Passion Has Limits | #MyFridayStory №226

Claiming to have passion for your craft doesn’t mean you’ll be the world’s best at it.

For an annual off-site corporate conference, each member of the national management team had to present past sales figures and upcoming forecasts. As a young manager and new to the company, presenting to the senior executive team was a big deal. Our division was a new venture for the company. Proving our value and reason for existence was filled with hope and expectations.

In preparation for the conference, our manager rallied the 6 of us new branch managers to ensure we all in sync. Working from a zero base in a new market, forecasts can be tricky. As a team, we calculated the divisional figures, and each branch allocated its part. Each manager went off to do their presentation for the conference.

I was ready to make an impact.

At a beautiful location in the Drakensberg mountains, in front of the company CEO and other senior executives, and more than 250 managers and delegates, I shared my numbers. To me, they were not numbers. In my mind, every number was thought through and infallible. Every percentage increase added more excitement at achieving the lofty targets.

I could see myself on stage, hand in the air as I receive the yearly top manager’s award.

At the conference, I concluded my presentation. Our CEO thanked me and asked me what I was going to do differently to achieve these projected figures. I answered with the word: Passion. His response taught me a great lesson. In front of all the delegates, he gave me a warning I have never forgotten:

Passion has limits.

In a recent article by Bill Murphy Jr. in his blog Understandably, uses American Football quarterback Tom Brady as an example of passion at work. Tom Brady is the all-time greatest quarterback, winning the Super Bowl 7 times. No one has come close in the history of the league. Yet, he is not considered the most gifted or talented player to have graced the game. But he is possibly the most passionate. But Bill goes on to explain the downside, “Well-meaning people give advice such as to be successful in life, you should follow your passion to find a career.”

But, telling someone to “follow their passion” can be horrible advice.

Murphy continues. “Having a passion for something doesn’t mean you’re any good at it. And even if you are good at your passion, it doesn’t mean there’s really a sustainable way to turn your passion into a way of making a living. For every Brady who was able to follow their passions to become an NFL quarterback (to say nothing of becoming the greatest of all time), there are many others for whom it was a dead end.”

I never achieved that top manager’s award, as much as I would have liked that. One thing I know, having a passion for what you do makes every moment fun. You may not be the best in the world at what you do, but you can find as much enjoyment and pleasure from your craft if you’re passionate about it.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏



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