The P-word


The P-word: Passion

Did you know that the word “passion” comes from the Latin word “pati” which meant “to suffer”? It is markedly different from the definition that we apply these days as outlined by Steve Jobs in his now famous Stanford commencement speech,

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

That what you love is your passion; the thing that you should pursue above all other things. Your calling in this life. Zen Habits wrote about The Five Things You Need to Know About Finding The Work You Love. Workers everywhere threw in their day jobs and relationships in the hope to “find themselves” or to “pursue their passions”… Now I think about it; I’m one of them! But this thinking has not been everyone’s cup of tea.

Jobs made his speech in 2005 and in the decade since, the term has taken on a baggage of sorts. In her talk at the /Auckland Writers’ Festival last month, writer Elizabeth Gilbert was physically repulsed by the word groaning, “I hate that word!” The Minimalists wrote a post “‘Follow Your Passion’ is Crappy Advice” A girlfriend once said to me, “I hate it when people ask that question, ‘what is your passion?’ because I don’t have one thing but that doesn’t meant that my life is any less fulfilling.”

kelly exeter practical perfection book

It might be time to rethink the P-word and in more generous terms. Why limit ourselves to just one thing?  In her new book “Practical Perfection”, Kelly Exeter, points out that we can have more than one passion. That the reason that we get out of bed in the morning is because of our families, friends, interests and a desire to do or feel things.

“When I’m at my best as a person, I’m nurturing a combination of the above. And at different times in my life, I’ll focus on some of them more than others.” – Kelly Exeter, Practical Perfection

What are the implications of having more than one passion? Having multiple interests makes each of us, unique. However it can get overwhelming! I often ask other multi-passionate people, “how do you manage your energy?” Exeter provides a framework that helps find the sweet spot between passions, priorities and productivity:

  • On the brink of burnout? Time to inject some more Passions back into your life.
  • Overwhelmed? Time to get on top of your Priorities.
  • Feeling like a hamster on a wheel? Time to put your head down and get Productive.

In her book, Kelly details each of these P-words and how readers can define them for themselves to find the sweet spot and create their own excellent lives.

Let’s Talk About Fail Club


So one of my passions is creating. Somewhere along the way, creating became a difficult thing for me; some of it was my inner critic, a lot of it was playing the ol’ comparison game. It’s not a fun frame of mind to occupy and it became so debilitating that I stopped creating… until I realised that I was retreating from the world and losing my sense of self.

In her talk for Creative Mornings Auckland, Imogen Parry, talks about the effects of self-compassion on our physical and mental health and how this realisation led her to create Fail Club. We all need a Fail Club. One of the most valuable lessons I took away from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, ”Big Magic”, is the importance of being “child-like but not childish.” To be responsible in our pursuit of our passions but with a sense of playfulness that is not fraught with the weight of great expectations. Exeter references Gilbert’s tip to “follow our curiosity and see where it leads us.”

The Podcast – presented by BusinessChic

Cheryl wears Shu Lee

And so it is that I am pursuing my passion to create by starting up a podcast!

I adore podcasts. They are my water-cooler (admittedly one-way) conversation during the days that I work-from-home. They inspire, motivate and entertain me. I feel so lucky that my friend Meagan Harding roped me in to co-host the Melbourne in Fashion podcast with her– before I’d become a regular listener podcasts. It was a fun venture but difficult to continue since I moved to Auckland. That’s not to say we haven’t tried! I am back in Melbourne every month but my efforts to continue that podcast have not worked!

The key aim of BusinessChic is to make every individual worker feel like they can be seen and heard in the workplace. And to date, as a visual blog, BusinessChic can’t help but focus solely on an individual’s appearance. It is time to have conversations where we hear different voices; what it’s like to work as “xx” in this day and age, what inspires us, what tools/tips/tricks make us better workers, happier workers, more fulfilled human beings.

This is where I need your help. I need a name for this podcast! While it will be presented by BusinessChic, I feel like it needs its own name so that we can talk about things beyond my regular favourite of what we wear at work. Sure that will be one component but there’s so much more to explore! Whether it’s practical recipes we can try recreate ourselves #afterworkdinner #leftoversforlunch; insights such as how being a board member can help your strategic thinking; tips on how to apologise to your colleagues, clients or boss; books that could maximise your work day or life (!) by shifting how we think about workplace cultural norms; to the technology and app tips that savvy tech friends share to make our lives easier- the scope and possibilities are endless!

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

How many passions do you have? How do you manage your energy?

What do you think I should call the new podcast? Who do you think I should interview? What topics would you like me to explore?



  1. This is so exciting Cheryl!! You will LOVE podcasting. I have loved it as a different creative outlet to writing, and as an alternate way of getting my thoughts out into the world (this latter bit being a passion of mine).

    As for the name thing – throw it out to your FB community. Make sure you tell them exactly what the podcast will be about/what the podcast hook will be. Even share some of the brainstorming you’ve been doing. That worked really well for naming my two podcasts xx

    And thank you so much for sharing about my book!

    • Aww Kel – I have so loved listening to your two new podcasts- can’t believe I didn’t get around to mentioning those in this post! I already enjoy your writing and getting to hear directly from you is *wonderful* !

      Thanks also for your tips for the name thing – I will work on my hook and take it to the group. I do enjoy how you engage your community on FB 🙂

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