40. Realize Your Passion

You know what I think about achieving goals? Everyone has a passion for something, a powerful, compelling drive to achieve a goal. I saw a meme recently that speaks to this quite well:

“When it’s time to fight, you fight like you’re the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s ark…and brother it’s starting to rain.”

If you’re passionate about something, you’re willing to fight for it. You don’t take “no” for an answer and you won’t let anything stand in your way. The fight can be a hard one or easy depending on the process you employ in realizing your passion.

In reference to the meme above, you could simply charge the ark, running pell-mell for the entrance, which would likely result in your expulsion at the hands of Noah or the other animals or you could take a thoughtful, systematic approach to achieving your goal of reaching the ark. If you choose the latter, where would you start?

  1. Where else would you start? At the beginning. Any movement toward a goal starts with the goal itself. What do you want to achieve? You want to be one of the monkies on the ark, of course.
  2. Next, with the goal in mind, you make plans. Time management expert, Alan Lakein, defined “planning” as “bringing the future into the present, so you can do something about it now.”
    • Who do you need to talk to to get the ball rolling? The other two monkeys, the Ark Captain, or maybe Noah, himself?
    • What activities are involved? Schedule a meeting, develop a ROI outlining the benefits of including a third monkey, or give a speech appealing to the charity of Noah and his family?
    • What materials do you need? A soapbox, a bullhorn?
    • What do you think the costs will be in money and/or time. Can you buy a ticket, make a food donation to the effort, or work-off your passage by cleaning the stalls?
  3. Once you’ve laid-out your plan, you’re ready to execute on your passion. This is where the work you laid out in your plan actually takes place. At this time, you’re meeting with people or other animals to gain support or approval, collecting donations, raising money, or allocating resources in an effort to gain passage on the ark.
  4. Now, as you’re executing on your passion, you review the plan as it unfolds and make any necessary adjustments to keep the plan on track. Maybe you can’t get an appointment to speak with Noah before the door closes and you need to make your appeal directly to “The Man Upstairs”, so you shift your focus and make your pitch.
  5. Finally, you’re done and you’ll reflect on the outcome driven by your passion. Hopefully, you’ve achieved your goal and are safe-and-secure on the ark. Now, you can examine what aspects of your plan worked and what didn’t, so if ever faced with a situation like this again, you can work even more efficiently.

Some of you will have figured out that the process I outlined above is essentially the project management framework: Initiate, Plan, Execute, Control, Monitor, and Close. This framework can be applied to just about anything you want to do in life. And whether you realize it or not, you likely employ the project management framework without really thinking about it because it has applications beyond the formal “project”.

Like I said, everyone has a passion for something that drives the pursuit of a goal. That goal could be selling an idea to your boss; or confronting a social or political situation, like hunger or poverty; or simply engaging in a hobby, like reading a book or gardening. Each of these examples has different requirements for execution and resolution based on the number of people, activities, materials, and/or capital involved. However, the manner in which you approach the fight (the process to achieve your goal) is essentially the same, and the more complicated your passion, the greater the need for a systematic approach to achieving your goal.

Or you could just charge the ark pell-mell and see how that works out for you.

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