Notes From Ed Text

You Can’t Have Bold Goals Without Passion!


We’re approaching goal-setting season, so I want to discuss a facet that is often overlooked: passion.

Too much advice on successful goal setting  is based on an important assumption. That assumption?

You are passionate about the goals you think you want to achieve. The problem? Just because you have some goals does not mean you are deeply passionate about them.

Sure, you may want to lose 20 pounds or run a marathon or get a degree, but if this goal isn’t one that you feel passionate about, you are setting yourself up for failure.

The link between passion and successful goal-setting and goal-accomplishment is strong. If a person doesn’t truly know their passion or their why, they can’t truly know their goal. (For more on the power of “Why”, check out this previous Notes!)

You also can’t force passion. Like a brilliant idea, it must come to you.

 Goal-Setting Plan Boldy Passion

When discussing passion, it’s important to note that passion is more than just inspiration. Sure, the best Bold Goals tend to come from a deep, core passion, but people can spend too much of their time hunting for that passion. Sometimes it’s a fruitless search. Passion often finds you!

People often try to figure out how to force this magic to happen. But that’s a tough prospect, as passion can be illogical and/or unexplainable!

It’s also worth noting that it’s okay not to have a passionate Bold Goal in your life… sometimes we need to let passion find us.

Consider this example of passion coming to someone unexpectedly:

  • In 1980, Candace Lightner’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver, so a few months later, Candace formed Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a non-profit group dedicated to curtailing drunk driving
    • Candace didn’t grow up with the goal of forming this group.
    • But the passion for it grew out of a big (and, sadly, tragic) life event
  • Or consider Ira B Wells, born into slavery in 1862 and became a co-founder of the NAACP in 1905

There are other examples of passion striking based on circumstances, wrongs and events. For instance, someone could have a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and that creates a passion for fighting against it. (In my book I wrote about Pam Sloate and Henry Stifel, both of whom chose to turn physical challenges–dystonia and paralysis, respectively–into a cause.)

Once they have kids, new mothers often have a passion for raising them that they never knew they were capable of.

Can you think of other examples of passion sprouting up out of the blue and leading to some Bold Goals?

It’s also important to point out that following a goal that you are not passionate about can be akin to climbing the wrong mountain. But it isn’t the end of the world if you mistakenly make that climb. As Barbara Oakley wrote in her book Mindshift, “Many ordinary and extraordinary people have made fantastic changes in their lives by keeping themselves open to learning.”

In other words, if you mistakenly follow what you thought was a passion, use the experience as a lesson learned.

  • Learn from your mistake
  • Learn from what you accomplished
  • Learn from what you thought was your passion, but really wasn’t

If you’ve been mistakenly following something you thought was your passion, and the fires have fizzled out, then don’t be discouraged. Just climb down the mountain, and start up on the mountain where your true passions lie.

Finally, it’s important to consider the ramifications the pursuit of your passion might have on other aspects of your life. In my book, I wrote about the McCurry family, who wanted to retire at 33–a Bold Goal for sure, but one whose achievement would likely lead to downsides along the way. Consider the Pros and Cons worksheet, which I’ve filled out on the McCurry’s behalf:

Notes From Ed Goal-Setting Plan Worksheet

Does your passion have significant pros and cons that you should think about?

Do you have goals you want to achieve? More importantly, do you have a passion burning within you to reach those goals?

Don’t leave passion out of the equation. Without question, if you want to succeed, you’ll need it!

Keep living Bold!

P.S. PROJECT BOLD LIFE: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success is a complete system for planning your life to get what you want, and has been a top seller in three categories: “Motivational Growth & Spirituality”, “Personal Success & Spirituality” and “Management Skills”. I hope you check it out if you have not purchased a copy. 

P.S: I will be appearing on WCPT820 in Chicago at 7:00am CST on Saturday, December 18.  I will be talking about passion and goals! Go to to stream the show.

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Ed Kopko

Project Bold Life

Ed Kopko with his book Project Bold Life
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