A labor of love

Anthony Pica headshot
Anthony Pica
Read in 

A labor of love

A labor of love

"Follow your passion" is conventional advice you might have heard from HR, teachers, or a parent.

But I don't think it's wise.

I've never said it to anyone I've coached, and I likely never will.

The idea of pursuing passion and expecting happiness and money to follow is impractical.

I think it's better for mentors to ask:

  • "What are you curious about?"
  • "What problem do you want to solve?"
  • "What comes naturally to you?"

These questions prompt someone to get in the mindset of how to pursue their passion and identify the necessary skills.

It's counterintuitive, but I believe skills come before passion—not the other way around.

Passion emerges from experience, talent development, and mastery. When we get better at something, we feel a sense of accomplishment. It creates a positive feedback loop where we continue to grow and reach new levels of success.

"What must ultimately motivate you is the work itself and the process," says researcher and writer Robert Greene.

It is the journey of developing rare and valuable skills that ultimately leads to satisfaction and fulfillment, making it possible to "love what you do."

If passion is the key to success, then skill is the key to passion.

As leaders, we can cultivate a curiosity that inspires people to learn new skills through which they can discover their passion.

As Greek poet Pindar said 2,600 years ago, "become who you are by learning who you are."

You might also like...

No items found.

Join: Work Smart, Lead Better.

Liked this article? No more than once per week, I send a newsletter containing one idea you can use to work smarter and be a better leader. Core themes: strategy, collaboration, and mental fitness.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.