Recently I heard a commentator on a news show talk about the importance of passion at work. After hearing him, I became engaged in a conversation with my brother who shared his frustrations at work with me. It was obvious in speaking with him that he cares about the success of the company and finds it frustrating that decisions are made which are contrary to what he feels are in the best interest of the firm. He felt that some of the individuals in positions of leadership lack the day-to-day knowledge regarding the on-the-ground issues.
He confided that he wasn’t sure he could continue working there, because he was concerned the company would fail, he did not want to be on a losing team, and the frustration level was high. It was clear he had ideas; things he wanted to share and things he thought would make a difference.
As I contemplated the thought, I reflected over my practice and recalled the most important theme throughout all my years in consulting. While passion with one’s work may be important, the clients I work with reveal that their greatest desire is to contribute – to make a difference. Every person I have met through my consulting practice who voiced dissatisfaction with their work felt that they were not contributing to their fullest potential. Sometimes this brought people to tears with frustration. Passion for the work may be the ultimate level of self-actualization, but contribution is incredibly rewarding and may even lead to experiencing passion with one’s job.