The Difference Between Purpose & Passion

art of encore living personal development purpose May 16, 2022

Purpose and passion are terms that are often conflated and used interchangeably.

That is unhealthy and dangerous.

Here are five distinctions I make in my work helping others define the difference only they can make (AKA "their purpose") and living more passionately.

  1. Purpose is your reason for being. Passion inspires your being.
  2. Passion is what you bring to (and get from) what you do. Purpose is the reason why you do what you do. 
  3. Purpose is the foundation of what you do. Passion is what fuels what you do.
  4. Passion is about feelings and emotions. Purpose is the reason and meaning behind those feelings and emotions.
  5. Living your purpose is a service toward others. Passion is what those you serve return to you.

I don't think one necessarily comes before the other. Purpose-driven living begets passion, for sure. But just as often, I see passionate living lead to purpose.

The distinction between passion and purpose really matters because they work best together. 

If you rely wholly on passion without purpose, you will exhaust yourself and burn out.

If you rely wholly on purpose without passion, you will feel disconnected and empty.

Toggling back and forth between purpose and passion is a dance worth knowing and practicing.

Which do you need to encourage more of today in your efforts to make a difference, passion, or purpose? What can you do to cultivate that?

Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose

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