Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Gig: Knowing What Your Passion is All About

One of the earliest findings to come out of our new book The Idea Hunter was the recognition that individuals who are most effective in finding new ideas, know what they are looking for! Not surprising, huh? Well, in truth, it is definitely more surprising than it first sounds. Great Idea Hunters really have a mission in life -- a passion -- that turns-on all their hunting senses, so that when a good idea passes by -- and they do all the time, but frequently in disguises that make them invisible unless you know what to look for -- the Idea Hunter, because they consciously understand their passion, is attuned to the moment and recognizes the potential of the idea to what they are passionate about. We call this passion "a gig" and it really acts as an amazingly powerful sensitizing switch that turns the Idea Hunter on all the time.

In December, John Hagel wrote a wonderful blog about his personal "passion trajectory," which I think provides a really good example of what a "gig" might be. In Hagel's words, his passion is: "As I step back and reflect on this evolution of my passion over time, I begin to see a common theme: ... how to participate in ways to scale potential and possibility for others. Each time I have shifted focus, it has been to find a way to scale potential and possibility even more effectively so that I could broaden my impact."

Not only that, he adds insight into how his passion has evolved: "My passion has not shifted – it has evolved, with previous generations of passion still living on – I still engage in my earlier passions. Think of them as geological sediments that still live on and support the passion layers above.
Passions can evolve significantly over a lifetime, yet they often display a common theme that knits together various stages of development."

With such recognition, the hunt for ideas becomes much easier: you know where to look and who to depend upon. Our advice to Idea Hunters is to take the time -- reflective and introspective -- to figure-out what your "gig" really is. For some, it comes early; for others, myself included, later: more than a few decades slipped by before I reached a conscious level of understanding of what my professional passion in life really was. Once that breakthrough happened, I found myself "switched-on" 24/7, and good new ideas suddenly were everywhere.

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