When Talent and Passion Collide

Courtesy of DeviantArt.com

I spent all of my college years and the first few of my professional career believing that talent and passion were one in the same. If you’re talented in something you’re naturally more inclined to be passionate about it. History had proved this to me as I spent years honing my skills in web and print design. I sniffed out mediocre websites, released new sites, revamped print materials, redesigned terrible logos…I was talented and passionate.

But several years ago, I discovered that often times just because you’re talented at something doesn’t automatically mean it will be your life-long passion.  For some this isn’t true. A talented teacher might spend a lifetime teaching at various levels. A talented innovator might bounce from company to company creating and re-creating. Someone good with numbers might go on to create a career in engineering. For me however, the moment the key turned and I was open to the possibility that another passion existed beyond my talent, the roof blew off. I was free to explore, empowered to hunt down my passion and challenged by the potential before me.

What I learned was that my talent in web and print design would be an essential tool in my life-long passion – to see life change because of the Gospel of Christ. They are different, but they work together. Currently that passion is playing out full-time in the arena of athletics as I’m tasked with helping athletes and coaches around the world experience life change with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. My talent is one of the vehicles I use to execute my passion.

But before you do anything rash and look at changing majors, careers, cities, churches or countries – here are a few guideposts:

  • Whatever your current career – stay “all in”. Your current position is not a playground to go find your passion. Your organization or company, co-workers, customers and salary demand you are 100% engaged. Explore on your own time and count yourself blessed to have a job.
  • Discovering your passion can take years and often times you can’t rush it – so don’t try.
  • Surround yourself with honest, wise people of various life experiences and seek their input in what they see in you. If you can’t find overwhelming agreement about a potential passion – give yourself more time to search. Don’t pursue your passion in a bubble.
  • Your passion might grow, expand or change but you’ll probably find a single thread woven throughout all of it. Think of it as a fruit. You can have a whole orange, an orange smoothie, oranges on top of a salad or orange juice. Different presentation – same ingredient.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Even if you are doing something that you are talented in and you know it’s not your passion – keep pursing both your talent and your passion. Find peace in knowing you and everyone else are “in process”.

If your talent is your passion congratulations. If you are slowly learning that the two are different, that your talent can drive your passion but ultimately you get the sense there is something more; patiently, carefully, slowly start exploring.

Eventually, when you can identify your passion and your talent fuels it like a high-performance engine – your job will become less like a job and more like a way of life.

Thanks to Scott Lee for the encouragement to get this post online.

Have some life experience about talents and passions? Have challenges or questions?
Let the discussion begin.

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