I say: Take your passion and make it your obsession!  (Passion, in this context, is generally thought of as a strong overpowering or compelling interest or desire.  Obsession is the fact of being even stronger in this interest and desire.)

How do you know when this has happened?  Maybe this answers it. . .

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation.  He hardly knows which is which.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing.  To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

— Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand, 18th century French writer, politician, diplomat and pioneer of the romantic movement in French literature

And why do we want to achieve this state?

I think the most difficult period of my career was when my job role was one I did not like.  (Fortunately this really only occurred once in my career).  I recognized at the time that my job performance was suffering.  As I saw my performance slipping my solution was to work harder, work more hours.  So work I did, to the point of mental and physical exhaustion.  But my performance did not improve; in fact it probably got worse.  I had lost my drive, my mojo.  I was not passionate about my job; I was not obsessed. Consequently, it didn’t matter how hard I worked.  My mind said work harder.  But my heart said this isn’t for you.  I should have listened to my heart. The lesson for me: you have to be passionate about your work to really do a good job, to really succeed, to really be happy and satisfied.

Now I wonder, did I ever have that requisite passion? Did my passion ever become my obsession? Early in my career, my goal was to get ahead.  My objectives were to gain more responsibilities, to make more money, to be recognized.  Those goals seemed to be the driver, the passion to drive me to succeed.  And by most standards I did succeed as I accomplished all those objectives and beyond.  But as I reflect now, I do not think those drivers were “passion.”  They were only what drove me to achieve.  But I was not really succeeding.

I think for true success you have to (1) find your passion and (2) make your obsession.  As the learned French romantic reflects above, work is play, play is work.  When you reach this state you will have succeeded; your result will truly be excellence; your passion will be your obsession.

“Pleasant in the job puts perfection in the work.”

Aristotle, Greek philosopher (334BC – 322BC)

Jim Yoakum is an accomplished executive leader with over 25 years of diversified (financial services, insurance, manufacturing, non-profit/tax exempt organizations, consulting and governmental) experience in risk management, internal control, regulatory affairs, operations and systems, law, compliance and taxation/accounting. He has many successes achieved in managing the creation of new or changing/evolving functions and managing projects/programs in resolution of significant issues. Jim has strong project/program management skills, using an inherent logical thought process honed by many years of technical training, were germane to these successes. He possesses the ability to manage human resources in a changing environment with passion, creativity, results-orientation and self-motivation. Jim is resilience, acts with decisiveness and to foster/adapt to change and new environments. Most importantly, Jim never wants to stop learning; never to stop helping others. As an accomplished author, poet and mentor, he continues to develop and educate by sharing his business and life experiences through writing, mentoring, speaking and networking.

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