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What You Can Do To Fill The Missing Gap Between Passion And Success

What You Can Do To Fill The Missing Gap Between Passion And Success

Do what you love and love what you do, and success will come? Well, we wish.

Reality is not as simple as we want it to be. It takes more than just passion to succeed in anything.

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” — Walt Disney

Disney’s words echo with what I’ve recently read – an article written by Stephen Guise that talks about why you don’t need passion to succeed. Instead of needing passion to succeed, he says that you need to care about succeeding in what you want to do.[1]

Passion is just emotion; care is an action.

Wishing hard and wanting something really badly won’t give you anything.

Passion (NOUN) – “strong or barely controllable emotion.”

Care (VERB) – “Feel concern or interest; attach importance to something.”

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Passion is a “barely controllable emotion”, and emotions’ not always reliable. Care is different, it implies actions.

In today’s world where people always talk about finding your passion, it still seems vague to many. On the other hand, if you’re asked to find something you care about, it’s easier for you to name it.

You can choose to care anything at any time. When you care about something, you see that thing as really important to you and you’ll do what you can to protect it.

I know some of you may then say, “But Steve Jobs said people with passion can change the world and he really did change the world with his Apple products!”

Steve Jobs is undeniably a passionate entrepreneur, and he’s passionate about making an impact on this world. But he also had his down times when that passionate emotion would fade. What’s left in Steve Jobs when the passion’s not there suddenly? There’s definitely a lot more than passion in him.

Like it ≠ Good at it

There’s a lot of work to do besides being passionate. For example, you can be passionate about painting, but if you don’t have any art sense and painting skills, you can hardly become an expert in painting. To become an expert, you need to be always learning and improving your skills.

The perception that you’ll do it well anyway when you like it is just an illusion.

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Let’s say, I like eating and I eat quite a lot; that doesn’t mean I can just become a food guru and know how to analyze the quality of food and write good reviews for restaurants and dishes. To know how to rate foods, I have to learn the basic of what makes up good quality of food. I need to study the nature of different kinds of food like seafood, meat and vegetables etc. and understand the different types of cooking methods. I also have to learn the word usage and tone when writing a review for public to read.

Becoming an expert is one thing, becoming successful is another thing. To succeed, you need a pinch of luck too besides working hard.

What you do gotta be able to connect with what the world needs.

To be successful in anything, you need to get to the overlapped sweet spot of the three aspects: what you care, what you can do and what the world needs (where a bit of luck maybe needed).

    Don’t get turned off, luck doesn’t play everything here! When you do enough research to understand what the world needs and try to think about how you can utilize your strengths, you will meet that sweet spot. Making the seem-to-be uncontrollable factor controllable is definitely possible.

    Now you understand that merely passion is not enough to lead you to success, what to do next?

    Make what you care a Focus Foundation.

    After you’ve figured out what you care about most, make that your focus foundation.[2] Being passionate about something can be a kind of motivation to make things easier because it helps you focus on what you want and care about most.

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    Passion fuels resilience and provides you with the ambition to learn and strive to become more competent at what you do. Most importantly than anything else, it affords you the ability to focus.

    When you’re clear about the very thing you want, you know what things are actually distractions that stop you from reaching your goal.

    Learn not just what you care about, but what’s around that too.

    When you’ve got your focus, try to map out the skills you need to get better at that.

    Steve Jobs loved design so much that he took a calligraphy class just for the fun of it. He believed that the dots would connect in the future, all he did was to follow his heart to learn and let himself exposed to all the related stuff he was interested in.

    To kickstart mapping out the skills you need, try to get yourself a skill chart. This is suggested in Jon Westenberg’s framework to keep track of your skills learning progress after finding what you want to do.[3]

    It’s easy, you just have to create a table with these columns:

    • A column that lists the skills you have to learn
    • A column for Research
    • A column for Action
    • A column for Progress

    I changed the table a bit by adding one more column called “Target” to make the objective even clearer to me:

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      Research and write down the things you need to do in the “Action” column and estimate how far you are from taking up the skill in the “Progress” column.

      When you have the learning plan ready, apply that course you need, get yourself the tools required and kickstart learning and practicing.

      Aspire to make a difference in the world with your strengths.

      When you’ve become really good at what you care about, you can start to think about the connection between your strengths and the world’s needs.

      You’re good at something and you need the world to know. The best way to do that is to find out what the world wants and needs most at the moment and connect that with your strengths.

      Steve Jobs thought the world needed some different technology to make life easier. Technology used to be so inconvenient, everything was too big to carry around. So he created ipod-nano, ipod touch and ipad.

      Success is way to go, but you can start right now.

      Passion alone doesn’t guarantee success. But if you’ve already got your passion, that’s good enough to make that your foundation and motivation to keep moving.

      Start mapping out the skills you need and take actions. Instead of passively letting your passion wander around, be proactive and do something that will push you forward.

      Reference

      More by this author

      Anna Chui

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      Last Updated on August 7, 2018

      14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

      14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

      Being a leader of a company or organization is certainly a difficult and often frustrating position – but it can also be tremendously rewarding.

      Whether you’re just starting out as a leader, or have been leading for a while, you’ll be sure to benefit from knowing the essential traits that all great leaders possess.

      Effective and successful leaders transcend the title of ‘manager’ or ‘boss’. They’ve found a way to achieve the perfect combination of charisma, enthusiasm and self-assurance (with a healthy dose of luck and timing probably added to the mix).

      It may seem like some people are gifted with leadership skills, but the truth is most leadership traits can be learned, adopted, and strengthened with time and practice.

      As we delve into the list of effective leadership traits, you will learn the behaviors and attitudes of a good leader.

      The 14 most important leadership traits

      Please read through the list of leadership qualities carefully. Take note of which of the traits you excel at – and which ones you need to work at.

      Traits for better self-development

      1. Vision and mission

      Having a clear picture of what needs to be achieved is a crucial quality of good leadership.

      This vision is often communicated in a mission statement, such as this one from Starbucks:

        How to develop vision? Spend time pinpointing what you need to achieve, and then plan the steps to get there. Here’s a complete guide on creating your own vision.

        2. Self-motivated

        It’s no coincidence that successful leaders have an abundance of self-motivation.

        Without a decent level of self-motivation, you’ll struggle to become a strong and respected leader. However, if you don’t have a lot of self-motivation right now, don’t despair.

        One of the secrets is to have definite goals to keep you motivated at all times. Some people also choose to reward themselves every time they achieve a goal, and this is certainly a good way to keep yourself enthused and motivated. Learn how to set an ambitious yet achievable goal here.

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        3. Optimism and positivity

        Positive energy is contagious. Great leaders are overflowing with this type of energy.

        Not only does a positive mindset make leaders easy to work with, but it also gives them a constant source of inspiration and ideas.

        Tap into this energy by aligning yourself with positive people and positive goals. Find out more about the habits of positive people here.

        4. Emotional stability

        In leadership positions, frustration and stress are daily occurrences. This is why leaders need to have strong and stable emotions. They can’t allow themselves to be easily knocked off track.

        If you’re prone to losing your emotional stability when stressed or frustrated, try some of these techniques: breath deeply and slowly for 30 seconds, go for a walk, drink some water (instead of tea or coffee), turn your focus onto something you can resolve. Here’re some effective ways to control your emotions.

        5. Self-confidence

        Watch a presentation by any CEO and you’ll see that even if they’re not natural presenters – they make up for this by having powerful self-confidence.

        It’s not just CEOs who have self-confidence, any successful leader will have this trait in abundance. One reason for this, is that only a confident person can persuade others and gain their respect.

        Worried that you have low self-confidence? Try faking it. Psychologists often recommend that if you ‘act’ at being confident, you’ll start to look, sound and feel like you ARE confident. And in time… you will be.

        If you look for more ways to boost your self-confidence, this confidence coach has got you some nice advice:

        How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

        6. Decisiveness

        Leaders are frequently called upon to make decisions (some leaders may have to make dozens of decisions every day). In fact, you could say that making decisions is one of the key things a leader must do.

        Spend some time observing highly-successful leaders and you’ll see that they are quick to make decisions. They also enjoy making decisions, rather than stressing out like many non-leaders do when they’re asked to decide on something.

        Put yourself in the leadership bracket by developing your decision-making skills. Start with small decisions – and then work your way up to bigger and more difficult decisions. Once other people notice your decision-making prowess, they’ll automatically see you as leadership material.

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        I know it’s really quite difficult to make the right decisions sometimes, but don’t worry, here’s a guide for you:

        How To Make Good Decisions All The Time

        7. Passion and enthusiasm

        Expressive. Active. Energetic. These are words best describe a passionate leader.

        Great leaders are lively, driven and are possessed with zeal and purpose. It’s this passion that helps them achieve big results. If you want to emulate their success, then you need to develop passion and enthusiasm for the work at hand, and the end goals.

        Take a look at this Passion Pyramid to find out how importance a leader’s passion is to the team:

          One way to do this is to find what motivates you, and keep your focus firmly on that. For example, i f you’re motivated by helping others, then make sure your role and company are both suited to realizing this. If you’re motivated by money, then put your focus on achieving bonuses and pay rises.

          Take a look at Leo Babauta’s guide on how to find your passion.

          8. Accountability and responsibility

          Exceptional leaders know that at all times they’ll need to take responsibility for tasks and their results. This includes things likes individual and team performance, as well as being accountable for when things go wrong.

          When negative things occur (and you can guarantee they will from time-to-time), a great leader will immediately step in and take responsibility. Initially, they’ll try to resolve the problem in as quick and smooth a way as possible. But if this is not feasible, they’ll be sure to say that the buck stops with them – and they take full responsibility for what has happened.

          To develop your leadership skills, you must never shy away from responsibility or accountability. If you prefer to sweep mistakes under the carpet, then you’re demonstrating non-leadership traits. Try owning up to issues and finding solutions to them. By doing this, you’ll immediately gain people’s respect.

          Find out some tips on how to be a more responsible person here.

          9. Focus

          Distractions are everywhere. And it takes major focus to stay committed to tasks and goals. The best leaders understand this, and therefore, they’re always looking at ways to boost their team’s focus.

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          One way leaders do this, is to keep their team intensely focused on the bigger picture. This might entail allocating specific time for tasks and eliminating any non-essential work.

          If you’re easily knocked off track, you’ll need to spend some time boosting your focus. Try planning your day, week, month and year to help ensure that you don’t fall behind with achieving your goals. Check out the 7 strategies of staying super focus recommended by a productivity coach.

          10. Ever-learning

          Leaders know that to be successful they need to continually update their skills and knowledge. They deliberately learn all they can about their profession and industry, so they’ll able to make confident and assured decisions.

          Why is ever learning so important? I’ll leave it to you to find out the reason here:

          If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

          Imagine a CEO of a solar power company. His company may have amazing solar panels, but when it comes to discussing business with potential buyers, if the CEO or his sales team show a lack of understanding about the solar industry and future trends, etc., they’ll be unlikely to win any business.

          It’s exactly the same for you. If you’re a team leader at an electronics store, you should make sure you fully understand all the products that you offer. But go beyond just that, and read about upcoming products and trends that might change what customers are interesting in buying in the future.

          Traits for effective communication

          11. Empathy

          The best leaders understand the feeling of their team members, customers and associates. They know when to praise, and when to discuss problems (usually in private).

          Without empathy, leaders will be seen as cold, harsh and lacking understanding. They’re also likely to be regarded as untrustworthy.

          One way to ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ is to have regular informal discussions with your colleagues. When you do this, you’ll quickly learn their fears and desires. And when you understand why they have these – you’ll be in a position to express empathy. You can also learn to be more sensitive to others’ needs by taking up these communication skills.

          12. Persuasive and influential

          Communications are at the heart of all transactions. Whether it’s pitching for a sale or resolving a customer complaint, how you communicate will determine the outcome.

          Charismatic leaders such as Richard Branson (Virgin) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are confident and persuasive communicators. They know how to win over audiences and leave a lasting impressing in people’s minds.

          There’re some common barriers that you’ll have to overcome in order to communicate effectively:

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          How to learn effective communication? You could join the world-renowned U.S. nonprofit Toastmasters International. They’ve been training people in the art of public speaking since 1924, and members have included Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy.

          If you don’t have time to join a club, then practice your communications skills at home. You can do this in front of a mirror, or even better, video yourself presenting, and then ask some friends and family members for feedback. You’ll be amazed at what they pick up on.

          Traits for ensuring an engaging team

          13. Team building

          If you put a bunch of random people together, you may have a loose definition of a team. In reality, a real team has purpose, drive – and a leader lighting the way.

          If you’ve worked in different teams and with different managers, you’ll no doubt have come to this conclusion:

          Managers who treat their team members like children are unpopular with the team. Conversely, managers who treat their team members like adults, are respected and well-liked by the team.

          The days of disciplinarian managers are passed. Nowadays, successful team leaders know how to inspire and motivate their team, while keeping a harmonious atmosphere between all team members.

          14. Fostering creativity

          Solutions to problems are rarely black and white. Often it takes a leader who can ‘think outside the box’ to come up with answers. In other words, a leader must be creative, and also help to foster creativity and innovation throughout their team.

          Creativity is not only associated with pursuits such as arts, literature and music, running a team can be just as creative. There will be times every day when you need to come up with ideas and give guidelines for your team to come up with theirs to solve problems.

          Leadership is a journey of continuous learning

          Leadership is an amazing experience that will take you on roads you’ve never traveled before.

          Begin now to build your skills and experience, pick out the traits that you currently lack – and then work on developing those.

          It will take tons of practice and time before becoming an effective leader but eventually you will join the ranks of great leaders.

          Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

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