hrevolution work quote

Are You Following Your Passion?

We had a great day yesterday at HRevolution 2013. The team at Reputation Capital Media helped us capture some of the best sessions. Here’s their recap of Lois Melbourne’s session on exploring passion.

hrevolution work quoteFormer YPO CEO Lois Melbourne left the corporate world to follow her passion of helping people find jobs that allow them to use the passions. In introducing her “Explore the Passion” session at HRevolution, Melbourne told the group that she’s living her dream writing children’s books about exploring careers based on what you’re passionate about and what you love to do.

In the past, though, she remembered having to do tasks as part of her work that were in no way related to her passions — things that in fact she found quite torturous. They made her lay down on the floor and say “give me alcohol.”

None of us can regularly do too much stuff that makes us “lay on the floor and say ‘give me alcohol,’” she said. We need to figure out how to do more of what we like to do and help our employees to do more of what they love to do.

Looking back to what you loved to do as a kid is a good way to connect with what you’re really passionate about, says Lois.

In researching her book, Lois interviewed her great uncle who grew up as part of a group of five close-knit friends. She asked him what the group loved to do when they were little. His answer: Play in the dirt.

Lois’ great uncle grew up to work in construction and another one of the group grew up to work in plumbing laying big pipes to make up sewer systems. In other words, they grew up to make money playing in the dirt.

The fifth friend, it turned out, didn’t love the dirt as much as he loved fixing the bikes and toys they used in the dirt. He grew up to be part of the first company that turned trucks into monster trucks.

They all grew up to work in an area that related to what they loved to do as kids.

To help the group discover their passions, Lois led the group through creating a series of lists and sharing them with partners.

  • Write down what you loved to do as a kid.
  • How did those things make you feel?
  • Write down what you love to do in your work, volunteering and other things you do now.
  • Write down what you hate to do in your work, volunteering and other things you do now.
  • What do you want to do more of in your work?

Making those lists led to some real epiphanies in the room.

People realized they could delegate more of the work they don’t like to do to free up more time to do the things they’re passionate about in their work. Many realized they could hire an assistant to help out or enlist children to do simple tasks at home.

Lois says that in her corporate work life, she would go through a similar process when it came time to hire for new positions. She would start by going to the department that needed new hire and asking everyone what they loved and hated doing in their work.

She would learn a lot in the process then redesign and realign responsibilities to better jive with what people like to do. Then she’d take the tasks that were left over and write a new job description then look to hire a person who loves to do those things.

For anyone who needs more help finding their passion — the things you’re both really good at doing and that give you energy when you do them — Lois recommends reading “Unique Ability: Creating the Life You Want” by Catherine Nomura, Julia Waller and Shannon Waller.

Since 2009, HRevolution has been creating unique opportunities for HR professionals, recruiters, consultants, and vendors to come together to discuss and debate the future of HR. HRevolution 2013 was on October 6 in Las Vegas. 

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