Purpose > Passion
To start with, this idea of doing something you are passionate about and your work will never feel like work, kind of seems a little flawed.
a. I could be passionate about trekking on mountains, which I am, but not necessarily I would want to make a career out of it.
b. Adding monetization to something you do which provides you inner peace or doing it just because you enjoy it can take that inner peace or enjoyment go away or less worthwhile.
On the other hand purpose is a sense of responsibility, a goal to be accomplished. It helps us answer why something to be done, is to be done. Purpose helps find alignment in work.
Look at it this way, you have an idea which you are passionate about, spend time working on it, encounter a roadblock and there are higher chances of you abandoning this project, why? Roadblock and problems is not something we humans are very fond of, our will to get the work done drops significantly if we aren’t motivated enough about the end goal. With a sense of purpose of what all you could achieve when you complete this project and how it can impact others, gives you a sense of responsibility which acts a booster when you might encounter that roadblock and instead and getting distracted and abandoning it, you might just tell yourself that why in the first place you started building it. That ‘why’ will always act as a trigger to not give up and finish what you started.
Realizing the impact of the work even before you start it, makes the work purposeful.
John Donahoe took over the Nike CEO position just in early 2020 just before the covid-19 hit the world. Here’s how the purpose of uniting the world helped him make the decision. Following is an extract from Master’s of Scale podcast episode— Nike’s CEO John Donahoe on wartime leadership.
Well bob(the interviewer), it(becoming CEO) was actually the last thing in my mind, as I was a board member and enjoyed supporting mark parker, Nike's fabulous CEO, and helping serve Phil knight and the rest of the board. And one day mark came to me and Phil soon there after and said would you ever consider becoming a CEO and be my successor. It caused me to reflect a little bit and I’m at a stage of life where most of my decision come from a place of purpose. And as I thought about where I was in my life and where things are in society in this age. The world is more polarized then any time in my adult life, as I reflected on it, sports is one of the few things that still brings people together. Sports bring people together across nations, no matter how much you may hate your rival or your opponent, you play with the same set of rules and at the end of the game you shake hands and congratulate your opponent. And I feel like the world needs sports today more then anytime in history. And Nike sits at the very epi center of sports. Once I locked into that kind of sense of purpose then obviously it was a huge honor to have mark and Phil on the board and asked to me to come into this role and it was actually a relatively an easy decision.
Selina Tobaccowala is one such example as well, while her time on London she was contacted by Dave Goldberg, then CEO of survey monkey, asked her to join the company. Her reaction — “survey? really? survey?”. But after some thinking she realized that the impact of survey is very enormous, survey’s acts a feedback to the companies to help improve the product and the customer experience, large amount of cross sector data that they’d be dealing with and survey’s act voice of your customer. Her, realizing the impact of feedback acted as a key trigger to make the move and join survey monkey.
Inconclusion, nothing against passion but finding that purpose of doing the work will help you get through bad times then your best times.