The answer is quite simple, get passionate about your work and share that with those you have
involved in your firm.
How to Get Passionate about Your Work.
1. Surround yourself with the right people. The job of your dreams, straight from the page of your passion, can be unfulfilling if you aren’t surrounded by the right people. These are the ones who not only call you to be the best that you can be, but refuse to let you be any less. The right people don’t let you sell yourself short. They believe in you and encourage you to believe in yourself. They may be mentors or role models, or you may be in a leadership position to them. These people don’t expect perfection from you, but they do expect greatness over the long run. No flame of passion can ignite or continue to burn in a vacuum. A workplace full of negative, passionless, and going-through-the-motions people is toxic. Like a vampire, it will suck out any passion that you have.
2. Get your life priorities straight. The “big rocks” in your life are the things you love such as your family members or outside passions, and your job should support them. Does your work environment allow you the flexibility to take time off to attend your child’s school functions? Or, if your big rock is traveling around the world, does your job allow you to take three weeks off at a time to travel to faraway places? Maybe your job isn’t your “passion,” but it can allow you the opportunity to comfortably enjoy the passions you do have in life.
3. Open the toolbox.To be passionate, you not only understand what you’re doing, but you have confidence in it as well. If you don’t have all the tools and resources you need to get your job done, ask for training. Be a lifetime learner and enroll in a “passion-feeding” educational event every quarter. Commit to one new workshop outside of work to expand your toolbox. Whether it’s a communication class, a technology workshop, or simply attending a two-hour speaking engagement by an author who inspires you, it will enliven your passion.
4. Enlist others’ support. Discover what motivates you. If you can’t do this on your own, ask for help from those around you whom you trust and admire. It may be the last person you would expect, or even someone who
Here’s a story from Laney that serves as a good example of this scenario:
I had been working at a law firm for four years, and I liked my job. I worked with people who encouraged me, pushed me to grow, and helped me develop self-confidence. I had the training, resources, and knowledge to do a good job. I started thinking about growing further in this same workplace I loved so much, and I began to seriously consider attending law school to become an attorney. That achievement would have allowed me to have unending growth in my current workplace with more responsibility and more money. I shared my desires with my boss. He had already been very supportive of me going to school, so I knew that wasn’t a problem. But I wanted his opinion. Would I make a good attorney and what would it mean for my growth opportunities at the firm? He answered with one simple question of his own: “What do you love about your job?” That was a hard question. I loved my co-workers, and my work was a lot of fun. But I had to think, what was it exactly that I loved about my work? “I love talking to our clients,” I answered. “I love hearing about their lives, especially their kids. When we discuss estate plans, they tell us about all their hopes and dreams for their children, and you can see their eyes light up. You get to hear about their children’s accomplishments. You get to hear how the husbands and wives met each other, and all the wonderful, even heartbreaking events that they’ve shared together. Every time I talk to a client, it’s not just about a document they want or a legal question they need answered; I hear the love they have for their children, spouse, or community.”
My boss wisely answered me. “You don’t need to be an attorney to do that,” he said. He went on to advise me that if I had answered that I loved the law, the research, and the technical and legal aspects, he would wholeheartedly encourage me to go to law school. But I didn’t need to go to law school to hear the clients’ stories and to help ensure that their estate planning wishes were carried out. Since then, I’ve moved more and more into working directly with clients and prospective clients of our firm. In fact, they like that I’m not an attorney. I’m a layperson, just like them, talking to them about how planning can help them and their families, and why our firm is the team they should use. I employ the skills I enjoy, like writing, public speaking, and event planning. I help write books, newsletters, and marketing materials for the firm. And I get to plan parties and conferences. One of the fundamental keys to unlocking my passion—making a difference for the aging population and their children—has been fulfilled. I talk mostly with elderly people—whom I genuinely enjoy and learn from—about helping their children or grandchildren grow up to be successful, loving people. Through my clients, I help make a difference in the world.
By being asked the right questions and by not just following the logical next step to a bigger paycheck, I found some keys to my passion, and they were right in front of me! And as I grew, rather than being molded by my job, I expanded my job description to include skills I enjoyed, like writing and public speaking. Now, many years after that crossroads, I’ve made a difference by helping the community, like organizing golf tournaments to benefit the educational needs of underprivileged children, and taking my first trip to Cambodia to volunteer with children and seniors disabled by polio and landmine explosions. If I had gone to law school as the next logical step in my career path, who knows if I would have found my passion? Maybe I would never have really looked for it, thinking I had made a right career choice. I may have “followed the job” rather than making the job follow me.
Now, don’t go into the office tomorrow and say, “I don’t like that we sell computer services, because I’m not passionate about it.” Take responsibility for how you communicate. Laney loves to teach, but who could see that as a possibility in a law firm? At first, it may have seemed as though she would have to quit, but she found a way to teach—she teaches the team and the attorneys by training them on the firm’s systems and processes. Even at the law firm, she found a way to express her passion. She didn’t need to leave to fulfill her dreams—everything she needed was right there.
The best entrepreneur to work for is someone who has developed a business they are passionate
about—who’s doing what they love—or someone who has found a way to express their passion.
The ideal workplace is one where you feel you make a difference for others, know that you are
accomplishing something meaningful, while maintaining some control over your future.A good example of this kind of person is our friend, Jennifer, who’s an attorney. She’s not really that passionate about law; that alone doesn’t motivate or rejuvenate her. However, through her law practice, she has found a way to empower, teach and coach her clients and referral sources, and that unleashes her passion, fills her up and inspires her team. Ironically, her firm has not only reached their monthly revenue goal, but even exceeded, ever since she uncovered how to incorporate her humanity into what she “does for a living.”
A different example is another lawyer friend, a hip young guy named Lane, who has always had a passion for the law and being a lawyer. Lane LOVES to fact find, research and problem solve cases. However, he isn’t necessarily excited about the “people” stuff. We have a saying for attorneys like this, “business would be great but for the clients”.
Laney has passion for law. However, this isn’t enough to run a successful business i.e., make money. Not to mention it was impossible to enroll his team to take ownership in their role in “getting clients in the door” and servicing clients when he, as the attorney, wanted to hide out behind his desk. Lane knew there was something missing, but he couldn’t pinpoint it. after several months of analysis he finally made the decision to hire a coach from his local networking group to support him with HOW to practice law (which he loved) in authentic way that connected him with his clients and oh yeah, generated revenue.
In both of these instances, before the attorney found a way to find their passion within their job, their team shared with us thoughts like “I don’t understand, if she just DID the few things I need him to do we could collect the final check and be on our way.” and “I don’t believe him when he says he will do it, he never completes anything, he must not need this firm to succeed.” These comments were from hard-working, committed support team who were simply frustrated at the lack of focus, motivation and energy their attorneys were showing up with. They felt like they were forcing the attorney to do something they hated and that they were being fought every step of the way.
After a few evaluations, the root of the problem was the mere fact that the attorney was struggling with connecting with their passion for the “job”. There was little that was exciting them to show up motivated and energized. They often felt they were continuing down a path called “obligation and duty” that was for the sole purpose to serve their clients and the team members they employed. Most attorneys we know have a very strong work ethic and sense of integrity, though they seem to somehow constantly frustrate their assistants by not getting certain things completed.
Getting real, authentic and in line with your passion – and finding a way to express it in your job gets you off the wheel of working hard and allows you to produce results that excite (and pay) you. It brings back your energy, your hope and your focus. And it consolidates and motivates your team. Most support team will go to the mat for their attorney and their firm. They just need a leader to align them.
If you want to learn how to get in action and stay in action…on a path that incorporates that which you are passionate about with that which pays you, call us for a complimentary passion evaluation. Stay tuned for our next blog, How to Get Passionate About Your Work.