discovering passion

Some people naturally exude and overflow with passion. Other people, like me, have to work hard at discovering that passion, that life force, that thing you love doing over and over again without getting weary or monotonous.

Had a great lunch conversation with the poetic Natala Constantine the other day, lamenting over the misunderstandings of the blogging lifestyle. I sorta broke the news to her that we bloggers are in the minority and marginalized. Even though there are more than 12 million bloggers in America and Technorati tracks over 66.6 million blogs, only 7% of adults read blogs at least once a week.

We also wondered about how to find someone else’s passion, as a means of connecting her ecumenical church community to its surrounding community through serving. Yes, you can use Rick Warren’s SHAPE acrostic for this: Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experience. SHAPE is a very helpful framework for ministry, finding a place to serve voluntarily in a church kind of context. SHAPE could be adapted for choosing careers too, I think, though there are more than 1,000 tests for career assessment. But as we discussed this further, I thought of 2 ways to discover passion more quickly:

  1. Listen to their story. Passion is often born out of pain or joy.
  2. What does that person naturally do on their own?

Underneath it all, it’s about what motivates someone to do something and to take action, and that doing good things passionately can make a difference in the world. We also veered into a discussion about the difficulty of rallying people around something in an interfaith or ecumenical perspective, and while altruism is noble, it doesn’t really get lots of people galvanized together for a cause. It’s so much easier when things are black and white, over-simplified and goal-oriented, to align people in a community or organization to do something big and focused. Assuming that the long tail effect could work in mobilizing volunteer efforts (as much as it does in the marketplace), maybe doing little good-work efforts will do as much good as one big visionary cause.

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  1. joe says:

    The optimist in me believes that micro-communities (including churches) will be able to leverage their combined strength in numbers to make significant impacts. Thanks in large part to the internet, and this long-tail phenomenon. Kiva.org is a good example.

    The pessimist in me thinks politics and status quos will inevitably get in the way. Even when things are goal-oriented. I remember Rick Warren’s AIDS conference got some conservatives in an uproar simply because of Barack Obama’s participation. Sigh…