Desi Jagger's Blog

How I found my passion & 4 questions to help you find yours

When I published my last article Why I quit my safe, well paid job at P&G, people around the globe from Vancouver to Cairo reached out to me for advice and ideas on how to find their passion.

This got me thinking about the symptoms of my passion for developing people. Looking back at my life, I made a list of all the instances when my passion had surfaced. I tried to organize them by theme or chronologically – only to realize that passion is all-encompassing and ever-present. The origin of passion is inside of you, so you need to recognize it rather than trying to find it externally. To recognize your passion you need to become self-aware so you can spot the symptoms when they manifest themselves.

Here are some of the symptoms for my passion – do you recognize any of these in yourself?


I noticed problems and gaps (that others didn’t) and desperately wanted to fix them

In my second year at Procter & Gamble, marketers were increasingly expected – but not equipped to – engage with big retailers like Walmart. When I proposed running a commercial training for marketers, the response was unanimous:

“This is exactly what we need – why didn’t we think of it earlier?”

I convinced two senior managers to deliver the training (essentially sitting at their desk until they said “yes”) and designed it with them to ensure it was fun and interactive. Whilst it took me months to prepare, commercial training was not my responsibility – I just couldn’t resist the urge to do it. 



What problems or gaps do you see in the world? Which of them do you have the energy to fight for?


My obsession drove others mad

What is the difference between passion and interest? Interest is ticking the box. Passion is colouring in the whole page – it spills out onto everyone around you. Your passion can annoy other people when they just want a box to tick or they’re on a different page altogether.

I was working with the financial stewardship team on the annual training plan. This was a small part of their job so they wanted to finish it quickly. Since training and coaching were my passion, I wanted it be to perfect – colourful slides, follow up 1on1 coaching with participants, rehearsing the presentation as if it were our Grammy acceptance speech. The team protested:

“You are crazy about this project and you’re driving us crazy too…”

Whilst I adapted my style to keep them engaged, I insisted on the quality of execution (and on making it fun!) and eventually we celebrated the results – meeting the target for the first time in 3 years.



When do people tell you that you’re too bossy and taking something too seriously?


I did it even as child

When we were at school, I often had to help my younger brother with his homework. However, there was a clash. He just wanted the answer, whilst I insisted on teaching him how to get there himself – wasn’t this the meaning of “learning”? The frustration would quickly escalate to an argument. As the older one who held the answer, I would inevitably win and my parents would comment, somehow mockingly, that I am destined to be a teacher (at the time, we had no idea there was a thing called ‘coaching’). Although my methods have since evolved (I have realized that the student, not the teacher, is the key to learning), my belief and passion for getting people to find the answers themselves were clearly manifested quite early on.



What were the things you obsessed over when you were a child?


It was fun and effortless

I would find myself sitting in the back of a corporate presentation, taking notes not just on the content but also on what made it effective. I would spend a weekend watching videos about how the brain works. I would design and give cultural training for new expats in Dubai. Some would label this nerdy and burdensome, but I loved it. It gave me a lens through which I could make sense of the world and that was liberating.



What do you love doing which is difficult or burdensome for others?


It is easy to reflect on my passion now that have recognized it. However, the journey took several years and was filled with confusion, frustration and inaction. How can I be sure coaching and training people is what I really want to do? Why can’t I do more of my passion in my day job? Why am I failing to move forward? Asking myself questions like these at the beginning of my journey would have led me to my passion faster.


Do you know what your passion is? If you are one of the many people trying to recognize or confirm their passion, coaching can help you. Take the first step by booking your free consultation now.


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Photo credit: Thomas Shahan