LearnShareProsper logo Boosting Business_Performance Adele Sommers
by Adele Sommers, Ph.D.
 www.LearnShareProsper.com Adele@LearnShareProsper.com 
In This Issue

January 2024
Volume 20, Issue 1

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Below find this month’s newsletter, hot off the press!

  • Feature Article: How Pursuing Your Passions Propels Your Professional Purpose

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Note from the Author

Do You Love What You Do?

Happy professional woman
Should what you do for a living feel like a privilege, an honor, and a source of daily joy and gratification? Or should it primarily focus on what you’re “good at,” even if it’s not something you really like doing?

This eternal question haunts people of all ages, in all fields and disciplines, and in all circumstances of life. For example, you may be wondering, “Am I suited for my chosen career path, profession, or business? Does it fit me like a glove, or did I select it mainly for expediency and convenience?”

The series of decisions we make when we choose a career or a business endeavor — and our reasons for making those decisions — tend to resonate either rhythmically or discordantly over the life of our involvement in that arena.

Do you love what you do enough to do it without pay? That’s usually a good test for determining how deeply your chosen path speaks to you. Do you feel you need to be playing a more expanded game in life? Then today’s issue is for you!

I hope you enjoy this month’s features, and please be sure to share your thoughts by leaving your comments on my Facebook page!

Here’s to your business prosperity,

Adele Sommers, Ph.D., business improvement specialist, author, educator, and award-winning instructional designer

P.S. If you missed any previous issue, please visit the newsletter archive!

Special Message

What Is a Life Passion, Anyway?

Passion flowersOne definition of a passion
is “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for something.”

Some people discover their life passions — the very special interests and gifts they feel destined to pursue, apart from any financial compensation — through one or more blazing epiphanies. Others need a much more gradual process. And yet others seem to know exactly what their life purpose is at a very early age.

Passions can pertain to bodies of knowledge, such as music; or to causes, such as global peace. Some people believe passions represent inspired ways of interacting with the world, such as by speaking to large audiences or facilitating change.

In any event, passions can be quite elusive to identify unless we stop and ponder them. Further, they often feel closely related to talents and strengths — which are the kinds of skills or behaviors that we perform with very little effort.

To help you reveal your own life passions, strengths, and gifts, below is the set of tickler ideas that I’ve used with my clients when we begin the first stage of their life purpose discovery process. Notice that these questions don’t really pertain to what we are “good at,” as much as to what feels truly satisfying and enjoyable to do. Those are the very things that we should aim to do more of — and ideally, trade, outsource, or delegate the rest!

How to tell whether something is a strength, passion, or greatest gift:

1. When do you experience your most rapid and effortless learning?

2. What activities make you feel “in your zone” or “in the flow”?

3. What do you feel the strongest desire or yearning to do more of?

4. In what situations can you effortlessly tap into your intuition?

5. What activities give you the greatest sense of satisfaction?

6. What do you feel most passionate about, and why?

How to tell whether something is NOT a strength, passion, or gift:

1. What activities give you a strong sense of fear, dread, or drudgery?

2. What do you find extremely difficult to do or perform poorly?

3. What do you feel relieved about NOT having to do?

4. What makes you feel unenthusiastic or frustrated?

5. What makes you want to procrastinate by putting it off?

Your answers can be very enlightening! Read on for more insights into how and why this discovery process can be very important to your professional success...

Feature Article

How Pursuing Your Passions
Propels Your Professional Purpose

by Adele Sommers

Happy professional man and woman
Do you have a tremendous love, fondness,
desire, and enthusiasm for what you do in your profession? If so, congratulations! You’re most likely pursuing your passions in life.

On the other hand, do you know what happens when you choose a professional direction that’s not aligned with your life passions? You tend to settle for an opportunistic approach toward your livelihood. For example...

You might have found yourself hopping
from idea to idea, or from career to career, or from business venture to business venture, always achieving less than you’re capable of accomplishing. If that sounds familiar, you’re probably picking things that are convenient, but that you’re not particularly ardent about doing.

Instead, you’d be far better off if you selected an avenue that fuels you and helps you make a special contribution to the world.

In this article, I explain three reasons why you should use a strategic approach that aligns your purpose with your passions. In this way, you can define and pursue goals that are truly worthy of your time and energy.

To find out what happens when your efforts are not aligned with your passions, start by asking yourself whether you’ve experienced any of the symptoms in the following three short stories. Here’s what happened to Mary, Bob, and Rhonda...

Symptom #1: Being Confused about One’s Professional Identity

Mary K. is just beginning to launch her new training and consulting business from her home office. After she obtains her business license, she determines that the next step must be to commission some artwork for her marketing material. So, she walks into her local graphic art studio to request a design for a logo.

Confused businesswomanThe graphic artist interviews Mary and asks her what she wants to create. When Mary isn’t sure, the artist patiently tries to guide her through a series of questions about her work, the kinds of designs and color schemes that appeal to her, and the tag lines and slogans she might want to use.

Mary is stumped. She’s hasn’t ever stopped to contemplate her business branding in terms of slogans, phrases, symbols, colors, or typography. Even more importantly, she hasn’t even thought much about how the theme of her business fits into the broader canvas of her life. So, instead of helping Mary clarify her branding preferences, this interview simply seems to be generating more confusion.

In a flash, Mary senses that something is missing from her understanding of herself, and that it’s somehow related to her reason for being. But it’s still so vague... A half an hour ago, she needed a logo. At this point, she wonders what she stands for!

Alignment Reason #1: When we’re unaware of how our life passions guide our professional purpose, it’s difficult to design marketing materials that communicate with laser-like precision what we represent.

And, even if we are clear about our passions, what if we don’t fully integrate them with the other core aspects of our lives? That lack of cohesion can convey confusing messages to people about what we’re really trying to accomplish.

Symptom #2: Feeling Dissatisfied with a Business, Job, or Career

Rhonda and Bob decide to leave corporate life after the company they’ve both been working for shuts down and relocates across the country. With ten years to go until reaching retirement age, they decide to begin exploring entrepreneurial possibilities.

They start by compiling a set of criteria for evaluating any business they might want to acquire. Their criteria are very pragmatic, and include how easily they can enter the industry, the cash outlay required, and the amount of experience and training they might need.

Sandwich shop mealAfter weighing the pros and cons as well as projecting the potential revenue streams, they finally settle on buying a sandwich franchise with a large chunk of their retirement savings.

It seems like a practical move. Since it’s a business they both know relatively little about, Rhonda and Bob believe it’s the fairest way to “buy themselves a job,” since it won’t be any more appealing to one person than the other. They decide to go ahead and take the plunge.

Two years later, however, they’re still working very long hours to make ends meet. They try to rationalize that any other business startup scenario would be just as difficult. But they both feel discouraged and empty, slogging away every day at something that did not initially inspire either of them.

Alignment Reason #2: When we skip the process of investigating our higher purpose, especially when considering a mid-life business or career transition, the results can come back to haunt us. It’s not uncommon to become burned out in any startup situation. But if the venture is not one we’re passionate about, we’ll have a very difficult time maintaining the momentum!

Symptom #3: Struggling with a Competitive Disadvantage

Computer tablet displaying travel destinationsBob and Rhonda decide to sell the sandwich shop and start an online business to promote vacation travel.

It seems like a much better business option, since it represents everything that their other business was NOT. It appears to be something they can do from home that does not require juggling physical store hours, inventory, and employees.

Unfortunately, it’s another area in which these two have neither passions nor strengths. They know relatively little about the travel industry, apart from their own vacation experiences. They soon find that they are, once again, facing long hours and low margins, plus constantly changing details.

Moreover, it’s an expedient shift from something they didn’t like doing. So even with more exposure to the field, they will be at a competitive disadvantage simply from being unable to convey a real passion for their work to their clients. Nothing sets them apart from competitors because people don’t sense any special spark behind what they offer.

Alignment Reason #3: When we choose a direction that primarily represents something other than what we dislike, we won’t have as strong and enduring of a commitment. In contrast, pursuing what we love imbues our work with magnetic sparkle. This attracts not only customers and clients, but also potential business partners, adding to our competitive strength.

Magnetic attractionAnd if we can elevate our business passions to the level of a compelling cause, we’ll be in a better position to entice prospective employees through our business philosophy.

A vision-based attraction is particularly critical during the startup phase — when other types of compensation tend to be especially low. It helps us further cement our competitive advantage by enabling us to recruit a stellar team.

In conclusion, for these crucial reasons, there’s really no substitute for aligning our life passions with our business or career purpose to achieve satisfying, long-lasting results. From the ability to send crystal-clear messages, to maintaining our business momentum, to developing a distinct competitive advantage, nothing speaks as loudly as doing what we love!

Copyright 2024 Adele Sommers

The Author Recommends

A Quote to Ponder about Business Passion

“You want your business to be focused on something that you care so much about that you want to make it the greatest it can possibly be, not because of what you will get, but just because it can be done.”

— Rich Schefren, business coach

About the Author

"Straight Talk" Special Report
"Straight Talk" Workbook

Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the author of “Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance” — an award-winning Special Report and Workbook program.

If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this down-to-earth overview of how 12 potent business-boosting strategies can reenergize the morale and productivity of your enterprise, tame unruly projects, and attract loyal, satisfied customers. It’s accompanied by a step-by-step workbook designed to help you easily create your own success action plan. Browse the table of contents and reader reviews on the description page.

Adele also offers no-cost articles and resources to help small businesses and large organizations accelerate productivity and increase profitability. Learn more at LearnShareProsper.com.

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