Work and Live your Passion
Work isn’t just a job — it’s your life. It’s how you spend your days, weeks, months, and eventually years. If you don’t feel personally invested in the outcomes of your work, it will suffer and so will you. For me, there is no such thing as a “work-life balance.” At the end, there is no work and life. There is only life. Period.
Under this assumption, we all need to consider one true life factor: people generally put their own interests first. If their interests aren’t aligned with a company’s, they won’t feel motivated to do their best work. It does not matter if you are the boss or the employee, there’s often an assumption that great ideas and successful executions always come from the top. However, it is critical to understand that people at all levels of an organization are instrumental in making big ideas a reality, from inception to delivery. And, while people are an organization’s most important asset, they are frequently the most misunderstood. As Brightline states in its People Manifesto, if your people don’t feel good about their work, and don’t feel that their interests are fulfilled, they disengage almost immediately.
The key to avoiding this broken link is to create an environment and culture of innovation for your people so that they can pursue their interests at work. That work is an enjoyable and rewarding thing. When you create conditions and incentives that support an engaged, idea-generating workforce, you’ll unlock otherwise unexplored potential. When you build a workplace that encourages creativity, diversity, and includes a support system for employees, they’ll want to share and build on their ideas. It is a win-win solution.
Supporting side projects, for example, helps to develop employee passions that can ultimately open up a whole new line of business. Take, for instance, Slack: A company of video game designers created an internal communication tool for themselves that eventually became a separate product — and their main revenue stream. It has gone on to become the fastest startup to hit a billion-dollar valuation, and is now common in workplaces and community groups.
Giving employees learning opportunities, whether it is training on a new software or resources for academic pursuits, can help them develop desired new skills or build on existing ones that they can then use on the job. Creating opportunities for people to share ideas both inside and outside their own teams and across functions can also help them tap into their passion at work and come up with better ideas as a group than any one person could have done alone.
Transparent leadership also plays a role in helping people feel invested in a company. Since senior leaders are responsible for driving change and modelling target behaviours, they need to clearly communicate their goals and strategies. The more people know about their company’s goals, the more invested they feel in reaching it because it feels like their own goal.
If you find that the direction your organization is taking is not the direction you want to go based on your interests, goals, passions, values, or skills, I have a piece of personal advice for you: it is time to start looking for your next opportunity.
Every single person that knows me can tell how much I am passionate about what I do. My work is part of my life as food and sleep. But I know that, without this strong passion, it would be hard to give the amount of time, effort, and dedication that is needed to lead and grow initiatives like Brightline. This goes an extra layer deep: I am also passionate about finding a job that is part of my life and interests.
I encourage the same for you: allow your passion to guide you toward an organization or team where you can bloom, and where you’ll find your interests are fed and developed.
Happiness and hard work aren’t independent of one another. They are part of the same life — your life!