Passion is an intense emotion that drives us to action. When we are passionate about something, we are deeply consumed by overwhelming affection and desire. There is a fine line between passion and workaholism though. It’s easy to confuse the intense drive of passion with the compulsion of the workaholic.
“Many competent women have a difficult time distinguishing between passion and workaholism. When we hear the emerging concern about the lethal effects of compulsive working, we almost always ask ourselves (or justify to ourselves): ‘But what about being passionate about my work? Are you saying that to be passionate about my work is to be a workaholic? I don’t want to give up my work.’
Many of our role models for success are people who were willing to be devoured by their work. This is confusing to us.
True passion and doing what is important for us to do does not require us to destroy ourselves in the process. In fact, it is when passion gets distorted to compulsivity that it is destructive.”
There’s nothing wrong with loving our work and embracing our drive to succeed. When it starts to interfere with our lives though, it becomes destructive. When we put work above our own care and self-compassion, when we neglect not only ourselves but our family, friends, hobbies… then work is a problem. Taking time to separate ourselves from our work to focus on other pursuits such as fun, relaxation and creativity makes us better at our jobs. It gives us space to rejuvenate and heal, so we can come back to work with renewed focus and energy. Burn out is real. Doing anything compulsively harms you. Even something about which you are passionate.