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  • Writer's pictureRobert Norton

Did your passion forget to leave breadcrumbs?

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

As someone who prefers to navigate through life a mile wide and an inch deep, when well-intentioned people tell me the secret to a successful career is to follow my passion, it always gives me pause. What is my passion? And, why don't I know?

The lesson I learned from Coach and Speaker Lelia Gowland was far more helpful. Lelia, an expert on career decision-making, says we need to give ourselves permission to "follow the fun."

Try this exercise using the grid below to think more deeply about what brings you joy. First, create a list of your most common activities. Next, plot them on the grid as you consider how much anxiety they invoked for you and ultimately how satisfied you were at the end. ⁠

My theory is this: the secret to following the fun is to spend as much time in the growth and play zones as possible. Spending more time in the growth zone means building your tolerance for the short-term anxiety that comes with learning something new. Making time for play often means allowing yourself to prioritize it.

To start shifting your focus, consider the following questions:

Growth: How do I reframe anxiety as excitement for a challenge?

Play: How can I permit myself to prioritize play more often?

Boredom: What obstacle is blocking me from doing less of this?

Torture: Whose expectations am I trying to meet? And, why?

Dedicating more time to following the fun may shed some light on where you may want to take your career in the future. Most certainly, and maybe more importantly, it will help you enjoy the present. And, with that, I'm signing off to play a little guitar.


MindFrame, LLC delivers leadership and career coaching, team facilitation, and keynote presentations to help you create change for good.

Custom services can be conducted at your organization or virtually.

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