The Passion Plan


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The Passion Plan:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Discovering, Developing, and Living Your Passion

by Richard Chang
Published by Jossey-Bass Publishers
ISBN 0-7879-48213-6
Hardcover - 285 pages - $25.00

What's Your Passion? 
How to Discover, Develop, and Live It

Do you spend a lot of time doing things you don't want to do, in places you don't want to be, for no other reason than that you feel you have to? You have to bring home a paycheck, please your friends and family, and meet the expectations society has set for you. If nothing else, you find yourself in less than an ideal situation out of habit. You follow the path your life begins to take and are too afraid or reluctant to change your course. 

Regardless of your circumstances, you probably want more. You might not be able to put a finger on it, but you still sense that you are not accomplishing all you can and that fulfillment is eluding you. Are you failing to reach your full potential as a professional or a parent? Have you abandoned a dream that part of you aches to realize? Do you yearn to have a more lasting impact on the world? Such feelings might not be burning desires but, rather, subtle longings that consistently remind you that something else awaits you if only you'll work for it.

Profit with a Capital P
What you hope for, secretly or openly, is what I call "Profit with a capital P." Success, with its traditional connotations of a good salary, a nice home, and a country club membership, is no longer a sufficient term to represent the scope and complexity of your desires. As you enter a new century and a new millennium, you have come to expect more. You want to profit not only financially, but also in terms of your emotional, spiritual, physical, interpersonal, and professional experiences. 

You don't just want a big paycheck; you want to feel good about how you earn it. You want to take pride in your work, be excited about it, and know that you are growing through it. You don't just want to have a few children and send them to college, you want to spend significant time with them, give them every opportunity to discover their talents, and teach them that they, too, are entitled to more. You don't just want to put in time at work only to collect a pension at age 65. You want to work for yourself, retire on your own terms (if at all), and find new ways to heighten your experience aside from your professional life. In short, you want to create and define your own success. You want to build your own Profit.

Passion Is the Answer
In counseling individuals and consulting with organizations for over twenty-five years, I have learned that those who overcome the deterrents to fulfillment derive their energy and initiative from a single source: passion. Not the romantic variety--although many would argue it certainly cannot hurt--but the kind that fills them with energy and excitement, gets them up in the morning, and keeps them awake at night. When they experience it, they lose track of time and become absorbed in the task at hand. This passion creates personal intensity and uplifts and inspires them. It heightens their performance and enables them to achieve things they may never have dreamed possible. Most importantly, this passion holds the key to their happiness and to realizing their Profit. 

As Benjamin Disraeli said over a century ago, people achieve greatness (and I contend happiness) when they act from their heart and their passion. Those who learn to recognize the promptings of their heart, and then find the courage to follow them, are the ones who win races, rule nations, and create masterpieces. They also, regardless of their circumstances, live with a sense of contentment--a knowledge that they are who they want to be. 

I call these people "passioneers." Passioneers are not perfect; on the contrary, they are quite human. They are subject to frustration in the face of bureaucracy, sorrow in the face of tragedy, and fear in the face of danger. They do not, however, live with regret. They follow their hearts and are not afraid to take chances. 

Becoming a Passioneer
You can decide right here, right now, that you are going to let passion into your life. You are every bit as capable of doing so as is a president, an Olympian, or a Nobel Prize winner. Passion is not a privilege of the fortunate few; it is a right and a power you possess.

You can get in touch with the passion that defines you and have an amazing life. You can show the world all you are capable of--all that deep down you know you can be. And, most importantly, you can be happy. You can live every day with zest and vigor. You can love your life. 

To help you do this, I have created the Passion Plan, a step-by-step guide to reorienting your life around passion. The plan begins with passion and leads to Profit. Along its path are seven steps you must take to ensure that your passion leads to your desired outcomes. Each step is equally important in building a passion-filled life and in getting the results you seek. 

Feeling, Thinking, Acting
--The first two steps in the plan--starting from the heart and discovering your passion--require you to get in touch with your heart and identify your dreams and passions. This is the key to passioneering: feeling first. Your heart will reveal what really matters to you and what brings you happiness. Start from any other source and you set yourself up for frustration and regret. Fulfillment comes only when the results you seek and the activities you embrace are in accordance with the person you are. You cannot look to reason or judgment for insights into your soul. Who you are is what's in your heart.

Thinking--After you come to terms with your heart, it is time for reasoning and rationalizing. The third and fourth steps--clarifying your purpose and defining your actions--require you to think. Because the world can dissuade you from pursuing your passion, you must pursue it with forethought and care. The mind provides you with a formidable defense against threats to passion. Your intellect can help you define a purpose and set a strategy for following your heart. It can help you determine the most effective ways to integrate passion into your life and ensure that it stays there.

Acting--Once you have felt and thought, it is time to act. Equipped with both your passion and your plan, you are ready to go for the fifth, sixth, and seventh steps--performing your passion, spreading your excitement, and staying the course. You will begin to make changes in your life. As you do, you will continue to use both your heart and your head to make decisions; your task is to understand both intimately so that your choices further you on your road to Profit. How you act will determine whether you remain in an active state of pursuit or slip back into a passive state of wishing or worrying. 

If you remain true to your passion and follow these seven steps, you will find the results you seek. And you will also reap rewards you never anticipated because passion can take you to another level of living. It can open worlds and expand horizons. It can bring new awareness and heightened perceptions. It can empower and improve. Your idea of Profit may change as you begin to fulfill your potential. The Profit you find might actually be new passions or new experiences that lead you in completely different directions. Whatever its nature, the Profit you find will further fuel your passion and propel you onward to even greater achievement and happiness.

Reprinted with permission of Richard Chang. 
Visit the Passion Plan web site at

(c) 1999 Richard Chang, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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