Leadership with heart, mind, and soul

Don't Rely on Your Natural Resources

Added on by Sam Davidson.

Passion is a valuable thing. Many people want to build a career around it, but putting all your eggs in this basket may not be a good move. Passion is rarely learned. You become passionate about something naturally, usually. It's a gut feeling, something visceral and emotional. You need this kind of fire in the core of your being to keep going when the going gets very, very tough.

But, you need more than this. You need to learn and hone skills. You need to get smart. You need to try new things, build new networks, and develop new relationships. You need to try hard things, to challenge and push yourself. Otherwise, you'll just rely on what you're naturally good at or what gets you excited. Sadly, these things may fade one day.

Here's a parallel from the world of geopolitics. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes about what makes Taiwan so great:

Taiwan is a barren rock in a typhoon-laden sea with no natural resources to live off of — it even has to import sand and gravel from China for construction — yet it has the fourth-largest financial reserves in the world. Because rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence — men and women.

While many other countries rely on what comes naturally - minerals in the ground - Taiwan has had to rely on education and intelligence. As a country, it didn't take what was given; it went and earned what couldn't be bought.

We must do the same with our careers. If you're lucky to have an innate skill or talent, then milk it for all its worth and earn as much as you can. But, along the way, be sure to combine that gift with real knowledge, new opportunities, and worthwhile challenges. Leverage your passion and your talents, but be sure to grow beyond that so that you can have a bevy of options when you need them most.

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