In his book on personal leadership (Lead Yourself: be who you are and what you want to be) Mick Cope writes about how understanding what drives you can help you fulfil your potential. The three qualities of Purpose, Passion and Persistence help people choose, and navigate, their own paths. And a good balance of these three characteristics is required.
Mick’s ‘three Ps’ came back to me when I was reading a Harvard Business Review blog post called Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem. In it the Gen Y’er Cal Newport sets out a theory that his contemporaries have been brainwashed into believing that career choice was simply a matter of following a passion – rather than working hard to get good at something first and then slowly falling in love with it (for it’s hard to love something we are not good at).
“The early stages of a fantastic career might not feel fantastic at all”, Newport reminds us. He is not surprised that some young people are disappointed with the reality of work. He calls for a ‘nuanced’ conversation about people’s relationship with work and for concrete evidence-based observations about how people end up really loving what they do.
Perhaps the ‘nuances’ that are missing in some peoples’ attitudes to work are the other two Ps – purpose and persistence.
(Unsurprisingly the blog post has garnered many comments, some in agreement and others not. An interesting lunchtime read!)