Shari Chaudron has written a book that was featured on TypePad called "Who are you people?". It is a book about people from all over America who are passionate about all sorts of things, ranging from Barbie dolls to extreme ironing (apparently there really is such a thing). In the recent Skypecast (available for download through the Everything TypePad podcast), Shari spoke about how communities are coming together around these activities and interests and that these communities are truly passionate.
Chaudron discovered some of that passion in herself when she was promoting her book recently. In her blog also titled "Who are you people?" she recently recounted her experiences promoting her book and her realisation that she is as passionate about her book and what she is doing as the people she interviewed are passionate about their stuff. She makes an important (and well-known) point that if you are passionate about what you are doing, it will lead you to success in what you are doing:
See, every person in my book who had pursued their passion had also found a community of people willing to share that passion with them. Though my passion for writing is derived from my job — as opposed to a pastime — the passionate fanatics and I share the same sense of reverence and gratitude for: a) having a passion to begin with; and, b) having people willing to share it with you.
I once read a book called Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. The idea, clearly stated in the title, is that when you pursue your passion, how can you help but not be financially successful? I agree with the general idea — that passion and success are connected. But I don’t think success needs to be defined solely in financial terms.
For me and the majority of people profiled in Who Are You People?, success has come from the ability to indulge our passions and find a loving, supportive community as a result. A more apt title for a book might be: Do What You Love and Community Will Follow.
And why shouldn’t it? It seems that when we’re happy and share that happiness with others, how can they not respond in kind?
It is so important to be passionate about what you are doing. If you are doing work that just gets the billed paid then it will never have the same quality and satisfaction as really engaging in a project that you are passionate about, fanatical even. Sometimes we do work that gets the bills paid because, well, survival is a priority. There isn’t anything wrong with that. If, on the other hand, you want to be involved in something that takes you far beyond survival and into the stratosphere then you should be doing something that makes you tingle when you think about it, the thing that gives you butterflies on a Sunday evening when you realise you are going back to work the next morning (I mean in a good way).
Passion is the key. Without it, your work is just a job. With it, your work can be an almost spiritual experience.