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Posts Tagged ‘passion’

Archive: Our passions — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

Our Passions

Career Opportunities Logo 2012

From the Career Opportunities Archives…

Two weekends ago I attended the latest incarnation of BarCampLA. This unconference has become one of the highlights of my year as I get to “confer, converse and otherwise hobnob with my fellow wizards!” For a more detailed overview of what BarCamp is, you can visit the web site at While that will give you a somewhat technical definition of BarCamp, for me is it a weekend devoted to passions. Passions about life, work and the world at large. 

Read this entire column – Our Passions

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The Gifts You Can Always Give – Time, Energy, Passion and Love — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

December 23rd, 2013 Comments off

Career Opportuntiies Logo 2012

It is Christmastime again and many people’s thoughts turn to shopping and presents and consuming in all its forms. As the years have passed, though, I have found myself thinking less about presents that come from the corner store (or Amazon) and more about presents that only I can give. After 27 years of marriage, my wife and I have basically agreed to give nothing more than token gifts on Christmas — something to enjoy opening with our family and something that is, hopefully, useful in our lives. These small presents are more than enough for one very special reason. Throughout the year, we give each other — and those around us — four very special gifts that are unique to us. These gifts include our time, our energy, our passion and our love. Even better, these are gifts that we have been able to give regardless of whether we have been rich or poor, ill or well, together or physically apart. We can give them to family, to friends, and even complete strangers. For me, these are the true gifts of Christmas and the entire year.

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I have come to believe that there is no larger gift than the gift of your time. While we might easily write a check to charity or hand a bottle of wine to friend, taking time out of your busy day and life shows someone how much you care about them and how much you want to help them. Even when you don’t have a lot of money, you still have time. Too often I see young people embarrassed that they don’t have the money for expensive gifts and even going into debt to buy them anyway. If you don’t have a lot of money, find ways to give time to your friends and family. In almost every case, they will deeply appreciate it. Of course, if they don’t appreciate it, it tells you more about them and their concept of a gift than anything about yourself.

Giving the gift of time can also mean just being available to others. Sometimes we can get so tied up with work and life that we forget to acknowledge and engage with those sitting right next to us. Find ways of “closing the office” with a definitive shutting of a door or other ritual. I know that for my wife and I, who work at home a lot, closing the laptop or the cover on the iPad can show an end to “work time” and an opportunity to talk and share. Develop your own rituals for “closing the office” and be sure to use them as much as possible throughout your day.


Energy, both mental and physical, has its limits. We can’t do everything we might want in our life, but we can do anything. It is up to us to decide how to parcel out our energy. Still, we often waste energy on worry, on anger, on pettiness, instead of spending it in activities that make our lives better. Look back through your days and spot those times when you wasted your energy in unproductive, unhelpful and and even damaging behaviors. Then, think of how you might have better spent that time. Don’t beat yourself up over those moments. That energy can never be recaptured, but you can use it as an example of how to better spend your energy in the future.

Your energy can be used in many forms. You can help someone through a difficult time, both emotionally and physically. Go to the store for them. Help them create a better resume or look for a job. Help them start or complete a project that matters deeply to them. Look for opportunities to deepen your relationships with others by spending some of your energy to their advantage. Do this enough and you will find people more willing to spend some of their energy on you and your projects, too.


Passion is a deep part of my own life, but sometimes I feel like my passion scares people. In a cynical world, those who act passionately about their life, their work, their projects, their family, are often seen as unrealistic and maybe even a little crazy. People often comment about how passionate I am when I speak about careers, work, technology or gardening. I often reply to them by saying, “Yes, I am passionate about this and you should be too!” I think we all need to feel a little more passion in our lives. We need to find those activities, work and people that inspire a passion in us.

Further, we need to share our passions with others. We need to take the time and energy to show why we are passionate about something and how that has benefitted our life. Sometimes those around us need nothing more than a good example. If we can display and share our passions it is very possible that we allow those around us to discover their passions as well. They need not have the same passions or display them in the same way, but I deeply feel that everyone needs passion in their lives so they can do the best work and have the best life possible.


Like Passion, the word love can be scary. It means so many things, in so many ways, to so many people and yet the gift of love is integral to a happy life, both for those who give love and for those who receive it. For me, love is the feeling and actions that wish the best for both ourselves and those around us. We might not like someone’s behaviors or actions, but we can still love them. We can still wish them the best life possible and, by loving them, help them to achieve it. It can be difficult to give love to those who don’t want it, or more usually, don’t think they deserve it, but then you give love for your own purposes and hope that the other person will eventually see the gift you give.

Giving love doesn’t mean enabling destructive behaviors, nor does it mean constantly trying to change someone and becoming angry when they don’t. It means accepting each person as they are, their best natures and their worst. It means accepting and loving them as individuals, not some generic stereotype based on gender, race, creed, beauty, success. Give love and you will gain love in return. Find those people around you that understand that fact and you will be giving and receiving the best gift possible.

This season, and throughout the year, give these gifts freely and frequently to everyone you can. Through your gifts you will develop the life, the passions, the love and the career you deserve and help others find the same.


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What are you selling to your employer?

September 19th, 2009 Comments off

Career Opportunities podcast logoWhat are you selling to your employer?
By Douglas E. Welch



The nature of work has changed dramatically over the centuries. As a people, we moved from hunting and gathering, to subsistence farming, to larger agricultural communities, through industrialization to manufacturing and into the “information economy. Sweeping dramatic changes all, but each stage has demanded more physical work than thought. Even the information economy still encompasses much “grunt work” to keep it operating. In many cases in your career, companies are still only buying your “hands”. Sure, they might also be buying a certain amount of your “head” — your best thoughts and ideas — but the next wave in business, which many people do not understand, is asking people to sell their hearts, as well. This will not, and should not, come cheap.

It is probably obvious what I mean by selling your “hands” to your employer. In the past, this might have meant working in a farm field or on an assembly line, but today it could also apply to webmasters and server administrators whose job it is to keep information resources running. In my work as a computer consultant, most of my time is spent troubleshooting, repairing and recovering. Even though I find training and preventive maintenance to be much more involving and rewarding, in many ways I am the high-tech equivalent of a plumber. My job is to fix ‘what’s broke’ as quickly as possible.

As I am moving my consulting business into New Media work, I find that I am selling more of my “head” than my hands. Instead of doing the actual work of setting up blogs and social media accounts, I spend more time helping individuals and businesses discover what is possible and the best ways to make use of these new tools. I have moved from making the automobile on the assembly line to helping design the car that will be made by others. In some ways, writing this column and podcast has also been more “head” work than “hand.” Each week I try to develop ideas that help you “build the career you deserve.” This shows how different parts of your career can simultaneously be at different steps in this new migration of the concepts of career and work.

Today, though, we are entering entirely new waters in the work world. To be deeply successful, to do the best work possible, we need to find a company, a business or a life where we can “sell” our “heart” — our passion. While it can sound odd to discuss selling our passion, that is truly what we are doing. In the best careers, we find a place where we are willing to provide our passionate skills and thoughts to another in return for monetary rewards. This isn’t selling out. This is finding what I consider to be the epitome, sine quo non, of careers — a career where you make money doing something you love. A career in which you can invest your heart and soul. A career that supports you not only monetarily, but spiritually.

I am sure some of you are shaking your heads, not believing that such a career exists, but you can look around you to see some current practitioners of this idea. Yo Yo Ma and other classical musicians of less reknown make a living doing what they love. Many other artists, too. Many of the great thinkers we read or see speak at conferences all over the world have reached this level, in some ways. It isn’t only famous people, though. The songwriter who sells a top 40 hit remains largely unknown, but supports themselves and their families in fine style. We have many friend who are “working” actors you see on television nearly every day, who love their work and are successful, even if they are not “star” names to you. For me, the very definition of success is having a comfortable life while doing something you love. There are opportunities to be successful no matter your industry or type of work. These opportunities arise from finding a place where you can exercise your passions as much as possible. In some ways, I don’t think you can do your best work unless you are truly passionate about what you are doing.

So what are you selling? Your hands, your head or your heart? If you want to build the career you deserve you need to do some hard thinking about your work and your life. You need to discover your passions so that you can go and find a place — a new company, your own business, a career in the arts, whatever — where you can engage your passions and reach the highest levels of financial and spiritual success possible.

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