The passion test for business – how passionate are you?

chantalcooke240Do you have a passion for your business? Could a test identifying your passions help your business (and your personal life)? Or has passion got very little to do with it?

I’ve always thought of myself as a passionate person and doing what I love. I’m a self starter, slightly obsessive but most people who run their own businesses are, and need to be. I run a successful radio station and PR and communications company – and have managed to make my passions pay their way. I travel for a living to interesting destinations around the world, have a ‘passion for the planet’ – the name of the radio station, and I promote the works of authors and companies I believes in.

When I met Jessica McGregor Johnson, a passion test facilitator, I was a little sceptical about the test could for me. However, it was an eye-opener and a great way to check in and make sure you are still on track and not trapped on the hamster wheel without realising it! And if you’re still wondering what your passion is – well this test will tell you. Very clearly.

In the past I had read books about how to find focus, and regenerate passion and enthusiasm in business. I work for myself and as anyone who works for themselves knows, you have to be very self motivated every day. To get up in the morning and know everything depends on you, you are the one making the decisions and taking the risks can be tiring. So tapping into your passion is important.

I had three sessions with Jessica, who interviewed me over Skype. It was very useful having her ask questions and continue to do so until she got to the nub of an issue. There are books that do things like this, that ask you what is important in life, what makes you happy, what are your priorities, but when you have a person face-to-face, telling you you have to make a choice and if you forgo something else, you will never be able to have that option again, it makes you focus very hard on what’s important, really important to you. It gave me a method of finding clarity and a set of measureable and achievable goals.

It’s easy to say I enjoy communicating, but Jessica wouldn’t accept that answer – she wanted to know more. Why did I enjoy communicating? What type of communication? Did I enjoy it just for the shear joy of talking to people? Or did I want to achieve something by it? I had to be specific and push myself to be specific which I hadn’t done before. It’s easy to tick-box questions in a magazine or a book and be satisfied with your answer because you don’t have anyone pushing you further – Jessica pushed. She identified, or rather helped me to identify, that I enjoy communicating and making things happen. Communications that inspire action – which is now my business strap line. I want something to happen from my communication; a positive outcome, not just for it’s own sake and that’s why I do radio and that’s why I work in PR. I make a difference with my radio station and I make a difference for my clients. That’s what makes me tick and I think of that every time I have a down day – because everyone has them sometimes.

Jessica explained how sometimes we try to set goals for ourselves but the goals are too big – like make a million in a month, which is unrealistic. The test shows you how to eat the elephant in bite size chunks; to make goals achievable, and then shows how you can keep track of your progress and the milestones you’ve reached. I’d recommend a check-up once a year to see how you’ve managed to achieve or accelerate your top ‘must haves’. I wanted to work four days a week, that was always a go, but then I realised I wasn’t being specific enough. I didn’t want a four-day week – I wanted flexibility. I could work for five days, I would be happy to work for five days, in fact I could work seven days a week – but I wanted the flexibility to choose when I wanted to work. I had to question myself even more to get to the nub.

At the end of the test I was left with eighteen priorities – the eighteen things that are most important in my life. It’s different for everyone, but for me the first three were to do with feeling inspired every day, earning X amount of money, and having a good work life balance – which in my case is about flexibility. I’m fortunate because my work is also something I love. Even if I didn’t need to pay bills it’s something I would still do. That is the real test of passion. Would you choose to do something if you weren’t getting paid for it? Would you choose to do the job you do if money wasn’t an issue?

I do however believe you can be too passionate about something, when you want to do something so much that the cost is higher than the reward and you’re not seeing things straight. That’s when passion stops you from thinking objectively.

The initial test took about an hour which we did over Skype, and then I had two follow on sessions to see how I had progressed. I admit a few of the answers surprised me. Because I’m hyper, always on the go, people are telling me I should meditate. So I tried to meditate but I hated it. And this test made me realise that meditation just isn’t for me. I didn’t need to meditate and I became less stressed when I stopped trying to meditate. How ironic is that?

Plus sometimes life gets in the way of achieving what you want. I wanted to become healthier but last year I had a nasty fall off a horse riding along a beach in the Outer Hebrides in the summer. Things out of your control happen in life. You can’t help it.

I think everyone could benefit from this test whether they work for themselves or for someone else – especially if they feel they’ve lost direction in life or feel they are leading someone else’s life – perhaps that approved by their parents or peers. It’s that sort of test. It’s like your subconscious talking to you and occasionally slapping you across the face and waking you up to what you really want in life. And that’s a good thing – yes?

I think passion occasionally needs to be rebooted and this is why tests like this are good. It made me realise I was on the right path, while with others it could make them realise they are not. Either way – it’s good to know.

More information about Jessica McGregor Johnson and The Passion Test for Business here.

Chantal Cooke is an award winning journalist and broadcaster and founder of Panpathic Communications and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET radio.

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