Design star Janette Ewen on Passion

Janette gives her no holds barred take on passion and gives us a couple of life lessons in the process.

The older and, to be honest, the more successful I am, the more I am asked the question above. It’s almost as if in the board game of life, having a passion comes after perceived career success: “Yes, we see you have achieved well enough in X, now we need to know about Y.”

In modern day society, defining one’s passion isn’t easy. For example, if I answered, “I am quite passionate about a new lover, a pair of rare sneakers or my bedding,” I could potentially be seen as vapid, materialistic and even a tad naughty. No, in today’s world, passion is something that must be altruistic, marketable, intriguing, photographable and Instagrammable. It must be something that when unleashed at a dinner or cocktail party is met by excitement and intrigue.

In order to have a “worthwhile” passion, you better have access to time, money and high-profile people. I’m not negating anyone’s passion—many of these passions are productive, help others and shine light on worthy causes. But are they really passions? When did passion become an essential element of a successful life? Why do I have to have one? If one doesn’t have a passion, is it another clause for judgment? I don’t have children, so I feel like in order to be seen as a decent human being, I should have two to three passion projects always on the go.

Maybe we should stop asking about passion and instead ask, “What tickles your heart?” and hope for an answer that isn’t fancy, calculated and rehearsed, but rather, honest and true. For me, my current passion…whoops! I mean, my current heart tickle is finding out more about the people I meet and speak with every day. What makes them tick, laugh and smile?

I suppose I have a passion for passion.   

Janette Ewen