My wife and I were sitting at the dinner table last night. We were eating leftovers of some amazing vegetable curry Ev’Yan had made the day before. And as we usually do, we were talking about what we were proud of that day.

Ev’Yan exclaimed excitedly, “I’m proud that despite not sleeping very well and not really feeling it, I showed up and wrote anyway. I didn’t feel like it, but I did it and didn’t overthink it.”

We fist bumped (that’s our thing).

Then I was reminded of something I just couldn’t forget.

I vented my frustration to her, “I think so often in my life I’ve tried to wait for the passion to show up in my work. Or I’ve tried to find the perfect intersection of strengths, interests, and service that will once-and-for-all give me an endless source of passion and excitement with my work.

But rarely does it work out that way.”

As I expressed my struggle to her a lightbulb suddenly went off in my head.

“I think it’s the difference between wanting to just passively receive passion from your work, and actively giving passion to it. You know, showing up and saying ‘today, I’m going to find my excitement for this and choose to give my passion to this.’

I think that feels a lot different than waiting for the passion to come, or trying to whittle your list down to only things you’re super passionate about.

Plus, it puts you back in control. You can always choose to be passionate. You can choose to give even if you’re not immediately feeling the pull.”

We nodded our heads and talked for a few more minutes about the other things we’re proud of — an end of day ritual we’ve come to appreciate and look forward to.

After we put the dishes away and cleared the table we made a commitment to each other to show up and give our passion to our work, not just wait to find the perfect project or inspiration.

Then the resistance creeps in…

And I’ll admit right now, a day later sitting at my laptop, it’s definitely harder to follow through on. It’s easy to sit around and wait for the spark. That way you can always blame something else without taking ownership.

But being passionate, choosing to show as your best self and give everything you have — and to do that day after day is a lifelong practice.

That’s what I’m reminding myself of right now as I feel the resistance creep in.

Just that little nudge, breathing, accepting that it’s not easy, and it already feel better.

You know, sometimes it’s just a shift in perspective that changes everything for you.

So, you know I have to ask:

What are you choosing today? Will you give your passion, and be passionate, or will you wait to receive it? (click to tweet that)

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Joanna February 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Oh my gosh! Your post rings so true for me; thank you! I think if I change my mindset into bringing passion to my writing rather than sitting down and giving away all my creative power to the ether, I wouldn’t feel so much resistance (or at least, I can deal with any residual resistance!) Thanks again! :)

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Ben Larcombe February 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

This is so true! I think you’re spot on. Also, if you attack your job or business with active passion then over time I think that “genuine” passion just begins to occur more often on it’s own. If you really absorb yourself in whatever you ahppen to be doing and take seriously trying to get better/more efficient it become a passion. Just my experience.

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Cea February 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Yes. The lightbulb finally switched on.

Thank you.

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Claire Cunden February 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Jonathan,

I recently had a series of 3 dreams in fast succession that relate to your post. Without going into detail the messages were as follows:

1) Your first purpose is to choose to help people feel and become better, to be the light. This will naturally make you feel and be better yourself.
2) Now is the time to choose freedom over baggage.
3) Consitently sow the right seeds with right actions and intentions, large or small they grow.

That was all.

Thanks for all you do. The reality is that we can never see the extent of ourselves and great work because it’s manifest expanse is disparate and incomprehensible, and because cause and effect is mystical.

To beauty

PS In case anyone looks my website wont be operational until 8 weeks time.

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Jaz February 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I think that if we wait to receive passion, not only will we feel negative emotions, but also wasted time. I am a firm believer in that you cannot get very far if you do not help others get what they want. With that said, it is more fulfilling to give passion, without expectations of receiving it and in return you can learn a lesson and be passionate as well.

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Ti February 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm

What about being passion? Phrasing it that way energizes me to show up and begin, without the ‘I gave at the office & home & relationship & meditation & volunteering & personal growth & the gym’ fatigue. I am passion. It’s not outside me; it’s simultaneous with me.

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joyce February 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Woow…am now energized and ready to start my day..i willl do my work with passion..its true that at times u just want to hung on there and procastinating on how passionate u will b with ur job and career.Sometimes its just laziness.Thanks for the enlightment.

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Ealasaid Haas February 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Interesting – I was just talking about being passionate about work with a peer at lunch today. We both have the same dayjob, and talked about how important it is to really believe in the product, to know it’s awesome and worth working on. I don’t think either of us sees our dayjob as our calling (I certainly don’t, at least), but looking at ways to show up at 100% and how important passion is to that was really interesting. It definitely influenced the presentation I gave after that lunch.

Where the rubber meets the road for me is in my calling — books. I am passionate about my work, to the point that I sometimes get self-conscious about it, but at the end of the day I’m often too used up by the dayjob to do much book stuff. It makes me wonder whether bringing passion to my dayjob may hinder more than it helps, long-term.

My commitment for the rest of this week is to show up for my calling, bring to mind how passionate I am about it, and see if that gives me a second wind.

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Rob February 19, 2014 at 12:35 am

Brilliant and very real article. The fact that you wrote about the resistance you experienced to a very positive realization over the subject of work passion shows, 1. How life really works in an expansion and contractive way. And 2. By writing about it and baring your feelings you were actually working through the resistance.

Thank you!

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Wanda February 19, 2014 at 6:27 am

I think some days you give and some days you wait for the spark. Giving all the time can be emotionally draining. And sometimes it is good to take a break. Inspirations comes. When you’re passionate about something, you will always love doing it. The moment the fun wanes, leave it alone for a bit and out of nowhere inspiration will come flying in!

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Lea February 19, 2014 at 6:57 am

Every day we seek the balance inside. Passion, rest, endurance. I like your post because my passion is often short lived. Something interesting lights up the fire, but maintaining the fire seems much less interesting. If I want to live by my own terms and also be paid to exist, then learning the art of dealing with passion also includes learning how to nurture it, with the active attitude and actual actions.

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Maggie B. February 19, 2014 at 8:06 am

I love this concept – just as everyone wants love to always be effortless and wonderful, so too do we want our passions to come to us and sweep us away in a sea of success. The truth is, though, that loving a partner for an extended period of time is a conscious choice that comes with a relationship which will require work and sacrifice. Much in the same way, passive passion alone is not enough to sustain us – we must choose to be passionate, as you say, during those times when we’d much rather be doing something else. I really love the elegance in how you presented this concept, and the shift it represents – the shift from you being at the whim or your passion to you gaining control. Thank you!

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Don February 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

“Show up and write anyway.” I like that. Thanks for that particular line of inspiration,I am using it already.
I like to think that is all that anyone who ever achieves greatness or deep meaning ever does, really. JRR Tolkien just showed up each time. But he kept doing it consistently enough that he got his stories out. Thank goodness.
It is so easy to not show up. There are always 100 reasons not to; reminders of why you shouldn’t show up are all around. Thankfully there are other reminders (like PTE) that we should ignore all that stuff and show up anyway.

Thanks

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Mary Martin February 20, 2014 at 5:18 am

Its a very positive decision. Now lets see if I can walk it out. Cheers.

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Stacey February 22, 2014 at 6:15 am

Johnathan I love this idea. So often we’re told to follow our passion, but sometimes it can become confusing day to day what exactly it is you’re truly passionate about – especially if you’re multi passionate (and your interest in certain projects come and go). When I tackle a task that I previously thought I didn’t want to do, or was dragging my heels but forced myself to do, I can feel a huge sense of accomplishment and passion can sometimes develop after the fact. Sometimes when you push through your limits sometimes new passions emerge.

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ScrewtheSystemJoe February 24, 2014 at 3:50 am

It’s a great point that I think everybody who’s working in a creative field has to wrestle with.
Like the Edison quote goes, ‘Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration’. I think it’s more like 10/90 but most of the time you’ve just got to show up and if everything is aligned, the passion will come. If not, still got to do it.

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J.D. Meier February 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

It reminds me of the Bruce Lee quote:

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

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Greg February 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

How do you deal with the feeling that manufacturing passion for something that you don’t feel called to will slow the process of self-discovery that will open your eyes to your “true” passion?

I know I have much to give the world, and have spent years procrastinating (aka, “being responsible”), not doing the work necessary to gain greater clarity on how I can make a difference to others – in a way that resonates with my authentic self. How best to transition from here to there?

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Robert Petrie February 26, 2014 at 5:40 am

You are so right when you say that a shift in perspective can change everything for you. If we change our perspective on something it can change our whole mood, but sometimes we have to wait for something drastic to happen before we can see something from a different angle. If we wait around for something to happen, we may be waiting a long time, instead as you say give what you have got anyway, what you have will always add value to someones life.

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Tom Reber March 3, 2014 at 7:55 am

It’s about creating momentum instead of waiting for it to show up.

Strength is built when we embrace resistance. Want a stronger life or biz? Then, lift the heavy things. Don’t hide from the challenges.

Love the post and the mentality…

MOTORhard

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Erin Stewart March 3, 2014 at 9:20 am

Love this! So true! My husband and I are both creative people, and have struggled with this very thing. It’s really about giving, isn’t it? Give, then you receive.

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Mike Goncalves April 25, 2014 at 6:47 am

Perception IS everything. Great stuff Jonathan, thanks! No such thing as the perfect time or right about of passion. It’s timing is right when we say it’s right. Cheers!

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