I gave a presentation Wednesday night and had a really positive response, but something about it has been nagging at me. The comment was made that I was so passionate about the topic I spoke on. Except that I’m not. I couldn’t care less about the policy topic.
What, then, is going on here?
I’m realizing that people confuse my public speaking ability (and I am a really good speaker) with passion for a topic, and my knowledge of a subject with my interest in a subject.
I am knowledgeable about a lot of topics that I don’t have particular interest in, but which I need to know about for work. I’ve learned a lot about a few specific topics so that I can facilitate learning a process. A lot of what I do is preparation and learning to be able to do other things or to develop expertise, or because I’m just curious about how things work, but rarely is it because I’m passionate about a topic.
However, I’ve been hearing – and listening to that – for years. I’ve been letting other people tell me what I’m passionate about, and now I’m not sure I even know. I know what I’m knowledgeable about and why, I know what I’m good at and how hard I had to work to be that good, but as for passion? I haven’t got a clue.
I don’t know if it’s from the numbing I did for a few years to try to cope with PTSD or if it’s because life events and trauma have worn out my joy or another reason, but I cannot tell you a single thing that I am passionate about. I do know that I’m done letting other people tell me, but that’s just the first step in what is looking like another long struggle to untangle my life.