I used to be a bulldog, a bulldozer, and possibly a few other “B” words. I would focus in on a purpose with the power of lockjaw, demolition, and anything else necessary to accomplish the task. Sure, I meant well and almost always ended up achieving well, but in the end, something was missing. I learned over time that the path to success was not only much more pleasant, but also significantly more sustainable if I allowed my passion to drive my purpose. In my principles for the HAPPIest life, there are two P’s: Passion and Purpose. Yes, Passion comes before Purpose in alphabetical order, but even beyond that, I made a very intentional decision to put Passion before Purpose. In my humble opinion, passion-driven purpose is the best approach to living a mission-driven life…and ultimately, your HAPPIest life!
Why It’s Important to Put Passion First
Although becoming a doctor has been a long-time purpose of mine, the path to medicine can be isolating and brutal at times, and having passion is the only way to make it through the storm. As an extremely fatigued Ob/Gyn intern, this is very much a fact of my daily life. Getting this far and waking up everyday to keep pushing another step forward has taken tapping into my immense passion for uplifting my patients and creating meaningful change in health care. The high physician suicide rate is a public health crisis, and many medical institutions have begun exploring and attempting to prevent physician burnout. Burnout can be inevitable in some instances, especially where mental illness or lack of systemic support are involved. However, I strongly believe that putting passion first is a powerful way to help protect yourself from burnout in any profession or other purposeful endeavor.
What Passion Means
Passion means different things to different people. My favorite definition of Passion from Merriam-Webster is: “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction”. Personally, I filter my passions through my relationship with God, because my desire to learn and grow as a child of God is the most intense, driving, and overmastering feeling or conviction of my life. It inspires and guides me in how to be a wife, friend, family member, doctor, entrepreneur, lifelong learner, and every other important role I play in my life. It also helps me to delineate right from wrong, carry necessary burdens, and keep my peace. Most importantly, because I believe that God wants His children to live life in full abundance, it reminds me to take care of myself, so that I am not not pouring from an empty cup, and to love and trust myself so that I am able to fully pursue my HAPPIest life. What does passion mean to you?
How To Tap Into Your Passion
Finding your passions requires paying attention. You have to tune into how the things you do make you think and feel. What do you find easiest to convince yourself to do, even when you are tired? What requires no convincing at all? Regardless of how much convincing it took you to do something, how inspired do you feel once it is done? What most naturally puts a smile on your face or lights a fire in your heart? These are some of my favorite questions to ask myself when assessing my passions.
Much of the work required with tapping into your passions is preventing your own thoughts and feelings from being overtaken by what others desire from or for you. Sure, your parents may want you to be a doctor, your boss may want you to spend extra time outside of work on things not required of your position, or your significant other may want you to dress a certain way… but what do YOU want? Understanding and embracing genuine desires helps to manifest your true passions. While it is true that not everything in life is exactly what we want to do at all times, I strongly believe that connecting with your passions can help even the most mundane of tasks ultimately connect to a more meaningful purpose.
Do yourself the biggest favor of all. Explore your passion-driven purpose and live your HAPPIest life!
With Passionate Love and HAPPIness,
The HAPPIest MD