What to Do When You Lose Your Passion

In a recent post I shared three questions to help you discover your passion. This is a helpful process to put you in touch with your deepest passions. But what do you do when your passion begins to wane? How do you get it back…or should you get it back?

Bored

The truth is that your passions will evolve over time. Rarely does a singular passion drive you for the entirety of your life. And if it does, it often takes on a new shape or form that keeps it exciting and relevant. What fired you up yesterday may frankly bore you today. While you have to work hard to maintain focus in life and in your organization, you also need passion to keep you moving forward.

So what should you do when you begin to lose your passion? I would suggest that you to listen to yourself talk. In his book, Ladder Shifts, Dr. Sam Chand observes the importance of passion and shares an example from the life of Bill Gates. Chand writes:

“When Gates started Microsoft, you’d hear his passion about his work whenever he spoke. Talk with him today, however, and you might be surprised to find that his passion has shifted. That’s exactly what one writer from New York magazine discovered while listening to Gates speak not long after he stepped down as Microsoft CEO to run the Gates Foundation”

“It was clear to all in the auditorium that software no longer got Gates’ juices pumping the way his work at the foundation did,” the article says. “Technology questions were answered quickly, without passion, whereas questions about global health elicited lengthy disquisitions full of detail and emotion. The way he talked about wiping out malaria was how he used to talk about wiping out Netscape.” (p. 98-99)

People respond differently when their passion loses its luster. Some go on a permanent mental vacation. Others buckle down and refocus their commitment. But it doesn’t take long for boredom to rear its head again. No matter how many tweaks you make, the wind of passion no longer fills your sails. Yes, you might experience an occasional burst of energy as you make an adjustment here or there, but it’s only temporary at best.

So listen to yourself speak. Where has the energy in your voice shifted to? When I was preparing for a transition several years ago, a friend of mine said, “Stephen, I can hear renewed passion in your voice.” He was right. My passion had faded with my role and was finding a new voice in a new opportunity.

Question: When you listen to yourself talk (and when others listen to you) where do you (and they) hear your passion come alive?