Non-Fiction: How to Professionally Do What You Love

Thursday, May 29, 2014


How to (Professionally) Do What You Love

When we’re passionate about what we do, it can be hard to remain professional.


Recently, a close friend of mine was fired from his coaching position at a local high school. He’d spent fifteen years putting his passion for soccer to work, and coaching his high school teams to victory, but he’d gotten ejected from one too many games in the process. For those of you who don’t know the laws of high school soccer, the referee(s) of a game reserve the right to “red-card” or “eject” a coach from the game premises for “excessive or violent behavior.” In my friends case, vulgar language and verbal threats were too often tossed in the direction of a referee who made a call he disagreed with. Professional? No. Passionate about his work? Most definitely.

There’s nothing wrong with being passionate about what we do. In fact, it’s probably the best route to a successful life. However, if we don’t pair our passion with professionalism, we’ll most likely wind up struggling to maintain a successful career. Luckily, there are some steps we can take to maintain our professionalism.


  1. Know when to walk away from a fight.

It can be hard to keep your cool when your precious “lifeblood” seems threatened. The slightest remark or difference of opinion can spark the most heated of arguments which can be toxic to professionalism. A good quote by Mark Twain to keep in mind is “never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” When agreeing to disagree isn’t possible, sometimes it’s best to walk away.

2. But if you must fight, fight fair.

There are some disagreements where walking away isn’t possible or professional (such as with your boss). In this case, your best option to maintain professionalism is to fight fair. Listen to your opponent. Give them your full attention and consideration. That doesn’t mean you need to agree with them. It just means you respect their right to an opinion. It also gives you a chance to make your own fully logical case which is much easier to take seriously than a fervent spew of opposition.

3. Count your blessings.

You get to do what you love. You’re living your dream life. You’re getting paid to do something you’d do for free. How many people can say that? Do you really want to risk your success by sacrificing your professionalism?

4. Take a breather.

When passion fills your career, it’s important that you take the time to collect your calm. Go for a walk. Meditate. Spend some time with your closest friends. Exercise. Do whatever helps you relax, and do it often. You’ll have plenty of time for passion when you get to work, so don’t forget to make the time to relax. The success of your career just might depend on how well you remain cool under pressure.



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