Then one day out of the blue, an executive friend of mine asked me what my intrinsic values were. "That's easy: Integrity, Self-Mastery, and Achievement," I replied.
It took me about a year after that conversation to connect the dots because I was so busy climbing the career ladder. I realized that the company I was working for only cared about money, while everything I cared about mastering was outside of my professional life. I was to the point where I was just managing a larger pot of money with more complex projects but I wasn't learning anything new. My job was ultimately out of alignment with my intrinsic values.
A scary personal moment turned into a deep appreciation for my spouse's question, "Does it make you happy?" Revisiting that question ultimately led to opening my own consulting/coaching business, and my career is now much more aligned with my intrinsic values.
Finding your passion happens when you align your intrinsic values with a profession or company that shares your same motivations. Once your intrinsic values are aligned, it becomes much easier to ask for the tangible rewards at work (extrinsic values) like pay, positions of influence, and unique rewards for a job well done. Then, once you have both of your intrinsic and extrinsic values aligned, the second-tier values related to lifestyle (i.e. travel, where you live, and how you live) become easier to give yourself permission to enjoy. Aligning your values can give you a renewed sense of purpose, which in turn provides clarity around finding your passion.
So, wherever you are sitting and reading this, I wonder – is what you are doing making you happy? If that question is too fluffy or vague, then take a look at your values: What are the top three values that are central to who you are? If that's too much of an ask, then Google "How do I know what my values are" and start there. Being curious enough to Google is a great first step.
For years, I couldn’t understand the purpose of the question, “Does it make you happy?” - I was too busy working on trying to achieve the next rung on the ladder so I could find time to find my passion. What I know now for sure is that my passion is providing conflict resolution coaching to organizations and individuals who require change.
What about you?