Over the years as a coach, observing myself and my clients, it’s become clear that passion can be misunderstood. We generally think of passion as overt, provocative, bigger than life. Somehow we believe our passion can consume us if we are not alert. It can lead us to wayward paths. It’s almost irresponsible. Yet I’ve observed passion to be deep, mature and patient.
My children happened upon the cartoon Cinderella last week. My mother and I were commenting about how darling it was…until the shoe fitting part. You know, the part where Cinderella’s foot glides into the shoe held by the prince. We women, who grew up in the US, have always celebrated Cinderella because she was the one chosen by the prince. We celebrated how she was saved by the “knight in shining armor”. As I watched that ending, I became increasingly perplexed by this concept that so many of us have bought into — the concept that we are worthy if and when we fit into somebody else’s model.
When I coach non-Americans, especially Asians, to interview effectively for a US job, I emphasize the need to express their “passion” for their work or their “deep interest” for a potential job. Nine times out of ten, when I ask about this passion, I see Asian students searching my face, seeking clues to provide the right answer.