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Oct 03

Passion Might be Overrated 7 Practices That You Need In its place

By bonusadm

Image: Shutterstock / ChingChing

Its common wisdom. Near gospel really, and not just among young people and founders. Across generational lines, sentiments like those from Steve Jobs 2005 commencement at Stanford have been engraved into our collective consciousness:

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

In other words, follow your passion. There’s just one problem: Follow your passion is dangerous advice.

That’s a troubling claim, but it comes straight from Cal Newports investigation into the details of how passionate people like Steve Jobs really got started as well as what scientists say predicts happiness and fuels great accomplishment.

Newports not alone. In recent years, a host of leaders, academics, and entrepreneurs have all come to the same startling conclusion: nearly everything youve been told about following your passion is wrong.

Here are seven habits you need instead.

1. Not passion, purpose

Ryan Holiday, author of Ego Is the Enemy:

Your passion may be the very thing holding you back from power or influence or accomplishment. Because just as often, we fail with no, because of passion. [P]urpose deemphasizes the I. Purpose is about pursuing something outside yourself as opposed to pleasuring yourself.

Until about a century ago, passion was a dirty word. Classical philosopher like Socrates and Marcus Aurelius saw passion as a liability not an asset: an insatiable and destructive force. Why?

Chiefly because passion is dangerously self-centered. In fact, our own modern descriptions of passion betray this inward bend: I want to [blank]. I need to [blank]. I have to [blank]. In most cases, whatever word finishes those sentences regardless of how well meaning it might be is overshadowed by the first.

Purpose, on the other hand, is about them, not me. It reorients our focus onto the people and causes were trying to reach, serve, help, and love. In The Happiness Hypothesis, psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes this pursuit as a striving to get the right relationships between yourself and others, between yourself and your work, and between yourself and something larger than yourself. If you get these relationships right, a sense of purpose and meaning will emerge.

Passion makes us bigger. Purpose connects us to something bigger and in doing so makes us right sized.

2. Not passion, picking

Shaa Wasmund, author of Stop Talking, Start Doing:

No is a far more powerful word than Yes. Every Yes said out of obligation or fear takes time away from the things and people we love. When an opportunity appears connected with your passion, its even trickier. Instead of snatching up everything that might get your closer to the life you want, give yourself the space to pick carefully.

Good is the enemy of great. That’s how Jim Collins put it anyway. Learning to say No is easily one of the most vital skills we can cultivate. And yet, even if you’ve mastered No to the obvious stuff, passion rears its head.

The blinding effect of passion leads us unthinkingly into projects and meetings that, in truth, are dead ends. Worse, they sap time and energy that would otherwise move us forward. When Tim Ferriss asked journalist Kara Swisher what message shed put on a billboard for millions to see, her answer was a single word, Stop.

And that’s what picking is all about: slow down, pause, evaluate, weigh, and only then make a clear-headed choice. Picking involves, first, putting a time buffer on our decisions, particularly decisions that appear connected with your passion. Second, running our choices by an objective third party: a friend or colleague who can call out our blind spots.

Sleep on it. Reach out. The sun will rise tomorrow. And be ruthless with your Nos.

3. Not passion, practice

Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance:

After you’ve discovered and developed interest in a particular area, you must devote yourself to the sort of focused, full-hearted, challenge-exceeding-skill practice that leads to mastery. You must zero in on your weaknesses, and you must do so over and over again, for hours a day, week after month after year.

We all love shortcuts. The allure of getting more by doing less is seductive. But are there times when doing more equals more? Absolutely.

The classic illustration comes from David Bayles and Ted Orlands Art and Fear where a ceramics teacher divided his class into two groups. The first was told theyd be graded on quality. The other, quantity. To get an A, the quantity group was required to produce fifty pounds of clay pots. Not exactly an artistically inspired assignment. And yet, when grading time came, a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

What accounted for this reversal of expectations?

Easy: while the quality group held back laboring under perfectionism the quantity group got busy. They practiced. And that’s good news. If greatness came down to passion or worse, talent then itd be reserved for only a select few. Practice means greatness is doable one tiny step after another.

4. Not passion, planning

Liran Kotzer, CEO of Woo.io:

Passion is indeed very important, but what most people don’t know is whats needed to achieve their true potential. Whether its to acquire new skills, get a promotion, or achieve what they want, it all starts with having a plan based on real data and real-world options.

The only word less sexy than practice is planning. And yet planning is a golden thread woven through the lives of artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs alike. The trick here is that plans need not be grandiose. Rather, they should’nt be.

Optimism is wonderful when it comes to our dreams. However, when it comes to whats next the nitty-gritty actions that’ll get us there optimism kills. Infected with passion, our plans lose touch with reality. We overestimate strengths and underestimate challenges. Beyond the real data and real-world options, we build castles in the sky. That’s one of the reasons platform like Woo, which lets you get feedback from companies and headhunters anonymously, are so valuable.

Where passion disconnects us from reality, planning especially planning of the SMART goal and number-crunching variety drives home the true state of affairs.

That true state rescues us from false expectations, show stoppers, and resentment. As a good friend of mine likes to say, The question when you are trying to bring a dream into reality should not be, What going to go right? It should be, Whats going to go wrong?

5. Not passion, positioning

Jason Stone, founder of Millionaire Mentor Inc.:

Passion can only take you so far. After that, if you don’t have the skills, the tools, the resources, the knowledge, and the track-record to move forward, take risks, and expand. Otherwise, you wont be able to position yourself as an authority. Positioning is key to make sure you are ready when opportunity strikes!

Humans are associative creatures. We think and act not in isolation but by comparing and contrasting.

The basic approach of positioning, wrote Al Ries and Jack Trout in Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate whats already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist. This is especially true when it comes to how other people see us.

Passionate people often come off as self-inflated. They are legends in their own minds. Positioning means leveraging who you are and what you have done as a springboard to whats next. It embraces the associate nature of other people and while it still leaves room for confidence acknowledges that how others perceive us is more real, at least to them, than how we see ourselves.

6. Not passion, peripheral

Troy Osinoff, author of My Bad Parent: Do As I Say, Not as I Did:

People that think they completely understand their world are the most susceptible to overlook new opportunities. Peripheral is about establishing an unwavering curiosity to use your existing knowledge in uncovering new patterns and trends both for the sake of your personal development as well as the success of your business or career.

Passion makes us myopic. We become so focused on the desire inside us, we lose sight of whats around us. Objectivity the ability to see the world as it truly is atrophies in the blinding light of passion.

Adopting a peripheral perspective forces us to examine the margins. It widens our view. Rather than rush headlong into disaster, were able to spot not just the pitfalls but the opportunities we would have otherwise missed.

How? By cultivating curiosity. Questions like, What am I missing? What am I ignoring? Who could give me a fresh take? are vital in every area of life. Likewise, so is putting ourselves in new situations, reading books outside our passions, and intentionally pursuing people who have nothing to do with what it is we think we want.

7. Not passion, perseverance

Brian D. Evans, founder of Influencive and Inc. 500 Entrepreneur:

The person who calls themselves a student is more a master than those who try to wear the title. Get up when you get knocked down. Come back stronger, faster, and (above all) smarter. The constant desire to learn and overcome has helped me achieve everything. You must persevere.

Although it might sound odd, perseverance is as much about putting in effort as it is battling ego. Drunk on passion, masters are doomed to repeat failures in the name of pushing through. In contrast, students do more than hone their craft; they learn from their mistakes.

Asked if the Patriots historic comeback in Super Bowl LI was his greatest game ever, Tom Brady replied: [W]hen I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half, plus overtime as one of the best games ever but it was certainly one of the most thrilling.

Certainly Brandy persevered, and it’d be nice if that guaranteed success. But sometimes you wont come back to win it. At least, not in the moment. Jobs will be lost. Pitches turned down. Relationships ended. And reviews harsh.

Failure, however, isn’t just an inevitable stepping stone toward success. Rejection is part of success itself. As Louis CK put it to a budding comedian, The only road to good shows is bad ones. Just go start having a bad time and, if you don’t give up, you will get better.

Is passion a bad thing?

Understood rightly, no. But as the be-all-and-end-all? Yes.

Cal Newports prescription was skill: passion is the result of excellence, not its source.

Far from a magic bullet, passion can mislead us, blind us, and even turn us in on ourselves. Newport was right: Follow your passion might just be terrible advice. Thankfully, these seven habits put passion in its place so that the fire Jobs spoke of doesn’t burn out but endures.

 
 
Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.

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How To Get A Consistent Stream Of Cash-In-Hand Buyers For ANY Offer

How To Get A Consistent Stream Of Cash-In-Hand Buyers For ANY Offer
motivational
Sep 21

Treating People Like, Well, People is Key to Leadership Here’s How

By bonusadm

Image:  Ilyafs/shutterstock

At the risk of stating the obvious, leading is hard. Dealing with people, wrote Dale Carnegie over 80 years ago, is probably the biggest problem you face. Bleak as it may sound, the challenge of leading is just that: People. If anything, its gotten tougher. The once reigning champ of leading people at work wage increases now displays a very weak link to motivation, satisfaction, and performance. Even more pointed, a 2016 study from Fidelity found that 58 percent of millennials prefer improved quality of work life over financial benefits. So, what does work? In short: people want to be treated like people especially at work. Thankfully, leading like a human comes down to three habits you can start practicing today.

Commitment and the power of well done!

When Stanford business professors James Baron and Michael Hannan concluded their expansive eight-year study of over 200 tech startups, one finding emerged. Their goal was to determine the most successful managerial style. To do that, the duo created five models: engineering, star, commitment, bureaucracy, and autocracy. Despite mainstream wisdom, Baron and Hannan discovered that the commitment model which relied on emotional or familial ties of employees to the organization, selection based on cultural fit, and peer-group control outperformed its counterparts on all fronts.

In fact, not a single of the commitment organizations they studied failed. Leaders can build commitment through a host of methods, but the most uncomplicated answer lies in one we often overlook encouragement. In Baron and Hannans study, encouragement lay at the heart of each commitment organization. Likewise, Duke behavioral economists Dan Ariely validated this finding through a series of experiments at Intel. Compliments nothing more than a simple Well done! from the boss increased productivity 34.7 percent more than monetary bonuses over a one week period.

Why? Because while cash led to initial boosts in motivation, feelings of entitlement immediately followed. Compliments, on the other hand, sustained. Gratitude is arguably the single most beneficial human emotion. Thats true day to day as well as when your people make career decision with long-term consequences. The thing is, compliments and commitment dont happen by accident. They take intentionality: a deliberate focus to look for whats right and call it out. Praise and gratitude, says Katie Melissa, CEO at Starbound Marketing, are always more effective than criticism. People inherently want to feel appreciated and important. This is all the more vital when the people you lead struggle and stumble. As Jeremy Miller puts it, A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after a success.

Autonomy and the freedom of less

The second avenue to humane leadership is a favorite among forward thinkers. Unfortunately, its also the most counterintuitive. Daniel Pink in both his TEDTalk and book-length treatment lays out the comprehensive benefits of autonomy: According to a cluster of recent behavioral science studies, autonomous motivation promotes greater conceptual understanding, enhanced persistence, higher productivity, less burnout, and greater levels of psychological well-being. Autonomy means freedom, and freedom stems from the little word less.

Starting out in a career or new environment, structure fuels performance. But as time progresses, what top performing team members look for is autonomy and trust. If you want to run an immature team, explains brand strategist Leonard Kim, keep a tight structure. But if you want to attract the best of the best to follow you, then loosen your grip. In other words, leading more demands leading less or at least leading less hands on. Micro-management breeds resentment, which why the most practical place to start is with less meetings. Estimates on how much time meetings wastes range from 25 to 50 percent of our total working hours.

Too often, those meetings are little more than veiled attempts for leaders to flex. Whether small, large, or even one-on-one gatherings, this desire to exert control stems from the fear that the people we lead are going to make mistakes. But as Ed Catmull, founder and CEO of Pixar, points out: Failure is a manifestation of learning and exploration. If you arent experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it. And, for leaders especially, this strategy dooms you to fail. The other alternative is to transform necessary meetings into genuine human gatherings. In the delightfully titled Meet Is Murder, Virginia Hefferman outlines Holacratic meetings, which leaders like Tony Hsieh, C.E.O. of Zappos, and Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Medium.com, have embraced: “Each Circle holds a weekly or biweekly ‘tactical meeting’ for progress updates and a biweekly or monthly governance meeting.

A governance meeting starts with a Check-In, or rather (according to Holacracy literature) a space for every participant to call out any distraction and get present for the meeting.’” Intentionally limiting oversight can sound scary. But that’s why easing into it with less meetings or your own adaptation of the Holacratic system works so well.

Agility and the people closest to the problem

Our final method comes from the unlikely worlds of car manufacturing and software development. The agile methodology, as Charles Duhigg explains in Smarter Faster Better, emphasized collaboration, frequent testing, rapid iteration, and pushing decision making to whoever was closest to a problem. Essentially, agile leadership blends commitment namely, collaboration and relational ties with autonomy flexibility and decentralized decision-making. Agile leaders entrust responsibility to their teams knowing that humans naturally reciprocate that trust with passionate, long-term commitment. At the big-picture level, the applications of agile are everywhere (though rarely under that title). Words like self-management, trust, transparency, and personal responsibility appear over and over again in the annual lists of best companies to work for.

The quickest way to go agile, however, comes from the last phrase of Duhiggs definition: pushing decision making to whoever was closest to a problem. This can be as small as budgetary discretion or it can be momentous: giving each person full control over halting production (a story Duhigg chronicles). The rise of remote working makes agility even more crucial. According to Polycoms recent study of 25,234 workers The Changing World of Work: A Global Survey nearly two thirds of the global workforce take advantage of anywhere working. Thats a 343 percent increase from 2012: 14 percent compared to 62. The more dispersed your people, the more hierarchical structures become productivity killing bottlenecks. Agile, in contrast, prioritizes tight cycles of feedback not with internal leadership, but with external users and customers.

By giving teams direct access to real-world testing, whether theyre building an app or selling an stove, human-centered leaders empowered the people closest to the problem to act. After all, in the words of Clinton Senkow, Co-Founder and COO at Influencive: If you don’t trust your employees to work from anywhere and solve problems on their own, you probably shouldn’t have hired them in the first place.

Being a leader has never been more human

Its true: leadership is hard. The temptation to rule with gold or gun is hard to resist. But old-school methods no longer work. What does? Going back to Carnegie, There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it. As it turns out, the key word in that sentence is the same one that gives us so much grief: person. What the people in our lives want is to be treated like people: encouraged, free, and agile. That’s how you lead.

 
Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.

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