Saturday, January 9, 2010

Following and Balancing Passion

In early December 2009, Lisis at Quest for Balance wrote a very popular and controversial post called “Net Worth Vs Self Worth: The Passion Paradox”. Several other bloggers wrote responses, one of whom was David at Raptitude in “What Passion Will Buy You”.

At the time, while I wrote detailed comments on both posts, I hadn’t yet formulated my thoughts well enough for a post of my own. Now I have, in my own fashion.

I think that passion can be a worthwhile pursuit when it is couched in the knowledge that this discovery and search is life-long, not something that a book or a blog can tell you right away.

Donald and I approach success and passion differently. I have always encouraged him to find a job that he loves (even during his year of unemployment). He wants a job with a good enough income that he can support his family. While these two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive, they do sometimes cause conflict over what is most important to us. We both want to be happy and to support our family.

Jeffrey’s post at The Art of Great Things called “In Defense of Work-Life Balance” woke me up to the fact that typical 9-5 jobs are not inherently evil. They serve many purposes, including the ones Donald has. My role then, is not to constantly push Donald to find a job he loves. My role is to help him balance his work and life and to make sure that his non-work time is what he wants it to be. My role is also to remind him every once in a while of his passions and dreams and help him find ways to realize them.

As Donald reminds me, he has the same role for me and I need to keep paying attention to my own needs. For some reason this is really hard for me. Right now, I am so focused on gearing up for having a family, especially after reading Katie’s post about 7 months of motherhood at Confessions of a Young Married Couple.

I am also acutely aware of the fact that it’s quite possible to lose myself in motherhood, when it happens, and that I desperately want to avoid the realization after 30 years of marriage that I have neglected important things, as my mother has experienced.

And so I consider the things that ignite my own passion. It is so tempting to believe that wandering off the beaten path is to be rewarded with financial success and happiness. While I don’t want to make my passions into money, I do see the value in bringing passion to the work I do, no matter what it is.

I highly recommend going through the Finding My Passion questions at Blogging Without A Blog. Donald and I went through them together, for each of us, and I learned so much about us as a couple and as individuals. The more we each express our values and priorities, the better life we can create together.


  1. I'm reposting a comment from Wilma (

    "Oh Daphne, you are spot on with this sentence; "My role then, is not to constantly push Donald".
    Our role as human being is to create a mental space for each other in which we feel and are free to explore whatever we need to explore without being judged by the other. To be quietly encouraged and being attentively listened to by someone who is present, is all that is required for us to become our greatness.
    I had to learn to become aware who was speaking, my ego little voice or my heart and often it was my ego disguished as the helping person who wanted the best for both of us.

    When there is a heartfelt intention though to really bring out the best in each other without judging what you think is the best based on your upbringing, you will create a great space in your relationship for both of you.
    Love Wilma"

    I responded: "Wilma, it's amazing how freeing mental space can be. I have realized that one of the best ways I can love Donald is by supporting him quietly, encouraging by listening. I love what you said about becoming aware of whether your heart or your ego was speaking - I need to do that too. Not judging is definitely key - now I just have to accept that other people judging don't have to make me defensive. Thank you so much for your comment."

  2. I'm reposting a comment from Hayden Tompkins (

    "My husband is a lot like Donald.

    As long as he is solving problems, he is a happy camper! His passions pretty much lie outside of the 'career' realm and as long as he has time to pursue them, it doesn't matter specifically what work he is doing.

    He is passionate about theoretical mathematics and people just don't get paid to do that. Even though math professors may be expected to do that kind of work, they are paid for their teaching and not their auxiliary activities.

    Ok, so that was basically a loooong way to say "It's all good!" :)"

    I responded: "Hayden, I like what you said about the function of the job sometimes being more important than the content. And you're completely right, for many people, their job is the vehicle to allow them to pursue their passions outside of work. Thanks so much for your comment!"


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