Honing Your Passion (Part 2) | Max Woolf

Max Woolf is a motivational speaker and career coach for Gen Y and beyond. Max speaks to organizations, groups, sports teams, and individuals to help them maximize their potential, live life more fully, and discover their passion and purpose. He has developed a new context for living that invigorates life experiences and improves quality of life called Living at the Edge.

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Honing Your Passion (Part 2)

Published on 21 October 2010 by in Uncategorized

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I hope that you found the first exercise of Discovering Your Passion and Your Purpose (Part 1) to be truly invigorating. I know from having done this exercise several times for myself that at first it seems pretty challenging. What have I done that’s successful? What am I going to write? I haven’t done anything influential. And then once you get going, you remember events, have old memories, and make connections to moments in your past that were truly transformational.

Discovering Your Passion and Your Purpose was supposed to be an exploratory, outside-the-box exercise so that you can not only playback your personal highlight reel, but also remember what it felt like. Bringing back those memories should provide you with energy and excitement. It’s always a good way to rejuvenate yourself by reliving your personal highlight reel and sharing stories from the past (even if just with yourself).

Now, it’s time to turn those moments and memories into an actionable set of qualities that will help you hone your passion.

1. Go back and re-read what you wrote in the previous exercise (or listen to what you said or have the person you spoke with tell you what they heard).

2. Write down any of the key words and phrases that reflect the essence of those moments. The goal is to find words and phrases that represent who you are when you are at your peak. You are looking for characteristics, qualities, positive attributes, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, viewpoints, etc. (These words do not have to be perfect because ultimately, you’re going to re-phrase them, but they have to really get to the heart of why THIS moment or THIS experience is the one that was transformational)

3. Once you have your initial list of words and phrases, go back to your list and restate the phrases to give them a more accurate meaning that represents your passion. Some of them may be fine the way they are.

Are you still with me? Let me give you an example. I wrote the following blog post just over five years ago depicting one of the highlights of my hotel career when I was the Assistant Front Office Manager working at The Colonnade Hotel on a sold-out night: http://www.maxwoolf.com/a-night-among-nights/

Just re-reading the post again makes me nauseated and excited in the same instant. It brings me back to one of the very first times that I was truly at my peak professionally; I had such a clear picture of how the flow of business would be the next day that I was ready to dominate every minute of my 12+ hour shift. If you just read it, you might be asking, so, how do we take this tirade and turn into something actionable?

Here’s my list: (the words in parentheses are restating the words or phrases to provide a better representation that describe my passion in that moment)

1. Achieve the highest level of guest satisfaction (Excellence & Customer Service)

2. Successful navigation (Success & Big Picture)

3. Mastering the art of hotel management (Operations Management)

4. Problem Solving

5. You know exactly what is going on at all times (Awareness)

6. Work with what you’ve got (Living in the Moment)

7. Zeal

8. Charisma

9. Energy

10. Mentored (Continuous Learning and Improvement)

11. Managing chaos (Project Management & Problem Solving)

12. Just let it go…and be…that’s the only way to live… (In the Flow & Effortless)

For me, this list describes many of the reasons why I was so passionate about this business as well as qualities that made it truly exciting. Out of what may originally have seemed like a tirade, I was able to pull together a list of words that reflect my passions.

1. Excellence

2. Customer Service

3. Success

4. Big Picture

5. Operations Management

6. Problem Solving

7. Awareness

8. Living in the Moment

9. Zeal

10. Charisma

11. Energy

12. Continuous Learning and Improvement

13. Project Management

14. In the Flow

15. Effortless

Now that I have this list, I have a set of criteria that will begin to more clearly define my passion. This will provide me with a way to evaluate any new prospective job opportunities based on a set of characteristics from when I am at my peak. These are qualities that I can now use to make a real comparison of who I am when I am at my best.

If you go through all of the different peak experiences, you’ll find that you are able to pull together a list of 25-30 qualities, from which you can pare it down to the ones that make the most sense for you. Many of the qualities will come up multiples times (as they should) because they are representative of who you are.

Once again, I hope that you found this exercise useful and helpful. Now that we have a more actionable list, we have to take the next step: “Evaluating Your True Passion (Part 3)”

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