Lehigh Valley Arts Council board member and author, Dawn Lennon wrote this post for her Business Fitness blog in December 2010. It has an important message about taking action on what moves your heart. To her, that included supporting the Arts Council through donations of time and money. We could use your support too. Thanks.
Do “follow your passion” career messages rattle your nerves?
Every successful rags-to-riches actor, musician, entrepreneur, and social change agent testifies to it.
They make passion sound so BIG and all-consuming, like something they can barely contain. For them, it must be.
But what about us? We’ve made commitments and set a course that, for now, may not be about our passions. Do we even know what our passions are? Maybe not for sure. Ugh, what do we do?
Putting your finger on it
My favorite definition of passion is “boundless enthusiasm.” But even that sounds pretty BIG, but something that we can control.
Enthusiasm can be contagious and “boundless enthusiasm” irresistible. When we’ve got some to share, it’ll become magnetic.
Clearly, not everyone wants to turn a passion into riches or fame. At the very least, most of us would like a reasonable outlet for it. (If we get some perks too, all the better!) First, we have to find our niche.
Look outside your door
Work can be isolating without our knowing it, causing us to table interests that we enjoy. It happened to me.
I love the arts—theater, music, fine art, dance, literature, the whole gamut. For 20 years I was so consumed by my corporate job that I spent less and less time enriching myself through arts experiences.
When I left that life to start my coaching/consulting practice, I decided to find my way back to the arts.
I’m simply an arts patron. The arts always gave me a way see into myself, helping me make sense out of life. I knew that the arts could also make a tangible difference in the quality of life in a community. So, I looked for an organization in my area dedicated to arts advocacy.
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council, with its regional reach, filled the bill. I became a member, offered to help, was asked to serve on an event committee, and voila, I found an outlet for my then “quiet” enthusiasm.
One step leads to another.
I started meeting wonderful people—patrons, gallery owners, artists, collectors, corporate and education leaders. The executive director, Randall Forte, hooked me with his passion for how the Arts Council’s work was making a difference in the community. He took my enthusiasm up notch.
Then one day I realized what was happening. My love of the arts and my affiliation with the Arts Council had enabled me to (re)discover my passion for being a voice for the good the arts brings to individuals and the community. Being invited to serve on their board took me to that “boundless” state.
I saw that my gifts of time and money to the Arts Council were providing:
- Teachers with workshops by national experts on ways to use the arts to help students learn and cope with life problems
- Business and local government leaders with data on the impact of the arts on the local economy, promoting better decision-making and planning
- Artists with professional development programs and government grant awards for arts projects
- Arts organizations with cooperative advertising opportunities, an on-line box office, and market research information
- Arts Council members with networking events and a sense of community
So much good was being done. So many lives made richer.
The trickle-down effect of our flickering or raging passions teaches us much about their power. So please revisit your passion whether big or small. Discover its other layers and invest your energies.
When we put our passions to work, we take what we gain to our jobs— leadership experiences, community relationships, insights, and experiences. All of this makes us more interesting, more engaged, and more likely to be seen at work in a fresh and even more positive light. Now let’s get “boundless!” Enjoy!