April 17, 2008

Following Your Bliss

Posted in Careers, Life tagged , , at 11:03 pm by Lindsay

Read With The Lobsters! – Every weekend, Katelyn and Lindsay discuss the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi in an effort to sharpen networking skills.

Okay, so I’m a little late with this post, but that’s what I get for waiting until the last minute to do my taxes.

The concept that jumped out at me the most was Ferrazzi’s idea of the “blue flame”.  He says,

“We all have our own loves, insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, and unique capabilities.  And we have to take those into account in figuring where our talents and desires intersect.  That intersection is what I call your ‘blue flame’ – where passion and ability come together.  When that blue flame is ignited within a person, it is a powerful force in getting you where you want to go.” Page 26

 So often the question of what we’re meant to do in life or what career will make us happiest is overwhelming.  This “blue flame” idea is a great way to go about answering those questions.  You make a list of your greatest joys and another list of your greatest strengths, and wherever those criss-cross can lead you to a career you’ll be passionate about.  This can also be a great red flag as to your fufillment in your current job.  If you make a list of the things you’re passionate about and your current career isn’t related to any of those passions, chances are you’re not as fulfilled from work as you could be. 

The hardest part for me is not discovering what I’m passionate about, but discovering what I’m most passionate about.  I’m the type of person that when I like things, I like them a lot.  (Any Journey fans out there??)  So when I think about my passions, I end up with a longer list than I know what to do with.  I suppose this is a good problem to have, but I really can never decide what my ultimate passion is.  In a previous post called “Question My Sanity“, Katelyn and others made lists of daring career and life choices that could replace their current plans.  I believe I would be truly happy doing any of those things I listed.  I also am quite happy in my current field.  Which one of these is my truest passion?  How do I decide? 

Maybe I don’t have to.  It would be no use to me to put pressure on myself to decide which path I should pursue if that means not taking the time to enjoy the one I’m on.  It’d kind of be like worrying about how to be happy instead of just being happy.  I like my field.  It’s exciting and interesting and I have a steady income.  So for now, I’ll just enjoy it.  If there ever comes a time when I’m not as thrilled, I have those other fields to try my hand at.  In the meantime, I’ll work in those other passions as extra-curriculars.   

How about you guys?  Is anyone else torn between more than one passion?  Do you wonder whether there’s a career that you would like more or be more suited to?



  1. Brian Kurth said,

    Absolutely! And it’s fantastic to have more than one passion….and to combine work efforts. One of my former clients (I wish I could take credit for it) says she has formed a kaleidoscope career. She went from being a financial services marketing exec to still doing some marketing (pays the bills) but has now combined it with two of her passions: being a corporate humorist/speaker and doing stand-up. She’s combining all three and calls it her kaleidoscope career. I love it. And I encourage others to seek out the same. Why limit the passion!?

  2. There are a lot of different directions that attract me. That means that it’s easy to get started thinking maybe another direction would be better than the one I’m on at the moment. But like you said in your second to last paragraph, it’s key to make the very most of wherever you are. Being happy is often more than a fate, it’s a choice.

  3. @ Brian – Thanks for the real-life example! It’s good to know that if you’re a little imaginative, you can find a way to link all your passions together in one career path. Perhaps applying more than one of your passions toward a career creates a synergy that allows you to be even more driven and fulfilled – a whole being greater than the sum of its parts-type thing.

    @ Michael – I completely agree with happiness as a choice. It goes back to the concept of internal locus of control versus external locus of control – bad things happen to everyone, but it’s up to us as individuals to put ourselves back on track or work around any obstacles.

  4. Alex said,

    Yes I totally get the “two passions” dilemma. Seeing as though I am still a student, it is not a career based dilemma as much as it is a trade-off dilemma. My two passions are playing guitar and athletics. I wish I could take both very seriously at the same time and take both to the next level, but I realized that when I try to do both, I become mediocre at both. So, during track season, I focus solely on track and in the off season, I dedicate much more of my time to guitar and expanding my knowledge while having fun. I decided to create an annual cycle for myself. It’s actually very refreshing for me. One way to decide which passion you should follow is to figure out what passion will not be available in the future. I would suggest maximizing the opportunities that can pass you by. For me, it’s capitalizing on athletics while my body is young. Guitar can wait seeing as though I can be 90 strummin on the ol’ six string. For you a certain career might only be available at this point in life.. dont miss out on that opportunity!

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