1. strong and barely controllable emotion.

Most of us have been there (especially those of us in the millennial generation)…receiving the question while on a date, talking to a friend, or speaking with a counselor– “So what are you passionate about?”

I believe the millennial generation is too hard on itself. We’ve been fed so many false expectations to live up to. My personal least favorite– “Follow your passion.”

Passion is an emotion, or a feeling. It’s not something that’s planned or pre-determined. 99 times out of 100, it’s developed or discovered over time.

A much better quote that I like is– “Success fuels passion more than passion fuels success.”

How many of us have been incredibly excited and felt passionate about starting a new relationship, a new business, a new job, or a new hobby…only for that feeling to wane over time, thereby causing us to change course? Starting with passion doesn’t always add up to success. Rather, passion without sustainability will almost always fade off and die.

Passion built upon sustainability (i.e. habits, values, and caring about something) has the ability to last forever. For example, think about people who go to the gym or exercise daily. Almost all of them build up to having a passion for it after they formed the initial habit of going and started caring about their physical health more than before. Twice a week becomes three times a week, three times becomes five, an hour becomes an hour-and-a-half, etc. Once the results start showing and successes are achieved, then we have the propensity to become passionate about it and want to do it daily.

With that being said, there’s something I need to tell you guys…

I’m not passionate about weddings.

No, that’s not a typo.

I’ll even repeat it for you: I’m not passionate about weddings.

Some of my past, present, and potential clients reading this are probably saying to themselves, “WTF?!?”

Let me explain.

The habits I started with and what I care about led me to excel at weddings. I care about creating a positive impact in peoples’ lives, entertaining others, and making the most of the moment. I decided event planning was a great gig to capture these values. Getting the opportunity to plan six-figure weddings at DC’s coolest venues didn’t happen overnight, either. This happened after starting with good habits. Habits such as:

-Responding to business inquiries within minutes.
-Setting up face-to-face meetings as soon as possible.
-Learning about a client’s background story and interests.
-Actually listening.
-Educating clients on the industry, costs, and expectations from the very beginning (before a contract is even signed).
-Drafting proposals as soon as possible, no matter the time.
-Taking phone calls and answering emails at any hour, when necessary.
-Working with a client, rather than for them.
-Letting the client maintain ownership of their wedding, while amplifying their needs and desires.
-Tracking the details, while allowing for flexibility.
-Thinking outside the box.
-Being honest.

So no, weddings themselves are not a passion of mine. After I starting experiencing success, it instead fueled a passion for people giving me the ultimate responsibility of executing one of the most important events of their lives. But again, this was all based on what I care about and the habits I started with…not the other way around.

One final nugget I’m going to leave you with is this: Passion doesn’t always lead us to happiness.

Our culture has been tricked into believing that if you haven’t discovered your one true passion, that you’re somehow less ambitious, less interesting, or simply have no unique skills. As a result, we constantly tell ourselves, “If I could just find my one passion, then I could succeed.” Or worse yet, “If I was passionate about something, then I would be completely happy.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, this can be very detrimental.

We watch Shark Tank, we listen to self-proclaimed gurus on TED Talks, and we see successful people or even celebrities on social media preach about how their passion is what drives their happiness. Props to those people, but DO NOT buy into this being the missing key to happiness! While it may occur for some, it’s certainly not going to work for everyone. When looking at the other side of the coin, passion can actually lead to irrational behavior or increase your likelihood of feeling like a failure due to unrealistic expectations.

At the end of the day, it’s perfectly OKAY to not be passionate about a single thing. Simply caring about things and acting on those values is enough. It’s unrealistic to believe that every single person has the psychological makeup, opportunity, or luck to develop a passion for something. If you simply care about things such as making a lot of money, supporting your family, traveling, living in the city, making a positive difference, having free time, or even just being nice to people…AND you actually make those things happen?? Well, that collection of values and execution is more than enough to create a happy and meaningful life for yourself. Always remember that.


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