Your passion or your life!

There is a saying: “Nobody on their deathbed ever said they wish they had spent more time at the office.” I’m not so sure.

Thomas Edison’s wife figured he was tired out and stressed, needing a vacation. She told him he should go to the one place he would rather be than anywhere else in the world. “O.K.,” he told her, “I’ll go tomorrow.” Next day, he was back at his office. Hugh Hefner was surrounded by the most beautiful women in the world and he went to work in his pajamas and a housecoat. Most of us, o.k., the men, will agree it’s not exactly a fate worse than death.  And what about Steve Jobs? Ignoring his Apple shares for a moment, he was worth between 6.5 and 7 billion from his sales of Pixar alone. This was not a man who went to the office and put in hours because he had to pay the rent.

A young professional woman was recently presented with a dilemma. She was involved in an outside activity that brought her excitement and a sense of accomplishment. The employers at her ‘day job’ could tell the difference. They told her she would have to choose. Claire tendered her resignation and decided to go with her passion. Good on you, Claire!

One does not have to be as drastic. You can find the work you need to stir your passion, but it may already be waiting for you when you next walk into your office. A month or so back, I was working with a client on the West coast of the United States. Some good people working for the receivables department of a utility thought they were collecting past due accounts. “No,” I told them, “you are bringing power to the people. If you are not able to work with them to clear their past due status, they won’t have any power.” Three brick layers on the same site. One says he’s laying bricks. Another is building a wall. The third is building a family home. Same bricks, same wall, but one has an attitude that will lighten his step to say nothing of his heart and his soul.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to be a doctor, actor or concert musician to be passionate. I have seen passion displayed in a credit manager. Two weeks ago a doorman at a hotel in Pakistan consistently demonstrated passion in his work and just the day before I wrote this blog, passion for their work was evident in two sales clerks at a 7-11 in Manila.

Perhaps you believe you need to be involved in a life saving operation in order to be passionate? Your wish is granted. We are all involved in a life saving operation – our own.

The philosophers Crosby, Stills & Nash said it best: “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.”

What are you working on today, what about tomorrow?