In pursuit of your Passion don’t forget Happiness.

You cannot live by bread alone,

But for survival bread will suffice.



Following your passion is important but there are some undiscussed road mines along the road to your passion. In a war when armies attack they try to use the route which is least defended. In other words they look for a way to attack and win with the least amount of casualties.

Same with your career. While following your passion, first ensure your own survival, the idea is not to make yourself the victim of your passions.

So blindly following the advice to do what you love and follow your passion can be bad advice for some very obvious but often ignored reasons.

The first reason being that it gives the impression that passion is all that you need to have a great career. If you recall the figure I shared last week which I reproduce here – passion is just one Vertex of the Triangle that sets you on your path to a Great career. We need to look at passion in the context of our career and as an extension our life. If passion is all that you have, with no secure means to earn a livelihood – you are in for a life of borrowing & living on your parents money – not the best of ways to plan a successful life.


And what if your real passion does not have any takers, What do you do? How long are you willing to wait? Are you willing to while away the prime years of your life digging a well without any realistic expectation of water?

The second is that it needlessly limits your options. Why close doors before you even had a chance to find out what is on the other side? People don’t have a clear understanding of jobs other than what they are in and fresher’s face a worse plight in that respect. So letting something go without a clear understanding without even trying can be a big limiter.

Lets face it deciding to stick to your passion is going to limit your options. Limited options are good as long as they help building career focus. But doing so after some experimentation can give you a greater focus. Taking up something without knowing the other available options wont help in the long run. Because someday thoughts creep in as to what have you missed.

While planning you career you need to keep a tab on both the short term and the long term. In the short term you want a job to earn a livelihood. Survival comes first. You need something to survive independently. Yes you might not like the job you are doing but no one expects you to spend your entire life doing the same thing. Be open, be on the look out, experiment, take risks, be always trying to find what you are good at and what will earn you the best income. This will lead you to career satisfaction in all aspects , in job content, closeness to your passion and your compensation.

Let me share with you a story I came across in the Chicken soup Series.

A good looking young man called Manish landed in Bombay from a  small town to pursue his passion in acting. He went to a few acting institutes which promised a great life of fame and fortune in Acting. He went to many such institutes and set up interviews. One such institute he went to was headed by a wiseman called Nitin. Nitin heard out Manishs’ dreams and background and asked him how will you survive in Mumbai for the first one year. In other words he wanted to know what would be his source of income.

Maneesh felt offended by this question. How does it matter to this fellow he thought. But he told Nitin he has some money and later he will survive with whatever small roles he get. So Nitin adviced him – Pahle apne pair jamalo ( first get a good footing … and then parallely you can pursue your passion). Without a source of income you will get frustrated after a facing the many rejections and give up on your desire to act.  Manish followed his advice took up a regular job became a program manager in a leading Firm and pursues his passion for acting by being part of theatre and conducting events at his office.  He is grateful for that timely advice he received. Many of his friends chose to pursue their passion and ended living on a meagre income.

So when we advice youngsters to follow their passion it might sound like the rightest thing to do.  But lets temper it with reality so that the person on the receiving end of that advice goes on to thank us for the impact it has had in building his/her career.

Prakash Francis is a Talent Acquisition expert based in Bangalaore.


What makes for a great career?


Give a man a fish he will be happy for a Day, show him a how to fish and he will be grateful for a lifetime.

The difference between a job and a career is somewhat on those lines. Focusing on the Job is like searching for cooked fish. You just want the next meal. Whereas a career takes care of your livelihood for life.

What does it mean to have a great career?

While each person has his or her own definition of what a “great career” means, while defining it the following components come in to play:

  • You are passionate about what you do ( now passion is fuzzy so lets say it is the nth power of Like)
  • You are so good at it that you get reasonably well compensated for it.
  • There is good potential to grow as an individual in terms of learning experiences.

Finding the intersection between (1) what you love to do and are passionate about, (2) what you are skilled at doing, and (c) what the market will pay for handsomely,  is the Sweet Spot.

A career which falls in this slot would qualify as a Great Career.


Immersive Theater

unnamedA month ago i had the chance to attend a short immersive  theater workshop as part of an NHRD monthly meeting. It was really engrossing and Aruna Ganesh had the audience in a spell.

Visual Respiration the organization founded by Aruna organizes regular workshops on Immersive Theater. There is one such being conducted on May 21st . This is an introduction to immersive theater.

If you are trying to create a greater impact on your audience , either at work or any other aspect of your life – don’t miss this workshop.

Image Courtesy: Visual Respiration



A case for Interning

What does Steven Spielberg has to teach us about Interning?

intern_nation_are_we_exploiting_a_generation_of_workersSteven Spielberg was a movie fanatic who was desperate for a job in the film industry. One day he landed at the Universal Studios , looking for a job. No one had one for him. So he just hung around. He showed up day after a day even though no one wanted him there. But he hung around and volunteered to do anything that was required to be done.

By doing unpaid jobs at the studio he got to watch movies being shot. He learnt by watching  and interacting with folks in the industry.

Eventually the studio invited him to do a short film. And rest ….. well you know it.  

Hallmark of a Great Career

mzl-jpiwrvacStephen Covey & Jennifer Colosimo in their book  – : Great Work Great Career” say that for a person to have a great career he/she must live up to two standards. The first being that he/she must have made a distinctive contribution to the field of his work, and the other, that he/she must generate a strong feeling of loyalty/trust in others.

Going by this standard  – A couple of my teachers back in school come to mind. They made an immense contribution to the lives of students like me and we trusted them completely to guide us in the right direction.

The interesting thing was that they were regular teachers teaching regular classes. They did not make much money and they were not very powerful outside of the limits of academics. But they guided the trajectory of my career and the careers of many other students. For this I am deeply indebted to them. Many of us students speak of them in a reverential manner.

I guess the next logical question to ask would be were they successful?

I am not sure.

As i said earlier – they were not wealthy and not very famous.

Does it mean that you can have  a great career but not be successful or, put another way, you might be successful but yet have not had a great career.

Off-course this is just one example and we cannot generalize.

What do you think?  Great career and Success  – congruent ? or divergent ?




Fail Better

Ever Tried?

Ever Failed?

No Matter.

Try Again.

Fail Again.

Fail Better.

On 26th January 2014 history was made. Offcourse India celebrated its 65th year of becoming a Republic. But the history I am referring to was made at the Rod Laver Arena – when an “also-ran” –defeated a giant of Tennis. Yes folks I am talking of the Final Match of the Australian Open 2014 – when Stanislas Wawrinka – Defeated Rafael Nadal the reigning world number 1 and 13 time grand slam winner.

Stanislas Wawrinka –  The highest he had reached prior to this game was the Semi Finals  of a US Open. No doubt Stan was a Good player – he has an Olympic gold to his credit. But when he was pitted against the top four of Tennis – he pulled a blank.39-1 was his record against the Top four of Tennis.

Going into this match the odds were stacked against him. He had played 12 matches against Nadal and Lost all. Leave alone winning a match – he had never won a set.

It was going to be a classic David versus Goliath and everyone had written off Wawrinka. Some papers called him a pushover. Stan himself had a very simple game plan – it was to Fail Better.FAIL Better for Blog

Can anyone blame him for that.

Come to think of it – is there a better way to look at things?

When you have played and lost so many times – your self belief hangs by a thread – the demons of self doubt rule the roost – lets be realistic – winning or even expecting to win becomes secondary – playing matters and it matters that one Fails Better.


Success follows.Success Follows Blog

Should’nt we take the same approach?  

When it comes to the playing fields of our profession … of our careers. We have reached a certain station. We have worked towards it faced struggles overcome them and won laurels for ourselves.

But the question begs asking – given the resources we set out with – have we become the best that we could have been. Have we tested the limits of our capability.

I am afraid the answer is “No”. I am afraid after falling a few times we have settled for what has come our way. Some us have never even tasted failure. We are Not willing to test ourselves further. Fearing failure.

We have become satisfied with our achievements. We have Plateaued.

No doubt the plateau is a high place – but the peak Beckons.

The Peak Beckons
The Peak Beckons

Question is are we willing to have a go at the peak. Are we willing to test the peak of our capabilities.

This journey to the peak is littered with failures and bruised egos. Are we willing to face the challenges that this journey to the peak will throw up.

Edmund Hillary when he was asked how he felt after having conquered the Mount Everest. Replied

I did not conquer the Mount Everest. I conquered myself.

So my dear folks are you willing to conquer yourself doubts and fears and realise your Peak?

Each one of us has immense potential – a lot of it lying untapped. And as you embark on the journey from the plateau to the Peak, from good to Great a journey which challenges your self belief – I am sure you will face many challenges-you will be pulled down by  many a self doubt.  And You will fail many a times. And as you pick yourself up and move on again  – I suggest – you recall this man – Stan Wawringka –the Giant Slayer and this quote which is tattooed  in his left arm –

Ever Tried?

Ever Failed?

No Matter

Try Again

Fail Again

FAIL Better for Blog

Tips to be a Better Follower/Leader

“He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.”


The best examples of Leadership are found in the Armed forces.Leading soldiers into battle requires a strong, trustworthy and dependable leader. No doubt armed forces present us with exceptional examples of leadership under the most extreme circumstances. A key practice amongst all combat forces is the training aspect in which the obedience of the subordinate to his superior is established as paramount. The Junior officer learns to comply to his chiefs decision without any reservation.

In work life too, the very same concepts apply. To be able to Lead one has to be able to follow and follow well. At times the follower may not have the complete picture and believe the leaders decision to be wrong. He may not understand the logic behind the decision – yet if he is patient, in time he might be able to understand the logic.

Leadership starts with good followership. Men who become leaders too soon – too early end up becoming tyrants – history is replete with many such examples.

iStock_000014793457SmallTo be a good follower here are some ways –


It starts with the decision – the decision to follow. Good followers decide on the Leader they want to follow and then totally embrace that decision. They completely understand what this decision entails. It might mean giving up on other competing leaders and leadership styles. At work your choice is limited to choosing the place of work. Once that is decided – the ability to choose your Boss or superior is quite restricted – almost absent. In such a situation this decision has to be taken to ensure a smooth and effective working relationship.


Obedience is a term which we don’t get to hear in the modern day management lexicon and something which is hard to accept. Perhaps that is because obedience harks back to the days of zamindars and landlords with their fiefdoms – which implied unquestioning obedience. The modern day obedience need not be that case. It is obedience nevertheless. To be a good follower – this might be a necessary criteria. Infact there should a law that someone who can’t obey orders should not be allowed to give orders. If a leader cannot display obedience – he cannot be a good role model for his followers.


When given an assignment, a leader can be sure that the job will get done. Dependability is a key trait and incredibly important.  The litmus test for a follower lies in his dependability. Followers take projects across the finish line. They make things happen.

Self Lead

The ability to be disciplined and to be able to lead oneself can be sited as another of the key requisites of a good team member. A member who imbibes the vision and mission of his superior – is an undeniable asset to any team. They are the most sought after for their Team skills. Such a follower will align himself or herself to the Leaders goals not waiting to be Lead.


Humility as against arrogance is an essential Hall Mark for a good follower. Humility helps one to accept his/her role as a team member. Even if on any given occasion you have done something outstanding or substantial – Instead of trying to garner attention – giving it up to your Boss and let him take the credit makes for an enlightened follower – let the light shine on your Boss for a while. Your turn will come – infact your boss might be forced to return the favour.

These are but a few useful to have traits for the diligent follower. You might have some other traits in mind. Please feel free to share them in the comments or drop a mail to prakash.francis at