Joy Comes From Passion – it’s That Simple
Nearly nine years ago, I left a comfortable, well-paid position with a company to which I gave 24 years of my prime. My 24 years in that business is where past Marketing Minute stories have come from. Let me say, if you’ve read these over the years, I’ve run into some very interesting situations.
Having recently spent Father’s Day in Pittsburgh, I’ve had some time to reflect on the many years that have passed since I first arrived in Indianapolis, leaving the nest and hoping that my wings would work.
My father gave me wise counsel to seek an engineering degree for the doors that it could open. My heart was set on being an architect.
Concerned that I would end up “stuck on a board” all my life, my dad advised me to do engineering instead. He was right, in that engineering opened up doors. The company with which I spent 24 years would not have hired me had I not been an engineer; it was a requirement for the position.
Spending some time with my oldest son, Chris, talking about a beautiful letter he wrote me for Father’s Day, I wanted to make sure that he was in charge of his own destiny and doing what he wanted to do, and not altering his dreams to play it safe.
(I always laugh after a day of skiing, when someone brags about not falling. I couldn’t imagine not pushing and testing my limits and not being willing to fall.)
I’ll use my son’s written words (from the letter) to tell his story.
“When I was 17,” he wrote, “I planned on giving up the dream of enlisting ... in the Army. I didn’t tell you or Mom, but I had planned on forgetting it because I had lost my inner-courage. But ... after seeing what you do day to day in business and in family, I felt it was time for my test and my challenge.
“I hope that one day I can understand what it means to be a true soldier, a man who answers to God; a man after His own heart, just like you.”
Excuse me while I wipe away my tears. Chris is now an enlisted man who also attends Indiana Wesleyan University and is an ROTC cadet.
I have told my children time and again that riches don’t make happiness; passion does. It is entirely true and factual that those who follow a personal passion, even in poverty, are happier than the richest man or woman who follows wealth at the expense of their desires.
There is never a time that it is too late to make a change and chart a new course in your personal or professional life.
“RL,” a bomber pilot in WWII, was the father of my ECO Lighting colleague William Longardner. RL never retired or quit dreaming. He exuded passion. Just touching his cane at William’s house the other day, while celebrating his son’s graduation from high school, warmed my heart as it brought back such fond memories of my departed friend. We miss RL and the wonderful influence he had on this world.
“Matt” is an older friend of mine who mentors young businessmen. He attempted retirement some years ago and experienced what many do, a struggling memory and a loss of purpose. Now back to working a full schedule, and even investing in long-term projects, he has regained his sharp mind and memory, and plans to continue for many years to come.
Matt may call me “Big Guy” every once in a while, but I also call my kids by our cat’s name sometimes too (just as long as I don’t feed them cat food).
Matt has passion, as did RL. Both men have been a joy to be around, and that certainly was because they had found something that they love to do and because it is their passion – and their passion defines them.
No medicine can replace passion. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then you don’t have it – yet.
What would you do if you had a true, guilt-free day off? Let me add some conditions before you answer. This day off cannot include your family. (You might say, “But my family is my passion.” We all are passionate about our families.)
What would you do? Your answer might be your passion! Surprisingly, someone who knows their passion would probably not answer: golf, ski, hike, eat out, etc.
RL would have spent his guilt-free day at work, designing the next big thing. Matt would spend it at Truth at Work, a networking/mentoring nonprofit that he co-founded years ago (www.truthatwork.com). Those are their every days.
I might choose to sit at a Starbucks and write chapters of a book that I am determined to write, or knock off a few Marketing Minute columns. I’d also sketch new innovations for our parking garage lighting fixture, do some research, and maybe file a couple of patents. This is my mostly every day (except the book).
I’ve found my passion, and I made it my job. I’ve found my passion, and I made it my income. I’ve found my passion, and I’ve made it my retirement.
When you retire, what passion will you retire into? Will you even know when you retire?
So, please write me and share what you would do on your guilt-free day off. In turn, I’d love to share the responses with other readers in a future Marketing Minute column.
Contact Jeff Pinyot, Co-Founder of ECO Lighting Solutions
and President of ECO Parking Lights, at