It takes time and self-exploration to find what makes each of us tick. Some folks know early on what their passion is, as if they were born knowing, while others are late bloomers, discovering their passions later in life – sometimes by luck, and other times by overcoming the voice that says no, you can’t, and going for it. And then there are those for whom what they thought the loved turns out to be a passing phase, leaving them hungry and searching for what comes next, for that something that makes them lose the world and tap into a higher realm. The truth is that we are all always in flux, adapting, changing, learning, and growing. Sure, there will be rut weeks and perhaps years, but in the scope of our lives, change is inevitable, and because of that fact, our passions will likely shift as our goals and interests do.
If you are lucky, your job provides you with hours of joy each week. For many of us, our career satisfies a need to help, to interact with others, to form meaningful relationships, and to be challenged. I’ve always been grateful for work, as it enables me to contribute to society, or at least to a corporation, in a way that makes me feel as if I have earned my days on this earth. In the world of work, I strive to do my best, to make a difference.
But I am also grateful for the hours I am not working, as they enable me to pursue my various passions, which allows my imagination to move into a different realm. The more professionals that I interact with, the more convinced I am that successful people possess a myriad of interests and passions – or what some choose to call hobbies or even obsessions. There is something to turning off from the world of work, and tuning into your mind and heart on a different level. A level that doesn’t involve a paycheck or judgment; a dimension that is not about anyone or anything other than following your heart. I am a believer that when you immerse yourself in what you love, there is a contagious and life promoting energy that overflows into all that you do. In my experience, fulfilled people are the most fulfilling for me to interact with.
What is passion? It is a thirst, a hunger, a desire, that immerses us in our depths – passion is not about a paycheck, it is not about competition, and it is not about judgment. Passion is what leads us to our own internal greatness and inspires us to create and explore and grow, and if we are lucky, it is the element of us that enriches our interaction with others and in turn helps others to grow. Passions are as unique as fingerprints – some are passionate about a sport, others about the arts, music, sewing, history, puzzles, dancing, yoga – and so on. The thing about passions are that if you don’t make time for them, you can somehow start to feel bad, as if you are letting yourself down.
I often find myself in conversations in which people – colleagues, friends, new acquaintances – share with me that they don’t have time. That there are not enough hours in the day between their jobs and their families. They don’t have time to do the things they would like to do, such as exercise, or eat healthy, or see a movie, grab dinner with a friend. The topic of passions or interests doesn’t even have a place in those conversations. We all have years of our lives that we live a rather robotic existence, whether young children are involved, or graduate school, or aging parents. I have often said that I will sleep when I die, which has caused endless commentaries from those who love me – and from those who are serious about sleep. Sure, work and family does take up a lot of time. But there are always the early morning hours, or for those who like to sleep in, the late night hours. These are magical hours. They are the hours in which our minds are open –hours in which the phone is not ringing, the emails are not buzzing in. Floating time is how I like to think of it, and I have used these precious hours for the past two decades, to do everything from run endless miles, to write stories, a novel, meditate, practice yoga. Floating time is reserved for our passions – both discovering them and cultivating them. These hours are different than vacation or work holidays in that they exist regardless of the day of the week, regardless of the season, and regardless of what the day ahead has in store for us.
It takes courage to leave the world behind, and immerse yourself in what you love, whether it be for an hour or a week. There is the potential of failure and feeling like a fraud – maybe you are not cut out for your passion. The juggling act is not easy – trying to honor your passion while not ignoring your responsibilities. But if you can somehow define your floating time and carve it into your life, the rewards are rich. And you just never know how much they will benefit not only you, but those you interact with. For me, there is always something magical to showing up for work, after I have created my own magic. Suddenly, I have more capacity for the challenges that each day brings, more patience, and a brighter aspect and dedication to success.