Saturday, February 26, 2011

What is your passion?

Toastmasters
Speech #10
Inspire your audience
February 18, 2011

Please say your name, where you work, and how long you’ve been there. Also, for us to get to know you a bit better, please answer the question on the board:

What is your passion?

This is what teachers, trainers, and facilitators say when they ask participants in class to introduce themselves. I’ve been asked this question too many times, it bugs me. I’m always tempted to say what I really feel. Like, ‘Why is it your business to know my passion?’ or ‘I’m a very private person I prefer not to tell you my passion’ or to really evade the question, I thought of saying , ‘Sorry I cannot share my passion, it will not be appropriate in a setting like this’. That will get everyone thinking, or laughing.

I am your passion. That’s what my husband always tells me. over and over and over again. I guess to influence my thinking and eventually make me believe that it’s true.

The truth is, I don’t know my passion and it pains me to see a roomful of people in class answering this question so easily as if they’ve known their passion since they were born. And I’m the only one who can’t answer the question. Of course I know I’m not the only one with this dilemma. Somebody will always be like me in this world. But in a roomful of people, I may be the only one honest and brave enough to admit that I don’t know what my passion is.

What is passion anyway? Do you know your passion? Why do some people know and some don’t? Those who don’t know, sometimes just give in to the pressure and say all sorts of stuff. Like, my passion is my family or my cat, or helping people. It may be true for them but those answers do not work for me. I tried to sincerely answer the question in class a couple of times. One time I said thinking is my passion. The minute I said that I regretted it. It sounded so lame and so psychotic the others started looking at me weird. Another time, I said looking for my passion is my passion and I have been doing it for 15 years. That got me smirks, as if I was just trying to sound intelligent. But it’s true. I don’t know what my passion is and I have been looking for it forever.

Thinking about it, maybe we don’t define passion the same way. That is why we get different answers. So what really is passion? According to the dictionary:

PASSION IS AN OBSESSION, A STRONG, EXTRAVAGANT FONDNESS AND ENTHUSIASM OR DESIRE FOR ANYTHING.

From this definition, my husband doesn’t qualify as my passion. I think he is my hobby. Hobby being defined in the dictionary as an activity or interest pursued for ONLY for PLEASURE and not as a main occupation.

To me passion is something you want to do every minute of your day. Something that, when you’re doing it, nothing else matters, you don’t hear or see anything else, you are transported to another world. You are consumed by it, you think about it all day, it is the most important activity in your life. When you are doing it, you lose track of time, you will do it for free just to get an opportunity to do it.

This is my definition of passion. That is why I cannot answer the question. There is nothing in my life right now that qualifies as an obsession. I don’t have anything I think about constantly, nothing I will do for free for the love of doing it, nothing I love so much that I lose track of time, nothing that consumes me.

Sometimes I think that it might be genetic. Maybe I am missing the passion gene. Or maybe I married young and got caught in the responsibility of raising a family too early before I even found my passion. Or maybe the passion that I am attaining to have is too much that my obsession when compared to it, does not measure up. Maybe what I want is extreme passion and what I have now is basic passion so it doesn’t seem like a passion at all. Do you get what I mean?

My husband is a passionate man. And I mean that in a WHOLESOME way. His passion is drums. Playing drums, teaching drums, tinkering with his drums, thinking, breathing his drums. I guess the same as any musician, and I know those of you who live with a musician can empathize, he is obsessed with his music and his drums. It consumes him, he does it for free (duh?!), he can do it all day, there is not a doubt in his mind that it is his passion.

There is a ton of jokes about drummers that I believe to be true. Let me share some with you. What do you call a drummer who does not have a girlfriend or a wife? Homeless. What do you call an employee drummer? Married. If he had a choice he will not do anything else.

This is the level of passion I am looking for, and I don’t have it now. I am trying to find it and it is not easy. I enjoy sewing and lose track of time when I’m doing it. I am happy with the curtains, costumes, bags, bed sheets I’ve made. But I won’t do it for free. I love doing crafts but I don’t think about it all day. I love my 4 kids, very much, they do consume all of my time and energy but they don’t consume me. They’re not my obsession…yet.

How can I find my passion? I try all sorts of activities to find out. I think deeply about my younger years to try to remember what I liked doing then.

My list of criteria to find my passion is this:

It needs to be something I love to do.
It needs to be something I am naturally good at.
It needs to be something I am willing to do for free.

All of these should be met. It cannot be just one or two.

One time I thought I nailed it. I went with a group of friends to a videoke bar and I truly enjoyed it. I sang for hours and I couldn’t stop. I thought, this is it! This is my passion. This is what I was born to do. Until I saw the faces of my audience. Then I realized that it cannot be my passion. I was not naturally good at it.

What is my passion? I’ve been asking myself this for the last 15 years. I believe that when I do find it, it will be the way out of this frustration of doing work that I don’t essentially like. My manager is not here now, right? How about you? Do you like your work at all? Is it your passion?

When I find my passion I will do it constantly until I become an expert at it and it will have value in itself. And then I will feel alive to wake up every day and work on it and not live for weekends.

I am glad you came to listen to me today. I have been thinking about this speech for a long time. I forgot to cook dinner the time I was writing this. My four kids went to be hungry. I edited and revised this more than 20,000 times. I have been constantly preoccupied with thoughts of how I will deliver this speech.

Oh, I just wonder. What is my passion? What is yours?

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I loved this post! I myself have decided just to settle for enthusiastic. It's not quite so intense and after working, raising kids and a husband for over 30 years, I don't need intense anymore.