Enjoying the Journey

February 10th, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

If you work really hard to achieve your goals but don’t enjoy the journey, you’re delaying the essence of life. Committing to your goals doesn’t mean you slave away at work you dislike, celebrating only the destination. A real abiding commitment means that you love what you do each day. You are at least as passionate about the path as you are about the results. If you love the path you’re on, your passion motivates you to keep taking the next step.

But passion alone isn’t enough.

Passion requires focused direction, and that direction must come from three other areas: your purpose, your talents, and your needs.

First, purpose and passion go hand in hand. If you don’t know your life purpose, your passion won’t be guided by conscience. Many criminals go this route — they are very passionate about certain actions, but those actions aren’t motivated by a higher purpose. When passion and purpose point in the same direction, it means you fall in love with the path of service. You love what you do, and it also contributes positively to the world. A synergy is created whereby your passion is increased manyfold, a natural consequence of doing something you love to do AND which you know is making a difference.

Secondly, passion must be blended with talent. Passion can get you pretty far, but there are plenty of people who are passionate and incompetent, and their passion isn’t sufficient to save them. Have you ever known anyone who got really excited about an idea but couldn’t follow through? The good news is that your talent can be developed — you can educate yourself to learn new knowledge and skills. But the ultimate goal here is to discover where your greatest talents lie. What talents, if you were to fully develop them, could be extremely strong for you? You may come up with several answers, but which ones overlap with your passion? When you do what you love to AND you become really good at doing it, your passion will increase, and your results will be amplified.

Thirdly, passion must be blended with need. At the very least, you have to direct your passion in such a way that you’ll be able to feed yourself. But if you master the blending of passion, purpose, and talent, it will not be too difficult to satisfy your needs… even to achieve financial abundance.

The key to fulfillment is to work from your greatest strengths, with passion, in the service of purpose.

Doing what you’re best at ensures that you’re working efficiently. Being passionate about what you do means that you’ll work hard at it. And serving a purpose means that you’re contributing and making a real difference in others’ lives. When you do all three, you’re contributing the maximum value you possibly can, and if you can’t generate a fantastic income doing that, you won’t be able to generate a better one doing anything else. This is the very definition of value. It is precisely what people will be eager to pay you for.

I believe that everyone can find an area where the circles of passion, purpose, talent, and need overlap. The best place to start is with purpose by listening to your conscience. Once you know that, then move on to passion and talent — each of these will likely contain many possibilities. There are probably several things you love to do and several things you can become really good at. List them out for each category. Then take time to reflect on possible areas of overlap between purpose, passion, and talent. Remember that the talent circle can be moved with additional education and skill-building.

When you find the area of overlap between purpose, passion, and talent, the need area tends to be fairly easy to fulfill. The first three areas will suggest potential careers. Here’s another way of thinking about it:

Need = what you must do
Talent = what you can do
Passion = what you love to do
Purpose = what you should do

Many people see these 4 areas as inherently in conflict. How many times have you heard people spout limiting beliefs such as, “you can’t make money (need) doing what you love (passion)?”

Nonsense.

I believe that everyone can find a path on which all four of these areas are in harmony. You can find a way to work from your greatest strengths, doing what you love to do, in the service of purpose, and taking care of all your basic needs — even achieving abundance.

But the first step is to simply decide to do it. Decide that your life is worth enough to you to get all four of these areas working together. You don’t have to go broke doing what you love. You don’t have to work at a job you hate. You don’t have to see meaningful contribution as something out of sync with your everyday reality.

Take some time to reflect on what kind of career, what kind of life, would allow you to put these four areas in harmony — all of them pointing in the same direction. No conflict. It can be done.



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