I am convinced that everyone has a purpose to fulfil and a path to follow in life. Sometimes you don’t realise it quickly enough or have yet to discover it.
Whether it is fulfilled through your career or voluntary work, parenting or being a good spouse, or by creating social change, you definitely have a purpose.
You will only need to put in the energy and effort to find it.
The most common advice doled out freely by all and sundry is that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in life.
As a leadership coach working on a daily basis with top executives from many companies, I know that this advice rings hollow to many people.
Most of you are beholden to your lifestyles. You need to earn money to sustain your life, family and status, as well as to manage your debts.
While almost everyone wants to be debt-free, it is unfortunate that we keep getting sucked into the vortex of consumerism.
For many, it’s more like doing whatever it takes to pay the bills.
Doing what you love for a living is far more complex than just turning a passion into a paying job.
Your ability to plan properly, engage in networking and gracefully navigate the tedious and mundane day-to-day tasks of running your venture is as important as having passion and love for what you do.
I have found that passion needs to be fuelled by purpose in order to get results.
You will never escape difficult times at work or in business. But being purposefully aware and connected to reasons you have chosen a certain path will keep you buoyant and help you be resilient.
Recently, I met someone who exemplifies purposeful passion.
Notwithstanding my cultural heritage, I am partial to a good steak. I am always on the lookout for that perfect medium rare rib-eye.
My pet peeve is that most restaurants in Kuala Lumpur find the seemingly-simple process of grilling meat to my desired doneness an almost impossible task.
Some weeks ago, I chanced on a good online review of a restaurant called Butcher Carey in Plaza Damas.
I got excited and asked my wife Susanna to go with me. She usually has some apprehension of my steak-outing because it often results in me grumbling about false advertising.
And, I am not a good dinner companion when a restaurant doesn’t get my steak right.
So, you can imagine how I felt when this restaurant cooked my meat to perfection.
When I find that someone is very passionate about their vocation, I cannot help but want to meet and talk to them to understand what motivates them.
At first impression, the restauran’s owner, Chef Yusof Dayan Iskandar Carey, looked like a totally unapproachable, grouchy, knife-throwing chef.
But on my next visit to the restaurant, I managed to have a chat with him. It turned out that the tough exterior was just his “grilling face” which belied the affable and jovial guy in him.
Chef Yusof started his career life as a banker, but after six years he decided to follow his passion to become a butcher.
It’s quite strange, I know, for an erudite banker to be drawn to butchery as an alternative career.
The Roman poet Lucretius did write that “…one man’s meat is another man’s poison”.
As I was chatting with him, I knew at once that Chef Yusof understood the complexities of turning a passion into a sustainable vocation. Behind the successful chef, butcher and restaurateur were years of hard toil.
When he decided to pursue his passion, he threw caution to the wind and moved to the remote Australian town of Toowoomba.
There, he started from the bottom, working at a butchery business for months learning just to sharpen knives.
This led him to be an apprentice butcher, then as an artisanal master butcher and as a general manager for an international livestock company, and to ultimately found a renowned meat shop and steak restaurant chain in Malaysia.
Having successfully turned his passion into a lucrative career, a few years ago he sold his business to enjoy the fruits of his 25-year labour of love.
However, after a year experiment with retirement, Chef Yusof is back in the butchery business.
This time with a singular aim and scant regard for unnecessary trappings of a modern restaurant.
He just does what he loves — grilling top notch steaks, sourced from best quality farms.
His purposeful drive has enabled him to take his passion and give it the necessary craft for success.
What he does now is every chef’s dream — to just do what you love and cook whatever you want.
But, here’s the thing. To do what you love, you have to be purposefully passionate like Chef Yusof. Only then will you get extraordinary results.
Have you got what it takes?