Lessons from a Life: Authenticity


Find your passion now. Waiting to find what you love to do is like

saving up having sex for your old age.  Warren Buffett

Lesson #8: Find and Develop Passions

Authenticity is the core principle of what we do at Bright Livelihoods. A passion is something for which you have boundless enthusiasm. Do you know what your passions are?

People who  love what they do, know their passions and do not turn into someone else when they go to work. They have integrity, and a strong sense of what their talents are. They build their careers on a foundation of self-knowledge and are devoted to developing their strengths.

People tend to spend too much energy on overcoming a weakness, instead of focusing on natural abilities and preferences. This wasted effort often comes from conditioning in schools and certain corporate settings. It is often unproductive to depend on an institution or employer for career development.  Their motivations are not simply to help you in finding your true calling and may even run counter to your best interests. For example, an employer may want to keep you at your assigned tasks that you do well, even if you are ready to move on or up and learn something new.

Passions are preferences that inspire you in life and at work. For our purpose, I have identified four types of passions or work strengths:

1. Interests are those ideas or topics that stimulate you. As you identify those topics, consider things that you know about as well as those you would like to learn more about. Long-term career satisfaction is dependent upon how well and to what extent an area of interest can hold your attention. Interests include things like technology, social justice, and art.

2. Talents are skills that give you energy when you engage in them. Talents are skills but not all skills are talents. I define talents as those skills that you long for when you are not engaging in them. One way to discern the difference is to consider this: if you had a choice, you would not delegate a talent to someone else. Talents include things like using your hands to fix things, writing, speaking and leading.

3. Style defines how you are at work when you are being your most authentic. How you would behave at work if you could really express yourself freely might offer clues to your soul work. Your personal style includes those attributes that you bring to an organization or industry, beyond your talents or skills. Style includes things like a sense of humor, empathy and vision.

4. Environment defines what you need at your workplace. Understanding what you need at work will help you find the right cultural fit. Even if all the other factors are in place, the wrong environment can make great soul work miserable. Think about the ideal environmental qualities that would make up your perfect work culture, whether you plan to create it yourself, or find it at an organization. Environmental attributes include a style of design, access to nature and levels of competitiveness.

All four aspects are vital in creating dream work that will balance interest, enjoyment, and challenge. To create a more authentic life you must first know and develop your passions. For many people, this is easier said than done. Many have forgotten what their passions are. Some have outgrown old passions and need to find new ones and others know what they are passionate about but instead of incorporating these things into their life and work, are disconnected from them and do not see a way back. Sometimes an unexpected event forces you to reevaluate what direction you want to take in your career.

For me, this year has been a time of reflection and readjustment around my own talents and growth. I have spent most of the last 14 years using and honing my creative, communication, and coaching skills. However, new technologies and the increased number of competitors in coaching pushed me to reassess my approach and harness all four types of my passions in new ways.

Because of my keen interests in learning and working with younger people,  I dusted off old talents such as project and talent management while building new skills like video editing, Hootsuite, Google On Air and customer acquisition software .  From this exploration, I created a new program offering for our clients called bridge2brand where we help professionals accelerate career transitions, once they know what their passions and dreams are.

I have a team of four incredible women working with me which allows me to use my natural style of collaboration and still work virtually and casually which are both important elements of the environment I need to flourish.

Laurel Donnellan




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