I’m sure I’ve written on this speech one, two, or ten times already but for some reason it resurfaced this morning for me. I thought about it a little differently today. Steve pleads eloquently in the speech for us to blaze a path of passion in our lives:
Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
But this morning it hit me: I don’t really know what this looks like or certainly not what this feels like. I’ve heard “follow your passion,” in about a million different ways, but the truth is this notion is really abstract for me. It’s like someone telling me “be a billionaire.” I might have some image in my head of what that may look like, and perhaps some ideas of what it may feel like, but ultimately I know almost nothing about living like a billionaire. The same is true for me when I hear people say “follow your passion.” I don’t know what that means, what that looks like, or where that is. So how do you get directions when you don’t know where you are going?
You get lost. I really want so badly for someone to sit me down and say “go there, do this,” but unfortunately this won’t work. It wouldn’t work for anyone. It reminds me a lot of the story my mom told me about learning to ride my bike. I tried to learn at a very early age, and I was determined to get it very quickly. I didn’t want to screw around with the process, I just wanted to ride. So after an hour or so of falling, I lost it. I screamed at my mom to just “tell me how to balance.” I felt that learning to balance was something you could be told how to do, as if my mom was holding the secret over me for her own enjoyment. That obviously was not the case. You have to feel your own way, fall a few (dozen) times, until it clicks.
The same is true for “finding what you love.” You can’t follow a recipe for success (although there is an enormous industry built on the premise that you can). There is no “one size” fits all here. But there are themes. I think you can read about, meet with, learn from those who apparently have found their way. I’m really interested in talking with and meeting more people who have “found what they love.” I know they can’t tell me how to do it, but perhaps I can learn a few tricks of their trade. This isn’t some ancient secret hidden from us all, this is something real people are doing everyday. I’m going to find my way, I figure I just might have to fall a few (dozen) times. It can’t hurt to talk to some people who already have their balance.