Work-Life 10/5/2016

Don’t Tell Me You’re Passionate

By Leslie Juvin-Acker

Whether I am at Shmooz events or in my office, I often hear the phrase uttered out of the mouths of job seekers, “I’m passionate about…” more than I care to hear.

“I’m passionate about…” could mean a million different things and just about every time, the phrase falls flat because it’s void of emotion. It’s unfortunate, that in the job search, we’ve torn away the emotional component from what could otherwise be a powerful introductory phrase.

Passion is invoked by emotion. When I’m sitting face to face with someone who is, in reality, desperate to get a job and hardly passionate about anyone and anything else - it shows. When you’re at this point, don’t tell me you’re passionate. Tell me how you really feel.

Tell me about the helplessness you feel.How disconnected from your truest desires and from everyone around you because you’ve got fears and insecurities standing in the way. Tell me how you’re frustrated that the key people you think can help you to get ahead have let you down or have blown you off. Tell me how you’re totally confused about your future because you’re not even sure of what you want beyond getting a job to survive.

Tell me about all of these experiences because that’s what you’re passionate about - you’re just not aware of it.

Some of you might say, “This is absurd of me to say during my job search! Nobody will hire me that way.”

Believe me, you’re saying it - indirectly. Because you can’t tell me what you’re passionate about besides “surfing, or making products, and leading people” and the good old stand by cliche, “Being the best,” I can clearly see your inability to articulate your deepest desires and inspirational forces means that your mind - and your energy (therefore your passion) are somewhere else.

I’ve seen hundreds, if not a thousand people in nearly a decade of coaching to recognize where your energy is directed. Just own up to the insecurities, the fear, and call them out instead of living in denial, trying to convince yourself (and others) that they’re not there. Stop saying that it’s everybody else’s fault when what you’re really saying is, “I can’t help myself.”

The thing is - it’s perfectly acceptable to not know how to help yourself sometimes. What doesn’t work is expecting the wrong thing to fix the mental and emotional blocks. Even if you were to get a job - even the job - it wouldn’t fix your deep-rooted fear of, let’s say, ageism. You’d start looking for it the second you got on the job. And, 9 out of 10 times you’d find it - because that’s where your mind and energy (read: passion) are.

So, work through what’s really bothering you. Sit down and tell me what’s up. Don’t tell me, in rehearsed, beauty pageant form what you think you’re passionate about when I can clearly hear and feel the incomplete answers and see your lack of vision. If you can’t see it - it’s because you’re not looking in the right direction. Working on eliminating the blocks is the very process that’ll clear up your view. And, when you can see it, feel it, and know it - chances are, I will, too, when you tell me what you’re passionate about.