Every year around May and June there is a great deal made about new graduates and how they must find their passion, and all the commencement speeches given by people whom we respect and admire and whom we look towards for inspiration. In fact, I was delighted that Michelle Obama gave the commencement speech at my alma mater, City College just the other week.
However, I must admit I have always been slightly embarrassed that it took me a very long time to find my passion. In fact, it took me 18 years after I graduated college to gather up the courage and wherewithal to start my own company.
And so, it was with some bemusement and relief that I happened to read an article by Angela Duckworth in the NY Times Preoccupations Column this past Sunday that actually advised young graduates not to follow their passion, but to foster it, which is exactly what I needed to do before I found my own passion which was to build a company unlike any one that I had ever worked for and that would inspire people and be a unique place to work and grow.
Ms. Duckworth suggests that one should move toward what interests them, seek a purpose, and finish strong. I was enheartened to learn that she too had several jobs before she found her passion, and eventually she garnered the knowledge and skills that she uses in her current position. I know for myself, that without the many positions I’ve had in my career, I would not be as well prepared as I am today to help business owners become CEO’s.
My advice to new graduates is to be patient, and when you do find your passion, make a commitment to yourself to take the bold steps that are required.