Why ‘follow your passion’ is sometimes bad advice

Why ‘follow your passion’ is sometimes bad advice

What we’ve learned from our bonus October Masterclass Online with master trainer Nicole Morris.

BY Tiffany Tran, 5 min READ

Perhaps a better piece of career advice than follow your passion is to follow what you’re good at. That’s the key message master trainer Nicole Morris shared with us in today’s eye-opening Masterclass Online: ‘How to find your top five strengths’.

People who focus on their strengths are 3x as likely to report having an excellent quality of life and 6x as likely to be engaged in their jobs. And, people who learn to use their strengths every day have 7.8% greater productivity.

Based on a 40-year study of human strengths, Gallup created a list of the 34 most common talents and developed the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment, which our Masterclass participants completed before the session. Finding your strengths isn’t some warm and fuzzy online quiz (although, it can be) – stats show there’s commercial benefit too. If you’re a leader or in a management role, you’d be remiss to not only tune into your strengths but to also deep dive into the unique strengths of each one of your staff.

And unique, we all are. What’s beautiful (the fuzzy part) is that there’s only a 1 in 33 million chance of someone else having the same top five strengths in the same order as you. And there’s only a 1 in 25,000 chance to have the same top five strengths as someone else in a different order.

Do you often feel de-energised, stressed, drained, unfilled, or lacking focus? You’re not using your strengths. And what does it look like when you find a career that actualises your found strengths? You feel energised, focused, excited about your day, passionate, in the zone, and sometimes lose track of time. Now aren’t these lovely rewards?

What’s fascinating is how Nicole distinguishes “talent” and “strength”. Gallup Strengths Finder reveals your innate talents (a whole 34 of them, in order), but a talent doesn’t actually become a strength until you’re aware of it, and learn the tools you need to positively apply them. On the flipside, you can also negatively apply them.

For example, if your top talent is ‘Empathy’, enhancing it to become a strength looks like caring, and putting yourself in another’s shoes. Negatively applying it can look like you’re taking on too much of another’s baggage and forgetting about your own needs.

Now, don’t be alarmed. You might be thinking, ‘I love writing but I can’t quickly churn out 1000 words like Joanne’ or ‘I want to own my own business but I have nowhere near the organisational wizardry that Lisa has’. Two pieces of good news: 1) You can learn and form new patterns in the brain up until your 90s, and 2) The more in touch you are with your strengths, the more you’re able to understand how to work with them to achieve the outcome you want.

So, don’t give up on your novel or business idea if you think you lack the skills you need. If it’s any consolation, Nicole’s formula in cultivating strengths is this:

Talent x Investment = Strength

Talent = a natural way of thinking, feeling or behaving
Investment = the time you spend practicing and developing your skills
Strength = the ability to consistently provide near perfect performance

And if that message isn’t obvious enough, stick this post-it note on your wall: persistence, persistence, persistence.

Our monthly Masterclass Online is FREE for Premium members and only $14.95 for non-members, with special bonus Masterclasses sometimes incurring a small fee. To see our full Masterclass Online schedule, visit here. To connect with Nicole Morris, and receive master strengths training, reach out at Human Tribe.

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