How do you find your true passion in life?
Passion makes life worth living. It leads to our purpose. It drives us. Satisfies us and supports us through challenging times.
But what is your passion and what can you do with it once you know it?”
Researcher, consultant, and former top HR executive Alaina Love developed a method with the University of Michigan to help you to identify your primary passions (archetypes). and then align them with your skills and values to live a life of purpose and fulfillment.
While this is one of the most important determinations any of us of any age needs to make, this process and be amazing for those of us who are older and are looking to make this later phase of life meaningful, fulfilling, and fun. Your chance to live your legacy.
Connect with Alaina: The Passion
For business: https://thepurposelink.com/
Alaina’s blog: https://smartbrief.com/author/alaina-love
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Podcast Transcript: Find Your True Passion in Life
Alaina Love: And if you don’t have the language for that, it becomes very difficult to direct yourself in one place or another because you don’t know what you’re directing yourself to. That’s what passion really is. It’s the deep drivers of purpose that you find fulfillment through. It is. It’s a much deeper experience that allows you every single day to know that when I’m doing things that allow these particular passions to have a playground, I feel fulfilled. We can either decide we’re going to stay where we are, which is, you know, wallowing and in a life of dissatisfaction. Or we can make the decision that we’re going to invest in ourselves, that we are actually worth it, right? Because when you make an investment, you have to also be making a conscious choice that you’re worth it. Right. So we’re going to make that choice that we’re worth investing the time, the effort, the money into exploring this for ourselves.
Paul Long: Live your life with passion. Do what you’re passionate about. How many of us know what the hell that means? And we know it’s not golf or sex? We’re talking a whole different level here. Well, my guest wondered the same thing. She’s Alaina Love, and she was on this fast track, top-level executive global corporation. And she knew she wasn’t passionate about what she was doing, but she wondered what she would be passionate about and what it passion even mean. She got to work, and she got together with the University of Michigan researchers. And together they came up with not only a definition of what it is, but a codified process to identify those really important core things within us that we need to fulfill and address in order to be passionate about what we’re doing and to live with purpose and to have a great new way forward. This is foundational to a great new way forward for you. So let’s get started, and let’s start with Elena’s perspective and definition and insight as to what passion is and isn’t.
Alaina Love: Well, I think a passion is being far more than, you know, I love golf. I’m a passionate, passionate football fan. Those kinds of things. We tend to associate passion with these either material things or activities, but passion goes much deeper than that. It really is the outward manifestation of the deeper purpose that’s driving. You took me a long time to figure that thing out. I remember being interested in this subject, and I’ll tell you later about how I became interested in the subject. But I remember becoming interested in this subject and wanting to figure out how to, how would I go measure purpose? Like, what is that all about? And I carried it around, and I describe it as being like a stone in my shoe for about seven years. It’s like unbelievable that it took me that long, but it took me seven years to figure out that passion and purpose are actually connected and that the things that we’re really passionate about, they’re driven by a deeper purpose that we carry. And even if we can’t articulate what that purpose is and most of us struggle with that, we might spend our entire lives trying to figure out exactly what that is. We can identify when you’re oozing passion, right? We can identify it in other people. We kind of want to hang around with them and get, you know, little of that to rub off on us because it looks pretty good and like a fun place to be living from. But that’s what passion really is. It’s the deep drivers of purpose that you find fulfillment through, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with what watching your team win the football game or going to play golf. It is. It’s a much deeper experience that allows you every single day to know that when I’m doing things that allow these particular passions to have a playground, I feel fulfilled. I feel fulfilled,
Paul Long: Yeah, the way I characterize it and. Go with it and tell me how right or wrong I am or what your take is, is that I view it as those core things within me that are important to me to fulfill. In fact, I call them the itches I have to scratch. These are the things that I have to do and I know in taking your profile and everything, which was a story for later. You know, it was very validating as to what I needed. And so, therefore, if I’m wanting to do a new way forward, I’m wanting to transition my life to something I have to maybe or I want to transition it to something that’s really more meaningful, joyful, fulfilling, happy, easy. I feel like this is a place to start for the reasons that it’s kind of in a way, knowing your true self. What really drives you, how accurate.
Alaina Love: You’re absolutely correct. So many people will come to me and talk about wanting to change their lives or wanting to change their career experience. And I always start with, Well, who are you? Because if you can’t answer that question, if you don’t have the language for that, it becomes very difficult to direct yourself in one place or another because you don’t know what you’re directing yourself to. And when we think about a new way forward, we think about making changes in our lives. We want those changes to be ones that we find ultimately bring us fulfillment. They bring us joy, they bring us the sense of well-being. Well, what does that mean for you? And so many of us struggle with answering that question. We struggle with figuring out the language to describe that for ourselves, and we get caught up in what other people think it should be, what other people think of as success, what other people think of as a great life. We get caught up in their formula because that looks like a place to go because we don’t have one of our own versus what we believe,
Paul Long: Or it’s a little or what or what our parents told us or what someone who we admired or respected or our professors or what society is telling us, right?
Alaina Love: Yeah. Or the guy driving down the street next to you on the highway who’s got a great car and it’s brand new and shiny and it looks wonderful and that looks like success. So you think that’s maybe where you should be headed? And if you’re not that, then somehow you’re not doing what you should do with your life. And we live in a world right now. Think about it, Paul. We’re so much of what we are exposed to through social media, tells us how we failed, tells us how we’re not enough. We don’t. We’re not doing enough, having enough, giving enough, experiencing enough somehow. When you look at that stuff, we are all losers and the rest of us are trying to figure out how do I stop being the loser? But we don’t answer the question because we don’t look where we need to look to find it. We look externally. This work and what you’re putting forward for folks is doing the exact opposite. It’s starting them where they need to start, which is with you and internally and who you are and when you can answer those questions. When you know those deep answers to those questions, you’ve got all to play for. You’ve got everything you need then to begin to make the right decisions for yourself. It’s like having, you know, your own GPS. You need that. You actually need that for yourself, as you’re especially as you’re navigating this question that you’re posting for folks. And it’s a huge one, but it’s probably the most important question we ever ask ourselves. What do I want to do with my life? Who am I? What’s next for me?
Paul Long: Because I see this, I see this as an incredible way, identifying what your true passions are beyond golf and football and woodworking, whatever. So let’s first of all, before we get even deeper into what this can do for you, go into, OK, so what the heck is what is the passion profiler? First of all and then, of course, how you came up with it. But what? What is it and how does it work?
Alaina Love: So it’s a wonderfully, scientifically valid and reliable psychometric assessment. Identify how you resonate with 10 distinct archetypes of passion that I’ve identified in my research. We all have all 10 of those passions within us to greater or lesser degrees, but the important thing is to understand what your top three passions are. Now, as I said earlier, these passions are birthed from your purpose, so they’re connected to a deep, meaningful accomplishment that you are here to achieve throughout your lifetime. How you achieve it will change. From yesterday to today to tomorrow to 20 years from now, based on how you exercise your passions to do that. And that’s the really cool thing to understand here when we talk about purpose, there’s not one thing you’re supposed to do and then you’re finished. It’s not as if I raise the kids. They’re all educated and married and happy. The mortgage is paid and the dog has died. So now I get to just sit on my front porch and rock until I take my last breath. Mm-hmm. When you understand your passions, you understand that there will be myriad ways in which you use them throughout your lifetime. What I was doing with my passions 10 years ago is different than what I’m doing with them. Today will be different than perhaps what I’m doing with them 20 years from now. But because I’m using them and and employing them in making a bigger difference in some way, I’m achieving my purpose over and over and over again.
Paul Long: So how did you how did you develop this? Because you didn’t just do it by yourself? I mean, I very scientific process. How’d you do?
Alaina Love: I did. I worked with a team of researchers from the University of Michigan, and we structured the this psychometric tool that was designed to measure how a person resonates with each of the 10 passion archetypes. I did extensive testing to make sure it was 10 archetypes not nine, not 12, not 11. It’s actually 10. And indeed, we were able to validate that by testing, testing and retesting on individuals. The work itself was originally birthed from research that I did looking at individuals inside corporations who are deemed by their companies to be high potential people. And what I began to notice as I did qualitative interviews with these individuals as I was seeing patterns of passion show up over and over again in individuals who really felt like I’m at the top of my game here, I’m loving what I’m doing. I’m in an environment where my skills are being used. My passions have a playground. I’m valued. Those distinct behaviors kept, I said, repeating themselves. And I realized I’ve been seeing these patterns my entire career. I just didn’t recognize what they were at the time. So I structured the tool initially around those patterns that I were seeing, and those patterns became what I call passion archetypes. So quickly, there were 10 of them. There’s the creator archetype, the conceivable archetype, discoverer processor, there’s teacher, there’s connector, there’s altruist, there’s healer, there’s transformer and there’s builder. And all 10 of those passions are very different from one another. And often we we have individuals, we’ll find individuals who have combinations of passions that that seem to hang together in a way and others that seem vastly different from one another showing up in the same person like builder, together with processor or creator together with Discover, those can be very different combinations.
Paul Long: Well, and by the way, we’ll we’ll go into what the entire ideal process would be with, with what you offer in the profiler as a springboard really to doing something deeper. But when I took mine in the first place, it was when I started well. This endeavor was originally pro boomer, but I was already on my way when we met and I took the profiler the first one, the simple one, and it was boom. My three top archetypes were builder creative transformer, and I’m like, That’s exactly what I’m doing. And so you might say, Oh, you didn’t need to take it, but I found it incredibly validating because my last endeavor, my content creation business, was one in which it was something that I could do, but wasn’t necessarily something that I should do. If I had known this then 30 years ago, I probably I would have taken a different. I would have taken a different direction. And I want to say in that 30 years, you know, I kept the lights on and I put two boys through college. I had a lot of successes. I got to do some really cool stuff, but I knew that it was never right for me. I was never. People were astounded by the fact when I say, you know, I’ve never been comfortable doing this and they’re coming, are you kidding? Look at how successful you are at it.
Paul Long: But I was being successful in one vein, like you were referring to before and not in another. I wish I had taken this then, you know, I wish they existed. What took you so long? The line, which is 30 years ago, I really could have used it. And but I also know for other people, and I shared this with a lot of family and friends, you know, and I said, You take it. And it was, by the way, very interesting. Like with one of my sons, his profile, I was like, Kim and I were like, No. And then we thought about it and it’s like, Yes. And I know with other people they had the kind of reactions that you’ve had from individuals and corporations, which we’ll talk about. But there’s one really great validating case study of of a woman who was very successful rice at real quickly. But I’m interested in your take as to why and what happened. A woman who was a very successful professional in the fashion industry by all intents and purposes, a huge success, and she was very dissatisfied with her life. And as it turned out, she was, as I recall, a creator, a builder and an altruist. She wasn’t doing anything creative. She wasn’t building anything and she wasn’t being altruistic. Whoa. New World open to her. And then what happened?
Alaina Love: Well, it’s interesting. She contacted me to have a conversation about why she was feeling so miserable in the work that she was doing. And, you know, by all intents and purposes, was successful. All those external identifiers of success in a big job, making a lot of money working for this amazing firm in the fashion industry at the top of her game. And she realized day after day that I’m going in and doing these things, and I’m good at them, but I’m not getting anything from this experience. I’m not feeling what I thought I would feel when I got to this level. And when we did her passion profile, you’re right, she typed as a builder. She typed as a creator and an altruist, and she wasn’t in a building mode in the role that she was in any longer. She was kind of in a maintenance mode. The the job was that where it was, the organization was where it was, and she was kind of maintaining it, keeping it going. So no opportunity to really build there, even though it was fashion which you think of as as a creative industry. She was so far removed from anything associated with making creative decisions in her experience in her job that that wasn’t being fed at all. And she certainly felt over time like, I’m in this job that’s helping people who have a lot of money by a lot more stuff. What’s that about? How is that changing the world or making anything better in the world? So it didn’t feed her altruist at all? And as we talked about, what are your options at this point in your life and at this point in your career? And how can you start bringing more of this creative outlet to the experience that you’re having every day? We ended up in a long conversation, ended up talking about ballet.
Alaina Love: She loved ballet and she had she started thinking about, well, maybe I’ll volunteer with, you know, a local company to kind of help them out. I have a lot of business experience. I can maybe help them be more successful. And as it turns out, she ended ended up transitioning over to into arts in a non-profit setting and help them really build up their organization, build up their funding, their donations, et cetera. She got to be involved every time they were doing, you know, a major performance or major season, so she could be sort of in the theater. Seeing what’s going on is that different dances were being produced, so she felt like she had that creative outlet and she felt like because of what they were doing, they were bringing arts to communities and arts to children who it might never, ever get exposed to that because they did some special things for children who were more underprivileged and not exposed to art at all in getting getting funders to fund tickets for those kids to come to performances. So at feather altruist archetype and all of a sudden it’s like, OK, I really can be these particular passions and I can make a living from it and feel like I’m making a difference at the same time changed her life.
Paul Long: Well, and I think I I honestly and with great seriousness, say that this is the kind of thing that I think is like transforming. This is the kind of thing that everybody should be aware of because, you know, the example I gave of myself doing something I could do but necessarily shouldn’t do same with her. And then the validation of what I’m doing now. And because. You know, throughout life, we’ve got all of these old thoughts, old assumptions and presumptions about ourselves and about life. And it’s kind of like at some point we need a little bit of a, you know, remove the veil and see, see who we really are and what we need. And it sounds like in her case, and I know in my case, it’s kind of like, Whoa, this is it. Now I see life differently now, I see potential differently. Now I see what I need to do now. I see what my new way forward essentially needs to be. And I, you know, to me, this is absolutely in finding and then executing and achieving a new way forward. That’s right for you. This is like a starting point. It’s like knowing this is where you start. Everything else emanates from it.
Alaina Love: Try to do anything else before you get this part right? Like, really, spend the time with this because what you’re describing, Paul, when you talk about yourself, starting your company and doing the things that you were doing. And yes, it’s great because it helped put, you know, meat on the table and put your boys through school. Great. We all want to do that. But when you think about it, you were functioning in a role based on your skill set. And many of us are skilled to do a whole lot of things we’re not passionate about doing. The trick is when you can bring your skill set in your passions together, that’s when it starts to really feel good. And then when you’re in a place where your values are also honored, those that combination of those three is when it starts to feel really good and you start to feel like I’m working and living on purpose.
Paul Long: And when you say values, forgive me for interrupting. When you say values, characterize that in this context.
Alaina Love: Well, you know, it’s interesting. The more I’ve done this work, the more I’ve come to understand a couple of important connections. The first is that your purpose births your passions. But then I’ve also realized your passions birth your values. We’re connected. So if I have a particular set of passions, I’m going to find more often than not that I resonate towards certain types of values that I want to see exhibited in the way I lead my life. So values are all kinds of different words, though people who will say things like integrity is a value or honor is a value, or perseverance is of value that they exhibit. What does that mean when it’s in action? Because if I say integrity is a value for me and you say it’s also a value for you, we could be talking about completely different things. So understanding what your values are and understanding what they actually look like when they’re in action is particularly critical piece of work for each person to do as they seek to find their new way forward. Because you can’t find a new way forward unless you have a value structure that’s guiding you because a guide, your decisions, your behaviors, the kinds of things that you will find acceptable to experience or not. So that’s an important piece of work to do. But as I was describing earlier, we we often get caught up in what we think we’re good at doing. And we think that that should somehow make us feel good about what we’re doing.
Alaina Love: And it doesn’t always. In fact, I have met more than one person on a 20 year detour to career happiness because they went down a path that mom said they should study this or my uncle was an accountant. So I need to go be an accountant now, or my dad was a businessman. So I need to go be a businessman, too, because that’s what he did. And you get there and you find out, OK, if I work hard and study hard enough and learn these particular skills, I can be OK. I can be good at this. But if it’s robbing you of your joy every single moment that you’re doing it, what’s the point? So this work that we’re talking about here is really at getting to the essence of who you are. Understanding your passions. Will you get a sightline to your purpose from that exercise? Yeah. Somewhat, and that’s that’s a longer piece of work to do. It takes a little more time to really understand what’s the underlying purpose that’s associated with the passions that you exhibit. But I do believe that. Moving in the direction of trying to unveil that for yourself is absolutely critical. Taking a look at the skills that you have and saying, is there a different way I could be using these skills that are much more aligned with my passions than I currently am, because maybe that will bring me a higher sense of fulfillment than I’m experiencing right now.
Paul Long: Yeah, and and I would also add, well, again, you know, I really believe in in the statement that where attention goes, energy flows and that ain’t woo woo. I mean, that’s just consciousness. You think about buying a yellow Mustang. All of a sudden you see yellow Mustangs. Exactly. You start getting excited about something. You’re thinking about it when you’re taking a shower or driving, cooking or whatever. And. You know, in terms of purpose or purposeful, that’s a whole nother discussion. I mean, certainly you’re living with purpose right now because you’re figuring out what what is going to make me happy and fulfilled. And, you know, I’m a living example. And there are so many others of of. It’s like, once you know these things and you’re just like, you know, when I thought back and applied this to 30 years ago when I chose the path that I took with the content creator, producer, writer, director and stuff like that. If I had known those things, I’d say, well, am I going to be a transformer? Know what I’m doing now. I feel like I’m transforming. I’m helping transform lives. The view of this life. Get out of the default life, you know? Was I really building something when I was kind of building a business? Now I’m building something and it’s all mine, and I’m certainly doing the creative thing. That’s a double check mark on both. And I think that especially now with COVID and how rapidly things are changing her things like the pandemic, but also just technology and everything is one person said things have never changed as fast as they’re changing now, and they will never change the slowly again. How does this passion, knowing what your true passions are, your archetypes are help you deal with all of that.
Alaina Love: You know, it’s really interesting, Paul. I have run into so many people since this pandemic started who are having what I’ll call an existential crisis. They’re looking at their lives and they’re asking themselves, Wait a minute. Is this what I really signed up for? Is this what I really want to be doing with my life? Because face it. We’re in a situation with this pandemic, and we’re not through it yet. Right, right. And by all accounts, from the scientists, we’re years away from being on the other side of this, but we faced a situation where everybody in the world was in pain at exactly the same time for the same reason. We also faced a situation where. Everybody was brought face to face with their own mortality. And sometimes way sooner than they ever thought they’d have to wrestle with that particular question. When you look up and you see people dying at the rates that we saw people dying during the height of the pandemic, especially here in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people, you know, the numbers kept the ticking and ticking and ticking you to watch it every day on screen. You start to think to yourself. What if it this was it for me? Mm hmm. What if this was it? Like, remember when cardboard boxes we were afraid of because we didn’t know if it was on the cardboard boxes, we had that period of time where we didn’t even know how this was transmitted.
Alaina Love: So people were thinking, Oh my gosh, it could happen to me at any moment. I don’t know that I won’t get this and end up checking out. And I think what happened with that coming face to face with one’s own mortality is it ratcheted up our desire to really look at our lives and say, Wait a minute, am I going to waste any more time? Trying to live the life that I have said I wanted to live. And we also found people very isolated. Separated from family members, grandparents who didn’t see their grandchildren, you know, extended family, not getting together for holidays, et cetera, so you had none of the touch points that would make you feel grounded, make it feel like, oh, there’s still some normalcy here. So folks experienced very shocking moment in their lives that caused them to say, I really need to take a look at what I’m doing. And I really need to ask myself the question, am I going to keep doing this or am I going to make a change? Then we went to a situation where because of lockdown, everybody was trying to figure out how to work from home, like, how do you do this Zoom thing and keep the kids, you know, doing some schoolwork and all of that stuff, all at the same time?
Paul Long: So with that and the speed of change, knowing what? In your context, passion is your passions are. How does that how does that help me with all?
Alaina Love: Helps with all of the above, because it starts to give you absolute clarity about what’s important, like you can only fool yourself for so long when you have a global pandemic staring you in the face and threatening your life. It starts to make you say, Whoa, wait a second, I don’t have any more time to waste. And so when you start coming face to face with these questions about what matters, understanding yourself is the first piece of work to do. Right? I understand me. Then I understand what matters to me and why it matters to me. Because if I understand that I have a certain set of passions and what I’m doing every day isn’t fueling those, there’s probably something wrong with what I’m doing every day that I really need to examine, either examining what I do or examining how I bring myself to what I do. It doesn’t always mean I get up and leave my job or, I, you know, divorce my spouse or whatever the case may be. It’s more How do I bring more of myself to what I’m doing every day? And is that possible? So you start looking at who you are and then you start looking at the environment that you’re in and asking yourself the question, is there an opportunity to really be me in this environment that I’m in? Because if there is, I’m going to feel fulfilled, if there’s not. And if I, what I’m giving up is far greater than what I’m receiving from this, I need to completely rethink how I’m leading my life.
Paul Long: And I mean goose bumps because and it worked for me knowing. Knowing what I needed to do, I mean, the first place I realized, whoa, now more than ever, what I’m looking to do, they’re going to be more and more people that need it. What you’re doing, more and more people are going to need it. But I was solid because I already knew that I was on, you know, the proper path. You brought it. You brought up something else to, you know, about about about knowing and being in a position to take advantage of it. You would also told me at a conversation a while ago, and in fact, you even quoted a Monmouth University study that, you know, new way forward. While 90 percent of what we offer is good for everybody, it’s definitely focused on those of us who are older, you know, late 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, whatever that are looking for something new. And you said that this is maybe one of the best times in life to be identifying what your passions are and using that as a launchpad to your new way forward?
Alaina Love: Well, it absolutely is. It’s really interesting. When I started doing this research on passions I and developed the passion profiler. One of the things that we look at in the passion profiler for the in the professional version of it is we look at the the degree of connection a person feels with the work that they’re doing, we look at the degree of reflection the individual tends to engage in. And the data they’re from an age perspective matches the very same data that psychologists are have gathered looking at happiness, and they describe happiness as being a U-shaped curve. Early in our 20s in eighteen to twenty four, so we’re pretty happy. Then we start working and getting out into our careers and then we sort of bottom out in our 40s. We’re really at the bottom of the happiness curve and people thought, Oh, that’s because you know, you, you have kids and responsibilities and a mortgage to pay and you’re doing the grind to try to keep things going. I found out that’s not true. Let me continue on the curve, so then you can start coming out of the curve in your fifties and about the time you’re in your late 50s and into your sixties. The data shows that you’re in a consistent trajectory of higher well-being. Now what’s happening there? Our work our research shows that when people start to get into their early 30s, they start to come face to face with the question of am I doing what I thought I was supposed to accomplish? Is this really where I want to be? They come face to face with that question in their early 30s.
Alaina Love: In my study, it was at age. Thirty two is the average age that people experience that. So, you know, they’re heading for the bottom of the trough of the curve at this point, right? And if they did not understand their passions at that stage, they were much more likely to say, I either either a I don’t know whether I should stay in this career and in this organization or B, I don’t know what else to do. So I’m just going to plod forward. Because I don’t know what else to do, and so I’m then on another 10 years or more of this, you know, road to dissatisfaction because I don’t know what else to do because I don’t know who I am. I don’t have those answers. We also found in the research that we did that by the time people got into their late 50s and 60s. What they were searching for was meaning. Meaning mattered over money by that stage because they started to look at their lives and say, I got more yesterdays than tomorrow’s.
Alaina Love: And whatever I’ve got left, I mean, I want to do something that gives me a sense of meaning because that’s where my fulfillment is coming from. And anything else that’s not about that. I don’t want anything to do with it. And they become very intentional about pursuing meaning, which is why that happiness curve looks like it looks at that stage and why it matches exactly the same data that we see in our research around importance of purpose, importance of passion to people. It matters differently at different ages and you start making different decisions based on that. So what I found in my research is that we can kind of. Bill, in a little bit of the bottom of that curve, because when people start to recognize their passions earlier, they start making different decisions as they’re going through their careers and the that the depth of the curve, the trough of the curve is not so deep anymore because I now understand me so I can pursue things that I know are associated with me being my very best self and being able to contribute my very best. And that makes me feel fulfilled. I’m not scratching my head and wondering, am I on the right path anymore?
Paul Long: I mean, this. So here again, this is something wonderful for people who are in their 30s that that’s just mind blowing, that one of the reasons for that curve is because it’s like, Am I doing the right thing? And I’ll take the ages out because how many people do I know who are in their 40s and 50s and 60s that are still wondering, how many people do I know that took the notion of, Oh, I’ll retire, you spend your whole life strategizing and planning your life, and then it’s like, Oh, and then someday I won’t have to work anymore. And then they get it. Then we know that the major trend is, is that people, you know, have the retirement honeymoon for six months or a year, and then they’re miserable. They feel like they’re failing at life. They the alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, depression, all that spikes because people still had decades of of life left. And and and so I find that very validating and especially with the fact that you know it, it might be at different times for, you know, there are seven billion variation answers out there for us on the Earth right now.
Paul Long: You know that especially when, for whatever reason, you know the existential threat, you’re losing a job, you know, or the resignation migration, you know, people saying, Wait a minute, what am I doing? Or, you know, the person who’s 52 years old and because of their age or whatever, they’re losing their job that that here again and everybody’s going. Am I doing it right? And what the hell should I do? And the bottom line is, is that this process and I’d like for you to talk about the full process, the the ideal process. You know, what do I what the hell do I do? I think that this is a starting point, which, by the way, I’ll just start you out on that. It certainly there’s a very inexpensive kind of introductory thing called the passion profile, or it’s very inexpensive and you can do. And that’s how you find out your three archetypes. But then there are further steps which I’ve taken with you that really takes you there. It goes from the Oh, OK, that’s right. To the make a difference. So explain the process.
Alaina Love: All 10 of the archetypes gives you deep information about you relative to your top three. It also is able to tell you which particular passions are you actually utilizing in the work setting. So you can have a certain set of passions, but you can be using stylistic behaviors that have nothing to do with your passions at work because somehow you think you need to be that or do that in your role. So we really want to understand here. Here’s who you are. How are you actually showing up every single day? We also measured your degree of connection to the work you’re doing, the environment you’re doing it in. Even the people that you’re doing it with, how much of affiliation do you feel engagement do you feel for for that experience? And then we measure two forms of reflection that we have found to be absolutely critical to understand. One is called reflective contemplation, and that’s the measure of your natural tendency to be reflective about your personal life experiences and how you use those experiences as a vehicle to learn and to grow and to shape the person that you want to present yourself to the rest of the world as being. That’s where you decide what your values are or what your convictions are. It’s the kind of reflection that helps you figure out what’s my role in the relationships that I share with other people? What stuff do I have to own about how that relationship is going? What stuff is the other person have to own? So it’s all the things that you might use to build coal right in this person called Paul. And then you go to this place called work.
Alaina Love: Where everything we believe to be true about ourselves tends to get tested right because we are going to spend most of us more than 85000 hours of our lives at work. It’s staggering when you think about it, right? So if you’re going to spend, by the way, eighty five thousand hours doing anything, it ought to be something you love. That’s just my take on it. So you go to work, and when you get to work, you meet all different kinds of people. You get exposed to all different kinds of situations. Sometimes you learn you have strengths you weren’t aware of. Other times you learn you have weaknesses I didn’t know about. You might even learn you have prejudices or biases you weren’t aware of just because you never got exposed to something or someone that would reveal that to you. And sometimes at work, we interact with people we like, and sometimes we interact with people who really push our buttons and we wouldn’t choose them as friends. But we have to learn how to manage through that. So work is this great learning laboratory for all the stuff we believe to be true about ourselves. Therefore, our capacity and our intention around reflecting on our experiences at work and what we’re learning about ourselves through them is incredibly important. And our research shows that when you engage in that reflection at work, you raise your level of what we call work inspired reflection, you’re likely to raise your level of engagement for your work. But the reverse is also true when you stop reflecting, your engagement drops off. So we learned over time how critical it is for.
Alaina Love: Any change to be made for any understanding of how to actually utilize your passions and bring them to what you want to do in your life, whether it’s your work life, your personal life doesn’t matter. The key to making that happen and happen well was the capacity to reflect. Absent reflection, you don’t really get anywhere because I don’t care who you go to, there’s no magic pixie dust that can be sprinkled on this. You have to do the work and the work starts with you and the work starts with reflection and making meaning. It starts a little bit with what you were talking about or alluded to earlier. Paul, understanding the tapes you play in your mind, the limiting beliefs that you hold that stop you from taking a chance on this or trying that. How are those limiting beliefs, shaping the very decisions that I make in a way that prevents me from achieving the fulfillment that I say I want? And are they really true? Nine times out of 10, the answer’s no. But we’ve told ourselves stuff so long that we actually start to feel like, OK, I guess this is true until we replace those tapes with a better tape and the better tape is these are my passions. Here’s what I can do with them. These are the strengths I enjoy from them. These are the vulnerabilities I might struggle with a little bit because I have certain passions. But collectively, this set of passions can let me rock the world. Now, let me just figure out exactly where I want to start rocking it.
Paul Long: And that is something I always or believed in to some degree, and then it finally clarified itself recently, and I started hearing other people’s and our work together that yes, we carry these limited beliefs that come from childhood. You know, you’ll never amount to anything or you’re you’ll never you’ll never lose weight or you can’t hold on to money or you can’t make money. And it’s like it may never have been true or it’s maybe not true anymore because it can happen in adulthood, too. And this does seem one of those ways. And when you see, OK, that’s circumstantial, that may or may not have been ever true. Knowing what my core things are about me, knowing that in my case, I’m a builder, a creative and a transformer that defines me more. And that’s more true to me.
Alaina Love: Yes. And it’s so critical because, you know, I’ve done a lot of work over the years. I started out my career in a corporation. So I’ve done a lot of work in corporations over the years, and I’ve worked with a lot of highly successful, highly driven people. And I have had the good fortune sometimes to meet people who whose motives and drive was taking them in the right direction. And sometimes I unfortunately met people for whom that wasn’t the case, for whom their job title and their position in the organization or their association with the organization became so much of who they are. That they were lost without it. I I I have even known of someone commit who committed suicide because they did not get a job that they thought they did not get the promotion, they thought they were going to get somebody else got it. And in this particular case, this person was so tied to, I’m going to have that job and that title, and I’m going to sit in that office in that corner of the building when it didn’t happen.
Paul Long: They couldn’t handle it,
Alaina Love: Couldn’t handle it, couldn’t handle it.
Paul Long: And so and by the way, this forgive me for interrupting, but that’s a fair. I mean, how many of us do something like that to some degree or another because of this presumption or assumption? That’s untrue. And we feel disappointed. We feel failed, like we failed. But again, because we don’t really understand who the heck we are,
Alaina Love: We do it all the time, right? And we and we hang our hats on these other things that we have to have in our lives in order to feel like we’re a hole and that we are valuable individuals, valuable human beings worthy of being here. And when those things don’t materialize, we associate the lack of that materializing with our own failure with somehow us, each of us not being enough. And what’s wonderful about understanding your passions is nobody can take them away from you. They’re yours. They’re yours, and so I always feel like I’m there’s a whole lot of things I am, there’s a whole lot of labels I could ascribe to myself, but at the end of the day, I’m a builder, transformer and a healer. That’s what I am and what I think about my purpose in life, it’s pretty simple and there is a lot of work that I do around helping people figure out what that statement is for themselves. Mine, I’ve borrowed shamelessly from the archetype language. My purpose in life is to heal and transform. That’s my purpose. My purpose in life is to heal and transform, and I do it through the work that I do every day. I do it in personal relationships. I do it in my family. I build the structures that are required to help that happen. So I use my builder in that in that respect. But I know of the three archetypes. Those two healer and transformer are really what I’m about and what I’m here to do. And so every time I’m doing something that’s healing and transforming, I know I’m living on purpose. And nobody can take that away from me. I don’t need a title from some company, I don’t need a certain office. I don’t need the parking space in the garage with my name on it to make me feel like I’m living on purpose every single day. And when you can know that about yourself, it’s so freeing.
Paul Long: You mentioned a moment ago. A lot of the work you do, I mean, certainly we’ve been talking kind of in the individual context. But a lot of the work you do is with corporations. So what is what does that look like? What is the I mean, I can certainly think of some things, but what why are corporations globe major global corporations really latching on to what to to your work, to your approach?
Alaina Love: Well, I think that there are a couple of reasons for why that’s happening. I think that as a world, we’re becoming more involved in this thinking number one, and we’re certainly seeing generations come into the workforce right now whose mindset is I’m going to find my passion and build my life around it because their parents have told them, find something you’re passionate about and make that your career, and they took it to the next level. I’m not just going to make it my career, I’m going to build my whole life around it. And so corporations are now in a situation where they’re facing a completely new kind of employee contract, right? Those employees are coming in and thinking to themselves, I need to, you know, this needs to like work for me. This seems to feel purposeful. I need to feel like there’s a deep connection between who I am and what I’m getting paid to do. And if I’m not, I’m probably going to make a different decision. I’m going to go look for someplace else where that’s possible. So we’ve got that going on. We’ve got other generations in the workforce, older generations in the workforce who are in that group of people that you’re talking about. We talked about earlier coming up out of that curve in searching for meaning, right? So if I’m going to stay and hang around out in this organization longer and lend all my institutional wisdom and history to the equation here, I got to feel like there’s some value into it.
Alaina Love: There’s some meaning that I’m gaining from it, some meaning that I’m giving to the environment that I’m in, especially if I’m in in the stage of my life where these are the wisdom years I can be imparting my wisdom to others. So I think you’ve got that going on and then look where we are just globally and what’s happened in the world in the last two years, right? We’re in the middle of a pandemic and we have a huge shift in how employees everywhere, especially here in the United States, are thinking about their lives. So that, I think, is really caused organizations to latch on to this even more than they had. I’ve always had the benefit of meeting some enlightened leaders who fundamentally understood if we can connect people with the work that we’re asking them to do and an outlet for their passions and skills. We’re probably going to get better results. And guess what? Spoiler alert they do. They absolutely do not say,
Paul Long: Can I say duh?
Alaina Love: Yeah, exactly. They totally get better results and they retain people because people feel like I get to do me here. Why would I go someplace else if you’re paying me fairly? If you’ve given me an outlet for using my skills at work, if I’ve got a playground for my passions and I happen to be in a company where my value system aligns with the value system of the company, I’m riding that wave all the way to the beach. There’s no way I’m going to jump ship and go someplace else. So what I found in my research, it’s very difficult to recruit people away when they’re at that stage. So when I do this work with organizations, it’s not just to have somebody understand their passions. It’s really normally a large part of a larger initiative that we’re involved in, in where this particular piece of work becomes the foundational piece of work that needs to be done to establish the platform for everything else that happens. So it’s been used, of course, in team building kinds of settings. But I also use it when I’m trying to help teams understand how to establish strategies because each of the archetypes thinks very differently and they come to strategy vary from very different place. So it allows them to get diverse thinking on the table so they’re making the best decisions. It’s been used in mentoring programs, it’s been used for onboarding, it’s been used for global talent development, where organizations are taking their very top people that they think are going to succeed to the C-suite and saying We want them to have a deep understanding of themselves and how they relate, who they are to how they’re leading their teams and how they’re contributing to the organization. So it goes all over the place in terms of its application, but it’s always the fundamental piece that we need people to have an anchor in before we can take them someplace else that’s really meaningful and sustained. And that’s the part. When you understand this part, you understand this passion piece. It creates stickiness, so everything else that you do is aligned.
Paul Long: Yeah, so it applies in the corporate workplace world and it applies to us. You know, it’s getting aligned and and and knowing. You know who you are and what you need in life. So with that said. Like anything, as you’ve hit on it, it takes work and it takes effort, and so therefore, yes, for instance, as I mentioned before, you can take the simple profiler and call it a day, but you will offer the progressive steps to go deeper and then to to coach and advise and help you as you help that woman very successfully as you’ve helped me. But you’ve also brought up the point or the question one has to ask themselves. Are you ready? Exactly. What does that mean?
Alaina Love: Well, I think readiness is about willingness, willingness to do the work and examining yourself, willingness to discard the notion that you have all the answers already. And a willingness to trust whatever process you’re going to engage in, that it will help lead you to the answer. So if people come to new way forward, for example, you’re providing them with a range of of options, a range of things to look at and engage in a range of things to reflect on. If you’re not ready, you’re not going to do that work. You’re not going to do the work, you’re going to wish things were different, but you’re not ready to actually do the work required to make them different in your life. So you’re going to walk away from it feeling disappointed because I didn’t find a way to add water and stir and take a good long sip animal. And it’s all you have.
Paul Long: Like, it doesn’t the profile that come with like some pixie dust or little?
Alaina Love: Yeah, keep looking for that stuff. Nope. So I tried Magic Wine. I’ve talked to Harry Potter. He let me. His doesn’t work, OK? The only way through this is through it right is to do the reflective work, to take part in any, any training, any program, any offerings that are provided to you, that you decide I’m going to engage in these and to take them seriously and to actually do the work associated with them. So when people work with us, for example, and we take them on as as a client, we put them through some pretty extensive reflection, reflective work. They have to identify with their values are and be able to tell me what those look like in action. They have to come up with a statement of purpose for their lives. The answering the big question Why are you here and why does it matter? They have to identify professional objectives that they want to achieve, and the time to achieve them is a short window any next three to six months, what do you want to achieve? But the caveat is that those objectives have to be aligned with their purpose, their passions and their values, and they have to be able to tell me, what is it going to look like when they’ve actually accomplished that? Because so often we say we want something, we have no idea what the outcome actually should be. So when we get there, we don’t know we are there. We don’t even understand it because we haven’t defined the milestone. Who’s going to hold you accountable to making it happen? What are the steps you need to take? I mean, we get granular when it comes to that, both on a professional level and on a personal level. They have to do the same thing in their personal lives because your passion span all of your life.
Alaina Love: It’s not just this is me at work, this is you in every single situation you find yourself in, in every relationship you have. So how do you begin creating a plan for your life that will lead you to where you actually want to go? Rather than getting you stuck in where you are, and that means being ready to do that work, what is being ready mean I’m willing to set X amount of hours aside week to work on this. B, I’m willing to read the materials that are necessary that I’ve that I’ve signed up for that will allow me to learn more. I’m I’m going to engage in investing in myself to do this. Will there be some materials that I can find, you know, that cost nothing? Yes. Will there be some that I find that do have a cost associated with them? Yeah, there will be. And if you’re not willing to invest that in yourself, you’re probably not going to get as much out of it. There’s only so much you can do for free, so to speak. People who have really leaned into creating platforms and creating processes that help people have invested in doing that. And therefore there’s a cost to you to to partake in that, which only makes sense. You create a new way forward, Paul, that a huge investment of time, effort, money, all of the above for you to create that and to bring this to people. So whatever investment they have to make into experiencing it is absolutely worthwhile because you’re investing in answering the biggest questions you have in your life. And figuring out what comes next for you.
Paul Long: The bottom line is, is that anything that’s worthwhile in life is hard, you know, it takes effort, it takes, but it’s all worthwhile. You know, one of the hardest things I ever did was raise kids. That was hard. It sometimes it was brutally hard, but oh my gosh, I’ll do it again because it was worth it. And so, you know, I appreciate you bringing that up, finding your new way forward, pursuing your new way forward, achieving so to speak, your new way forward. It’s going to take a lot of effort and they’re going to be some scary times and some down times, and it’s going to cost some money, maybe because of how you need to skill up, but it’s worth it. It is a super high ROI return on investment. And the same goes with you. You know that that in your progression, you know, for very, you know, for the price of a couple of lattes or whatever, you know, you can have, you know, the lite version, but springboard into the more serious work that isn’t gargantuan, really expensive, but it’s worth the investment. All of this is worth an investing. And by the way, what are we investing in? Oh, like my the life that I want, the fulfilling life that fulfills my needs and makes me happy. Hmm. What’s that worth?
Alaina Love: Well, you know, here’s the deal. We can either decide we’re going to stay where we are. Which is, you know, wallowing and in a life of dissatisfaction. That has these momentary events of escape that we do from the fact that we’re in that life, but we’re still in it. Or we can make the decision that we’re going to invest in ourselves, that we are actually worth it, right, because you make an investment. You have to also be making a conscious choice that you’re worth it, right? So we’re going to make that choice that we’re worth investing the time, the effort, the money into exploring this for ourselves. And we I do describe it as being a challenge. It is a challenge. But I also will tell you it is the most joyful journey. You will ever be on. It is the most joyful journey, because at the end of it, you get to find you. And you get to celebrate the best that you are and can be. And you know what that is and you know how you want to express that in the world. So it’s not just I’m feeling better about myself. It’s not only do I feel better about myself, but I feel empowered to make a bigger difference in the world. And there’s no topping that, there’s just no topping that feeling. So all of these things that are scary, that bring us to these points are actually the opportunities to enter the joy that’s available to you. I was talking to a woman yesterday. She told me that she lost her job six weeks ago, and she said I hated the job and it’s the first time I’ve ever lost a job.
Alaina Love: And she said, Here I am divorced. I got two kids and a mortgage to pay, she said. But I just looked at it and I thought. Well, I hated that. Why do I want to go look for that same thing again? I need to really think about what do I want to do differently? So she started talking to me about some of the things she wanted to do and and how the passion work really helped her sort of figure herself out. So she had at least a general direction of where she should be headed and what she shouldn’t be doing, which is even more important to know. And she said, You know, it’s scary. And she said there were times when I take deep breaths and I cross my fingers and hope for the best, she said. But I’m actually feeling excited about this. Because as scary as it is, it’s actually exciting because I get to reinvent. The next chapter of my life, from what I thought it was a year ago or six weeks ago before, you know, I was let go from my job because she said, honestly, I would have stayed in that job. I would have stayed in it as miserable as I was because I had kids and a mortgage to pay and I was scared to do anything else, she said. You know, the universe has a way of kicking you in the tush when you need it. And she said, and I needed a kick in the tush and I got one, and now I’m on a journey that I think is going to lead me to joy.
Paul Long: Therefore, the expression two things one how many people say getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me? And number two, being a fan of or appreciating Joseph Campbell, the great ornithologist he was, whose learnings were behind a lot of Star Wars. So Luke, going into the cave and confronting Darth Vader, who was himself? And it’s been said for thousands of years. You know, the cave that you fear the most is the cave you must go into, you know, meaning that, yeah, you’re going to have to confront some stuff and everything, but it doesn’t have to be that bad and worrying about it’s like a thousand times worse than going, Oh, that’s why. That’s why I’m the way that I am. I mean, those are all really good points, too. So two more questions. First of all, how can people reach you?
Alaina Love: Well, they can reach me at info, at the purpose links. My website is purpose linked to consulting the purpose links so they can reach me there
Paul Long: And I will have in the show notes, except on some podcast channels. But in the show notes, I’ll have those links and also a link to the initial passion profiler, which again, I think is just at least a great springboard and starter to to take that to to, quite frankly, you know, I said it was so affordable I sent it out to a bunch of other people. I’ve had people who are starting the journey even while I was in the auction stage of transitioning to a forward. I still like, Oh, you’re thinking about this? Take this, take this. And it’s been amazing every single time, but it’s only a springboard.
Alaina Love: That’s great to hear, though it makes me makes me feel glad.
Paul Long: Yeah. And then so last but not least. What’s the number one takeaway from all that we’ve been talking about, the number one, take away from what you’ve learned and what you’re offering and what your approach is for people? To take away from from this discussion that we’ve had. What’s number one,
Alaina Love: I keep being drawn back to this, this phrase that I’m hearing in my head as you asked me that question and it’s actually been reverberating in my mind the whole time we’ve been talking. And that is for people to come to appreciate that you’re already enough. You’re already enough. So the challenge is trying to figure out what that is, what that you is, that is already enough. What’s the language for that that you can use that will allow you to describe to others the very best that you can be and will allow you to navigate yourself to the situations that will allow you to be the very best that you can be. So searching to be like other people or pursue something that other people have told you, you that you should pursue because they’ve done it or they know somebody who did it and was successful is not the answer. Stepping into this work with the mindset that I’m already enough, I just need to discover all that I am through this process and then leverage that is really key.
Paul Long: Oh, I so love that I sold a lot that and my number one takeaway is that, yes, when you know that these are the things that give you that you’re passionate about, that are at the core of your being. And you’re already that you’re already enough, and now you can direct it and believe in it. And certainly, I’m a believer in the work that you’ve been doing and the association that you and I have together. So Elena? Absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for this and what you have to offer.
Alaina Love: Oh, thank you, Paul. It was a joy to spend this time with you. I can’t wait to see what we continue to do together.
Paul Long: If you like this, there’s a lot more on YouTube. Also, there’s even more on new way forward, that’s new way fWt. There you can subscribe. You’ll get a free newsletter regularly, you’ll get special updates and you’ll get a free download to help you step by step. Get going on your new way forward.
Find Your True Passion in Life