When we were children, we played with passion. As we grew older our passions changed and evolved. Passions that you have throughout your life are not always the passions you had as a child. My passion as a child was sports, but as I grew up, so did my passions.
Today, I am in my mid-fifties and my passions that I have today were passions I would have never imagined I would have. That passion is project management, teaching and mentoring, and seeing others grow their passions. My passion started not by choice but purely by force. Many years ago, I was given three choices: quality assurance, development or project management. We were all expected to put this in order of interest in the direction we wanted to go in information technology. I put quality management as first as I can always identify something that is broke and love finding out why; my second choice was development as the thought of building something was intriguing; I did not put a third choice but left it blank.
I turned my preferences in and it wasn’t long before I was standing in front of my director answering why I didn’t list a third choice. I told him that I did not believe in project management and that I saw it strictly as a road block to me getting things done. Well, he made the choice for me and it was project management. Understand that I am a person that by nature just wants to get in and get it done, and if you are in my way then I hope you move out of my way, so this was completely foreign to me. I fought this decision as long as I could and finally succumbed.
Now fast forward 23 years and I could not be a stronger advocate for project management, and helping others grow in both their project management skills as well as their leadership skills. What started as what I would call a hatred of a practice, grew into a strong passion for me.
The reason I tell you this story is for you to realize that passion can grow from anywhere, at any time. It is up to you to nurture that passion, and not run away from it. Passion is not something to be afraid of, but something to cherish. If you are married you love your spouse with a passion, and your children, and your family. Passion can also be in what you do, and how you do it. Passion can be forced on you, it can be an amazing discovery you make on your own, and it can be accidental.
We have all seen the project managers, developers, and other project team members who just go about their day just like any other day. The goal for a project manager should include instilling passion into your project teams; but you first have to show that passion yourself. So how do you go about finding and nurturing that passion? That is the million-dollar question.
Suggestions that I would make are to first not run from your passion or hide it. Let others know your passion; sure, some may laugh but there will always be others to support you. Continue to learn more about your passion. For me it involved learning about all the different types of project management, completing my Masters’ Degree with a specialization in Project Management, and now working towards my Doctor of Education with a specialization in Organizational Leadership. It also means loving helping others grow in their skills of project management, or organizations that are trying to set up a PMO.
I am often asked if I have other passions and the answer is yes. My “hobby” passion is archeology and I continually learn all I can about ancient civilizations. I am passionate about completing my education, and passionate about helping others see their potential, and possibly finding their passions in life.
I say all of this for one reason, whatever you do…do it with passion. If you are a waitress or a mechanic, a CEO or a CFO, you will enjoy your job, and your life if you do it with passion. In your job your work will show whether you are just going through the steps or if you are doing it with passion. I have some co-workers who are extremely passionate about what they do, and you can see it in them every day. Sure, they may complain some days like we all do, but you can tell they love what they do and they come through in what they deliver, and how they energize those around them.
So, if you find yourself in a position where you question why you are doing something, find something it in that you can be passionate about. Do it to the best of your ability. My father was a truck driver all his life and a mechanic and you could see the passion and pride in him when he talked about what he did. Don’t miss out on the passion and just work through your days, invite passion into them.
Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.
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Over 20 years project management experience with a passion for helping organizations grow their PMO, their project managers, and their teams. My passion has taken me to the pursuit of a Doctor of Education, as I enjoy seeing the proverbial light bulb come on. I am a believer in continuous growth and improvement, and believe that an organizations culture and environment is what drives the growth of PMOs and all areas, and not the other way around.
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