I was just perusing Sarah Suzanka’s Life Owner’s Manual, which is a fantastic blueprint for noticing the nuances in your life and creating focused, intentional changes in your behavior. She was talking about strategies for revealing more of your true potential when I came across a point that really made me stop and wonder.
“Follow your passions.”
You may be wondering where I’ve been for the last 100 years as self-help gurus have been talking this topic to death. It’s a common cliché, right? Not really…. it’s actually quite new when you consider the slight variation in this term (it’s all about nuance!).
The cliché you’re thinking of is in the singular form. “Follow your passion” is the mantra of every star leader, motivational guru and self-help author. It implies a clear-cut narrative of a person who has a very specific passion that they may or may not be giving their full energy to. Once they do, their lives will be on the “right path” and all will be well and good.
The problem I have with this singular terminology is that it’s extremely confining to consider all the things in life that interest you, and boil it down to one single idea you will call your “life’s passion”. This, in turn, should become the primary focus or “purpose” of your life to the slight exclusion of all others. How incredibly claustrophobic does that sound to you???? I’ve actually written about how overwhelming I found the idea to be a few years ago (and I still feel that way).
Call me a textbook Gemini, but I have at least 2-dozen passionate interests that I could never cast aside to make room for my “ultimate passion that I must follow with abandon”. How boring would that be?
So when reading Susan’s suggestion this morning to “follow your passions”, I had to stop and really contemplate how expansive her choice of grammar made that otherwise noxious term feel to me. It was pregnant with opportunity to follow everything that interests me and eventually, the flow of life will make the right passions stand out more than the others (perhaps), but no passion-whittle-down is required.
I love nuance… almost as much as I love having options.