I am currently working on an interactive course to help recent college graduates get their careers kicked off. In the process of building this course, I have had the opportunity to speak with many of my peers who're successful executives. One of the topics that has come up over and over again is that many mid-level execs are missing a strong sense of determination with some of their junior colleagues. That has gotten me thinking, about myself and about what I look for in a really solid co-worker.
And honestly, it is not determination. I think being a determined individual obviously beats being a lazy individual. However, I care much more about people having a passion for what they do. Determination is a state of mind that either goes up or down, while to me passion is something that evolves, adopts, grows but, of course, could also lessen.
Looking at a few personal examples, this became painfully clear to me.
The reason I am successful in my career is because I love marketing - in particular anything that has to do with selling stuff on the Internet. Now I haven't always had the chance to absolutely love what I do. A while back I was working in business development for a DRTV agency. While I was pretty good at my job (after all I am determined, and was passionate about the people I worked for), it didn't come easy to me. The founders of the company on the other hand were madly passionate about DRTV which is why they are so successful in that industry.
Anytime I have to push myself to be a good boyfriend, my relationships are beginning to crumble. But if I am really passionate about the other person, then having a great relationship comes easy. While any relationship requires hard work, I am a firm believer that love can't be forced. You either have the passion, or you're growing apart.
Everybody who knows me knows that I want to be good at yoga. I am very determined to do yoga. It's good for you. Unfortunately, I have zero passion for doing odd poses in a room filled with funny dressed people for excruciatingly long periods of time . To me yoga is about as exciting as it is to watch Otto clean himself. Hence, I do yoga maybe three or four times per year. Triathlons on the other hand are a different story. I am passionate about those. Oddly enough, triathletes dress even funnier than the yoga folks. At this point, the only way I will probably be able to succeed at doing yoga is by convincing myself that such will help my triathlon performance.
Now, I need to be careful about that tactic as years ago I tried to combine my relationship (passion) with the sport of yoga. In the course I was asked to spot my girlfriend while she attempted some sort of elbow handstand. Unfortunately, she kicked me in the nose, I fell over, everybody laughed and I didn't go back to yoga for at least another year.
Anyways, I think it's a good idea to ask yourself if you're simply determined to do something or if you're doing because you're passionate about it. Sure, both passion and determination can lead to success. But it seems much easier and sustainable to be led by passion.