“When you follow your passion, success will follow you.”

When I heard that statement, I looked up at the TV. Not really being a TV person, I normally leave it on for background noise.

As I gazed at the TV, I could not let that slogan go. The name of the company did not register but the phrase that they are using as their tag line did.

There has been a lot of chatter about finding your passion in life. As I talk to young people, it seems that everyone is on the hunt for something — whether it is a job or a career. Yes, people are looking and searching for that hidden treasure called passion.

I believe in this statement because as the saying goes, choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. I do not know who that quote is attributable to, but I do know that it is true.

Problem is, people are in search of it. They spend so much of their time thinking and trying to figure out what passion is.

You won’t find it by brainstorming

It makes me recall people sitting around in a brainstorming meeting. Ask anyone where they get their ideas or thoughts to coalesce and you will get a variety of answers — but none of them will be answered by sitting in a brainstorming session. You will hear that people get their ideas while in the shower, working out in the gym, jogging, etc. But, you will never hear them say they get them when brainstorming.

In fact, if you think back to all the golden nuggets of ideas that have come your way, they probably flew through your brain at a time when you were in the midst of something else.

However, one thing that I have noticed is that the passion is never in your head. You will never think it, because the passion you seek has a home address in your heart.

The constant quest for finding it by thought will never happen. That little voice can sometimes be a determinant in our minds and will often talk us out of what our heart is yearning for.

What you have dreamed may not be your passion

Recently during a presentation, I was pulled aside by an economist. One of the thoughts about passion during my presentation had caused a light to go off in his head.

He was going through this quest, and as he talked about his economic duties, he was emotionless — high-end job, mundane duties, and he was not enjoying it. This was from someone he knew in high school who wanted to be an economist.

However, at this stage of his career he was dismayed. Yes, he loved being an economist, but this area of focus was not it. He was doing what he had always envisioned, but he knew this was not his passion.

When you know it is a perfect fit

My question to him was if you love being an economist, what do you not like about this role? If this was your lifelong dream, you should be at career utopia.

As the conversation continued, he started talking about an area of study within his field. That is when I noticed the emotion of his face change.

He leaned closer and started talking about development finance and how his skill set was a perfect fit. He also talked about how he had given thought to going back to school to get an advanced degree in this area.

Developmental finance is an alternative financial institution which includes micro-finance institutions, community development institutions, and revolving loan funds. These institutions provide a crucial role in providing credit in the form of higher risk loans, equity positions, and risk guarantee instruments to private sector investments in developing countries.

Passion? You can see it if they’re animated

As he gave me the particulars about this area his delivery changed. He became animated, and the words flowed out like a rushing waterfall as he explained the narrative around this area of finance. His heart was speaking as he talked about it.

My advice to him was to embrace this new role, because  it would change his life.

It became so apparent that he had ignited his creative insights far beyond just being an economist. By using the same skill set, he saw a clear path that was paved in passion. It was there in his heart, and no amount of brainstorming would have brought it into the clarity that I witnessed.

Much of the time we find ourselves “thinking” about this passion thing, and in most cases, our true passion is right in front of us.

I got into HR almost as fluke. I had been teaching MS Office at IBM, and eventually, I became a training manager. All the previous jobs I had been just that — jobs. It was only after I left them that I started on my passionate journey.

In this new company, I worked very closely with the VP of HR on some initiatives, and she eventually asked if I would want to join her team. That was the beginning of a love affair with human resources. The honeymoon is still on, and I figured out along the way that I am pretty good at this HR thing.

Yes, it’s TGIM

One you find your own passion, you are no longer just working. Instead, you are enjoying each and every day.

You cannot wait until the weekend to get back in the driver’s seat. My catch phase is TGIM [Thank God Its Monday]. It is the most satisfying feeling ever.

So as you go about your quest to bring clarity to what you do or what you want to do, listen to your heart because it will enable you to reach your real goal.

Start paying attention to what you enjoy, what you read, what you dream of, and what you are excited to talk about. Listening to yourself in the peace and quiet will take you a lot further than any assessment or brainstorming session will ever do.